Competing Against Larger Agencies with Michael Farmer

Smaller agencies, particularly independently owned smaller agencies, have been used to thinking that they are the “poor cousins” of the advertising industry, operating in the shadow of the larger, famous branded advertising agencies whose reputations were established during the Mad Men era.

Smaller agencies often believe that they are at a disadvantage when pitching for new business or being part of a roster of agencies that works for a client’s brands. They believe that have to work for discounted fees, and that they will only get the marginal “crumbs” of their clients’ Scope of Work.

They overestimate the strengths of their large-agency competitors. They underestimate the frustration that advertisers have with their large-agency relationships.

Smaller agencies are actually in a potentially strong position, and there are many opportunities for them to serve clients effectively and compete from a position of strength against larger agencies.

Join Michael Farmer to learn how agencies can compete effectively against larger agencies – taking advantage of client frustration with low brand growth rates and the relative ineffectiveness of their current relationships with larger agencies.

Key takeaways:

  • An enhanced understanding of advertisers, brand performance, and CMO thinking about marketing effectiveness and agency relationships.
  • An improved understanding of the weaknesses of larger agencies, who have been liquidating their capabilities and overstretching their staffs in response to holding company profit pressures.
  • An outline of how smaller agencies can position and price their services, conduct their relationships and negotiate programs of work that focus on improving their clients’ brand results.

Who should attend?

Agency founders, CEOs, CFOs, COOs, Senior Account Executives, New Business Executives and Creative Directors.

About Michael Farmer:

Michael Farmer is Executive Chairman and CEO of Farmer & Company LLC and TrinityP3 USA, strategy consulting firms for agencies and advertisers, respectively. He also serves as Professor of Branding and Integrated Communications at The City College of New York (CCNY).

Farmer is the author of the award-winning book Madison Avenue Manslaughter: an inside view of fee-cutting clients, profit-hungry owners and declining ad agencies. He writes a bi-weekly column on client-agency issues for and is working on a new book about the need for the industry to attack its growing “complexity problem,” which has been reducing the effectiveness of marketing communications and agency relationships.

Michael Farmer is a former Director of Bain & Company. He is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, where he was awarded an MBA degree with highest honors. He received his AB degree cum laude in English from Princeton University.