#MarketersBreakfast - New Year, New Marketing Initiatives

AgencySparks is dedicated to connecting established brands with exceptional marketing agencies. Each quarter, AgencySparks hosts a #MarketersBreakfast that facilitates mixing and mingling between the two and encourages discussion about relevant marketing trends.

Past #MarketersBreakfast themes have included agency-client “couple’s” therapy, speed-dating, crafting an ideal customer experience, and several other hot topics circulating the marketing industry. Each event’s purpose is to create a comfortable atmosphere where brands and agencies connect with one another and learn about the best marketing practices.

I’m always making meaningful connections at AgencySparks events.
— Steve Denker | Senior Director of Marketing, Turner Classic Movies

This quarter, the breakfast served as a reflection of 2018 marketing efforts. The discussion, lead by attendees from agency partners and brands like Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, Amazon Web Services, Red Bull, and ParkMobile, evolved from 2018 lessons to notable marketing trends. Here are the key takeaways:



A healthy and productive company relies on the talent of the team. Jeff Perkins, CMO of ParkMobile, pointed out that most companies used to use the mantra: “hire slow, fire fast.” After missing out on several great candidates, Jeff has changed his tune, expressing that they now “hire and fire quickly” as to not miss out on great prospects. If someone is not the right fit, then they should be let go to “blossom” elsewhere.

Related: Perfect Interview Questions to Fill Empty Marketing Roles


Helpful Tools

Several marketers recommended tools that help their daily processes such as Sawa, Mobile Day, AirTable, and Sigstr.

Related: #MarketersBreakfast - Connecting Brands and Agencies with the Best Marketing Tools


Specialist Marketing Agencies Versus Generalists

Because the breakfast provided a comfortable environment for agency and client attendees to seek advice and evoke thoughtful discussion, a conversation about specialist versus generalist agencies sprouted. The discussion ultimately boiled down to this: it depends on the project and the personality of the brand.

Related: Avoiding Marketing Agency Selection Mistakes


The Growth of In-House Agencies

According to a study conducted by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the number of in-house agencies has grown 20% in the past five years. More frequently, brands are hiring internal members to handle a range of marketing services - strategy, creative, and media buying. Additionally, consultancies such as Accenture and Deloitte are building internal agencies. Despite this trend, a majority of clients (90%) expressed that they would still turn to an external source for agency services.

The discussion in the room revolved around the idea that having an internal agency can be cost-efficient for brands - they don’t have to pay for project or account management and can directly work with team members who have a better understanding of the business. It is quick and easy. However, there is no disputing that external agencies bring a fresh perspective, specialized skill sets, as well as awareness and experience around the best practices from other clients/industries. The conclusion? While investment in internal teams is on the rise, external marketing agencies are still very relevant.


What Agencies Uniquely Offer

Both Teresa Caro, SVP of Marketing at Atlanticus, and Steve Denker, Senior Director of Marketing at Turner, mentioned the invaluable outside perspective of an agency. Agencies deliver strategic guidance and specialized skills while internal resources can execute on tactics. Software platforms are claiming to be able to deliver services, but when asked to deliver, they often fall short of expectations. Elon Woods from Coca-Cola mentioned one vendor making promises that, when it came down to it, could not be fulfilled.


Differences Between Client-Side Marketers and Agency-Side Marketers

At the end of the day, the two types of marketers are very different. The kind of people who want to work for an agency tend to enjoy “wearing more hats,” working across multiple clients, industries, and skill sets. Agencies are also fast-paced and accustomed to the large work loads.

On the other hand, working on the client-side requires an investment in a single brand. Client-side staff tend to enjoy going deep into solving the problems for the single brand. In-house agencies attract a different kind of employee and, thus, the output will never be the same as that of an actual agency (which isn’t always a bad thing).

For more in-depth resources regarding this topic, check out these articles:

After the marketers discussed learnings from 2018, the entire crew shifted their thinking (and their physical location) to talk about their marketing plans for the new year. AgencySparks founder and CEO, Joe Koufman lead a champagne toast:

AgencySparks_Dec 2018 MB
May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

The breakfast concluded with champagne glasses clinking and additional networking as the attendees explored the Miami Ad School @ Portfolio Center’s many inspiring exhibits and student work.

This #MarketersBreakfast included a fresh and honest perspective of where marketing is headed in the next few years. We are incredibly thankful to those who continually attend AgencySparks events and share their marketing experiences. If you are a senior marketer and would like to have an opportunity to meet like-minded, inspiring peers, contact us for information on the next breakfast! If you are an agency and would like to work with us, click here.

To view all of the pictures from this event, click here!