The 6 Traits of a Modern Agency


We live in an era of unprecedented change where technology and globalization have contributed to an environment of continual, rapid change. As a result, demands within the marketing landscape have evolved from never-ending PowerPoint presentations that detail long-term strategies, to on-demand strategic delivery built on the foundation of rapid research, development and output.

Simultaneously, creative needs have also diversified, as more devices and media enter the market demanding creative and multimedia strategies. It’s safe to say that the days are long gone when a campaign  could be launched through a single medium.

Now, as technology advances, marketing within organizations is increasingly tied to the same performance and metrics of sales and under the further scrutiny of finance and operations.

All of this has a considerable impact on the way that marketing and advertising agencies must perform in order to earn a client’s trust and deliver results.

As agencies attempt to evolve, the question for clients – one that can make the difference between a productive relationship and a catastrophic one – is what are the hallmarks of an effective modern agency.


Here at Kluge we may be somewhat biased toward our process and results, but we believe that’s because we go to great lengths to provide relevant, constructive support to our B2B clients.

With that in mind, our experience as strategic marketing specialists and designers has led us to the conclusion that the agency of tomorrow has 6 key traits:


In the past, agencies were characterized by long drawn out (and expensive) discovery processes and massive teams. No more. Today your agency’s teams should be composed of a small cadre of individuals with T-shaped skills who can deliver rapidly and strategically.



A truly modern agency is no longer comprised of departments that operate in silos. Now agencies must offer cross-functional teams that are up to speed on the requirements of the 21st Century marketing system, meaning they should have sound, in-house knowledge of technology, marketing strategy and creative delivery in order to be effective partners.


Agencies that focus solely on creative deliverables are destined to obsolescence. In today’s business world, an agency partner can no longer simply deliver creative output, or serve a single tactical piece of your puzzle. A modern agency is obsessed with understanding a client’s context and proactively seeking out solutions to complex business problems within the marketing and sales side of the business. These agencies employ hands-on account management and employ modern approaches like account-based marketing to work strategically on your positioning and knows how to partner with your other vendors.



 The agency of the future is built on the principles of rapid development, borrowing liberally from lean design and software development to provide prototypes, user testing, agile workflows and iterations. Gone are the days when long-term planning could be done prior to execution. In today’s era, by the time you have created your plan, someone else has gone to market with it. You need an agency that lives and breathes this reality.


 The agency of the future doesn’t hide its engineers in a basement. It has a deep understanding and portfolio of technology projects that demonstrate a strong understanding of digital in terms of both a medium and technology apparatus. The agency of the future will understand how and where to apply the right technology strategy to help clients achieve their goals.


 Agencies have always been paid to deploy their resource allocation, but a good agency understands that it’s paid for the value it creates. The financial relationship of the agency of the future should align the agency’s and client’s goals to ensure a mutually beneficial outcome. Too often agencies deliver work that does not inherently address a client’s marketing or sales issue, thereby providing very little actionable change for clients..

Above all, the agency of the future is focused on strategy, positioning, and market innovation. It cannot simply execute your tactics, it must be a trusted partner that aligns with the needs of your organization.