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The realities of running a B2B agency today

Could gathering B2B agency leaders together to try and solve collective challenges work? It had to be worth a try, says Teresa Allan

Running an agency can be a lonely job. How often are you able to put your head above the parapet of clients and finances to consider how you are doing compared to your peers?

This was something that The Magnus Club and B2B Marketing wanted to help to facilitate and to get some clarity; what were the challenges facing agencies, were they all the same? Could being open and honest about them help solve some of them as a group rather than fighting a million fires separately? And, at the simplest level, wouldn’t it be good to get everyone talking?

We therefore decided to launch Dialogue, a B2B Marketing benchmark survey which focused on the business of agencies. The survey and subsequent report, to some extent, supported what we already knew. it’s hard to run an agency in 2019; lack of financial visibility, the rise of procurement, the ever changing list of services offered due to client and market demands, the challenges in finding great talent to deliver new services and of course, the relentless pitching – 10 pitches per year average per agency. All of the findings support the need to work together, to make changes as a whole, push back on bad briefs and the commoditisation of creative services and demonstrate that agencies deliver best value when treated as a true partner and not a supplier.

The good news is that even with all of these challenges, morale remains high and the outlook very positive.

Since the survey was conducted we have held a roundtable with some of the agency leaders who took part. It was a very cathartic experience with many participants saying how much they valued hearing that they were not alone in their daily challenges. It’s good to talk, and we definitely look forward to more Dialogues in the future.

The first report is out now and available to download here.

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