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Our Survey Reveals How Mid-Market Agencies Can Thrive in the Changing Ecosystem

The agency landscape is evolving… again. There is agency consolidation led by holding companies and now the entrance of Consultancies, like IBM, Deloitte, and PwC, as a very legitimate competitor. Such developments incentivize marketers to re-evaluate their existing agency relationships, and assess whether they get maximum value. It is critical for agencies to understand this process, and lean into their capabilities and advantages that matter most to marketers.

As the lead of an agency, have you ever asked yourself “How can my mid-market agency thrive in this changing ecosystem”?

With StackAdapt’s focus on mid-market North American agencies, we decided to uncover if mid-market Agencies bring the right capabilities to the table. In order to do this, the best means was to go straight to the source—agencies and brands alike—to gauge how agencies are considered, evaluated and satisfying clients in what may best be described as the new programmatic era.

In partnership with StackAdapt, research firm Advertiser Perceptions conducted online surveys and executive interviews of 200 agency and brand digital decision makers across the US and Canada* with $1M+ total annual advertising spend in programmatic digital advertising. The research results revealed that mid-market agencies can differentiate themselves and fulfill core client needs by delivering culturally-aligned, proactive, transparent, value-rich relationships.

The survey sought to address some key questions such as:

  • What are the pros and cons of working with different sized agencies? And how do mid-market agencies compare with their larger competitors?
  • How can mid-market agencies differentiate themselves not only to compete, but to thrive?

Partners over Tactitions: 61% of mid-market agencies provide a feeling of partnership and are twice as likely as larger holding companies (33%) to perceive themselves as partners to their clients. Additionally, 91% of mid-market agencies are more likely to perceive themselves as providing strong consultative capabilities compared to holding companies at 67%.

In short, what marketers and agencies value most are the intangibles of a transparent, high-touch, fluid, culturally-aligned partnership. Relationship elements form the basis of stable working teams on both sides of the marketer-agency divide, which when done right, creates synergies of scale.

Marketers believe mid-market agencies offer more access to senior leadership with more stable teams, personalized service with opportunities for client influence, and agile responses to client needs. 81% of marketers see mid-market agencies as more likely than larger agencies to have a culture of innovation.

In this survey we also took an in-depth look at the key capabilities mid-market agencies highlight to win business, and where the opportunities lie to strengthen their offerings.

“The old AOR model has really been shaken up which has created a lot of opportunity for smaller, more agile agencies. Brands are now selecting multiple specialized agencies and ad tech solutions, with deep domain expertise, to execute campaigns in an increasingly complex environment. This report spotlights what smaller agencies are best at and what gives them an edge—becoming true partners to brands and provide holistic marketing solutions.” – Peter Reitano, CEO, Abacus

To get a comprehensive look at The New Programmatic Era: How Mid-Market Agencies can Thrive, contact your StackAdapt Representative and get your copy of the full report.

Available Now: The Mid-Market Agency: A Blueprint for Growth. Reach out to your StackAdapt Representative to get your copy.

*For purposes of the survey participants and responses, in the aggregated data, there is a distinction between mid-market agencies and holding companies, and their clients, which we categorized as mid-size brand marketers (typically companies of 100-500 employees representing for example travel destinations, restaurant franchises or non-profits) and large brand marketers (typically companies of 500+ employees representing national and international brands across multiple verticals).

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