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How are Agencies Finding Clients?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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While AdLand is figuring out its identity in this new world of technology and information, agencies too are floundering around trying to secure ways and means to stay relevant. It is truly an exciting time to be in advertising. One of the ways agencies are trying to stay afloat is bolstering their client rosters. Business development in the agency world has always been a fascinating topic. Some agencies love the RFP process while others hate it; others still would love to be a part of it but never considered. Older agencies still employ the wine-and-dine method, while others try wooing prospectives at networking events and conferences.

And every agency loves the referral.

The RSW/US 2012 report came out. It takes a look at how agencies are attacking the new business development issue. RSW/US has an agency search function as well, so it might know a thing or two about how agencies should win business. At least, they hear what brands are looking for, and try to play matchmaker.

The results are pretty interesting. First, out of the 6,000 agencies, 35% of them thought that it was harder to find business this year than last year. Why? Out of the many choices, 65% thought that there were fewer opportunities out there. RSW/US believe agencies may think this because either they are not working hard enough to go out and look for business, or that they are not humbling themselves and taking smaller projects or diversifying into different industries.

Strong words, RSW/US. But you may be right.

We do enjoy a well-structured survey, because with a solid structure, one can find bias and false perspectives. In the survey, agency principals were then asked if they thought opportunities increased or decreased compared to the previous year.

Nearly 45% said "increased." Looks like RSW/US was right. 

Then we get to the RSW/US and Adweek's question about partnership when it comes to marketers. How do they see their relationship with agencies developing? According to the survey, 73% of marketers believe that agency operations are growing in consideration when it comes to choosing a shop to work with. And agencies got the memo; 50% of agencies saw that operations, resources, and efficiencies were growing in importance.

This may be the major reason why we have seen the uptick of holding companies winning more business, and agencies posturing to be bought by holding companies. 

Lastly, the report brings out that almost 60% of marketers hear about potential agency partners through email. And an overwhelming 76% prefer email when it comes to learning about agencies.

The report is a good read. Tell us what you think about it.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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