During the pandemic, agencies and clients have fallen into a familiar recessionary pattern, with clients cutting budgets and agencies feeling squeezed. Going forward, however, the focus should be on both parties re-calibrating to build a stronger, more balanced ecosystem.

Why it matters

Even as the pandemic has been a particularly acute stress test, if agencies and clients are to flourish, some reassessment of roles, relationships and rewards is necessary.


  • For agencies, there’s an advantage to tilting towards high-growth services, especially in areas of digital transformation.
  • As some of the industry shrinks, thriving agencies will become more selective about the clients they take on and their selectivity will be related to how clients set them up for success.
  • Agencies and clients strive for equilibrium so the system does not collapse; brands will ultimately benefit from their role in securing the industry’s long-term health and in fostering talent, creativity and innovation.

The big idea

Even as technology may change the nature and balance of the marketing ecosystem, brands and agencies can still move to new, stronger partnership models.

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Sourced from WARC