Agency Management Institute has partnered with Audience Audit (a firm that does custom attitudinal segmentation research) and Luth Research (Provided the audience research panel) to talk to CMOs and business owners across the US about how they feel about and make decisions about their work with agencies. This research provided great data on new business trends that are prevalent in the agency industry.

It’s a “look under the hood” of what truly motivates marketing agency partnership decisions and their longevity. It’s quantitative insight at what they are thinking and the results were fascinating.

Agencies usually look at marketing decision-makers and their organizations from a demographic perspective but we found that their attitudes are much more relevant than their demographics when it comes to the roles they want their agencies to play, how they find and choose the agencies they work with, and the aspects of agencies they find most valuable (and most frustrating).

Our new business trends research opened our eyes to a ton of insights about where CMOs’ heads are at.  The results revealed 3 key audience segments:

LookingForLove“Looking for Love” (29% of respondents) segment value agencies as a critical partner for business success.

For this group, agencies are a key participant in strategic planning efforts, a trusted source of new ideas and insights about marketing trends, and a tactical partner across a wide range of marketing services and expertise.

They feel it’s important to develop a long-term relationship with an agency, and expect that if their agency doesn’t have an answer they’ll know where to find it.

PlayingTheField“Playing the Field” (38% of respondents) segment sees hiring a marketing or advertising agency as a necessary evil to gain specialized expertise.

They prefer to work with subject matter experts, and feel it’s important to change agencies periodically even if they’re doing a good job.


SingleAndSatisfied“Single and Satisfied” (33% of respondents) segment feels their organizations are fairly self-sufficient when it comes to marketing.

They believe that they have clear marketing plans and know exactly what they want. When they do use agencies for strategy, it’s as a source of ideas that can be executed by the organization in-house.


The most surprising results had to do with the segments and their view on the concept of agency of record. Even the segment that relies on their agency and sees them as a valuable thinking partner (Looking for Love) wants to work with more than one agency.  Agencies have fought against these new business trends for years but I think it’s time we all adjust the way we do business to accept that it’s the reality of the day.

The research report is really packed with how these segments views their challenges, their marketing activities/needs and what they spends, how they work with agencies, agency compensation and finding and hiring the agency that is right for them.

This new business data will help you think through how you want to position yourself with prospects and what kinds of clients are the best fit for your agency model.

You can download a free copy of the 13 page research report here.  There’s also an infographic that’s sort of a cheat sheet on each of the segments that you can grab.