Brand Marketers and Design Agencies


To determine what brand marketers are looking for in design agencies for the purposes of understanding the ranking of desirable attributes in a design agency.

Early Findings

Preliminary research shows that the top two KPIs for choosing an agency are cost and speed to market, but companies are also looking for agencies that will do project work, are technical and data-savvy, and can help with multiple channels.
  • According to the Association of National Advertisers, the criteria that determines what work goes to an agency are:
  • The top two KPIs considered by brands when choosing an agency are cost and speed to market.
  • In an AdWeek survey, marketers indicated that "agencies talk too much about themselves."
  • Additionally, marketers are increasingly looking for agencies to do project work rather than retainer work.
  • In fact, marketers have complained that "haven't figured out how to be project-based instead of agency of record based."
  • Marketers are also concerned about agencies' "lack of technical and data-savvy teams on [their] accounts."
  • RSW/US founder and president Mark Sneider also indicated that "Agencies need to get on board with the data and analytics train."
  • Brand marketers tend to want fully-integrated agencies. Sneider stated, "According to our research, agencies continue to push digital marketing and they perceive that their clients are prioritizing it as well. Marketers, though, have recognized a need to be fully integrated and to not ignore traditional media as a way of reaching their intended audience. They know digital is important and their agency is talking about it and pushing them there, but they continue to value what TV can do for the brand as one component of an entire marketing program."
  • As such, companies are turning to agencies to help with TV advertising in addition to other channels. The top five agency services in demand by enterprises are the following:
    • Television (38%)
    • Print (28%)
    • Social Media (28%)
    • Web Design/Development (28%)
    • Radio (27%)
  • However, 54% of marketers say they are looking for more specialized agencies and 24% said they are moving away from full-service agencies. This is likely to change, though, as "full-service agencies become more adept in certain areas of expertise."
  • The top five challenges marketers have working with external agencies are the following:
    • Communication (18%)
    • Limited understanding of company strategy and history (17%)
    • Project Management (17%)
    • Performance Tracking (13%)
    • Limited ability to integrate channels, campaigns, and technologies (11%)

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