4A’s Agency Growth Survey – September 2020

In September of 2020 the 4A’s fielded an Agency Growth survey in which 113 member agencies across 11 US regions responded.  The focus of the Agency Growth Survey was to determine the top growth drivers for each respective agency to ensure their overall future success.  Besides identifying the growth drivers, the survey identified the specific actions that would be taken under each driver to ensure success.  The survey also identified the key investment areas agencies are planning to invest in to drive future growth, as well as identify the top factors in a post-COVID era that will define agency success.

The survey yielded 113 respondents, 81% were independently owned and operated and 19% were part of a holding company.  Additionally, 62% of the responding agencies had headcount of up to 100 employees and 22% had headcount between 100-300 employees.

The results were quite compelling:

  • The top three primary growth drivers to agency success were identified as Agency Positioning (26%) followed by Vertical Offerings (21%) and then New Agency Design (talent mix) at (16%).
  • The top three client facing capabilities that agencies planned to invest in were identified as Brand Strategy at 20%, Creativity 18% and Digital Transformation 17%
  • The top three internal facing agency skills or capabilities that agencies intend to invest in were Agency Marketing & Communications 21%, Dedicated New Business teams 17% and DE&I Leadership 16%
  • Overwhelmingly, roughly 90% of agencies deemed creativity to be either important or very important to the development of future agency plans
  • The top three factors to an agency’s success in a post COVID era were identified as Top Line Revenue Growth (20%), Profit Growth (20%) and Increased New Business Wins 19%

The various actions identified by agencies to ensure success of their top three growth drivers were as follows:

  • Agency Positioning
    1. Agency Branding & Positioning 58%
    2. Strategic Planning, Targeting & Partnerships 34%
    3. Talent & Training 8%
  • Vertical Offerings
    1. Strategic Planning, Targeting & Partnerships 56%
    2. Talent & Training 25%
    3. Agency Branding & Positioning 12%
  • New Agency Design (Mix of Resources)
    1. Hiring & Recruiting Talent 26%
    2. Resource Identification & Re-alignment 23%
    3. Fine tuning our core offerings 15%

In all, eight growth drivers were identified. Please refer to the detailed report to see the overall growth factors and success actions identified.


To access the report, please fill out this form and send to: [email protected].