The in-house B2B marketing trend of the past few years — expanding in-house agencies, centers of excellence, and shared services — has peaked. Fifty-nine percent of B2B marketing decision-makers now say that they are planning to increase marketing spend on outsourced services. This new investment mindset, combined with macro and micro economic factors, has sparked a B2B agency gold rush.

Agencies Flock To B2B

It’s sure to be a buyer’s market as B2B marketers look for the right blend of external and in-house capabilities and as agencies compete for B2B organizations’ meaningfully higher percentage of marketing budget allocated to agency fees when compared to B2C. Forrester predicts that the largest agency holding companies will see new opportunities to build out comprehensive B2B-focused practices with end-to-end media, marketing, and data services while smaller agencies proliferate and expand their specialized B2B capabilities.

Be Strategic In Selecting Partners

B2B marketers shouldn’t approach these newly minted services without first adopting a strategic, partnership mindset. To overcome their tendency to leverage agencies tactically, B2B organizations will need to move beyond cost cutting to justify outsourcing decisions and strive for strategic partnerships, not projects, to maximize ROI. This will enable B2B marketers to blend their resources to meet their companies’ revenue objectives.

As B2B agency options proliferate, marketers will need to prepare for soliciting B2B marketing services by thinking about how to strategically structure their agency partnerships. In Forrester’s new report on this topic, we explain four types of agency approaches and what each type means when selecting B2B marketing services. The approaches are:

  • Hybrid B2B agencies. These providers boast an appreciable blend of both B2B and B2C experience and client experience.
  • Specialist B2B agencies. These are pure-play B2B marketing service providers with broader specialisms.
  • Point-solution B2B agencies. These providers deliver focused solutions that enable B2B-specific execution in key areas.
  • Custom-solution B2B agencies. These so-called “end-to-end” or tailor-made solutions aim to drive growth distinctly for B2B and B2C lines of business.

The report also features six questions to self-assess an organization’s B2B services structure needs. Forrester clients can read the report and schedule a guidance session to discuss this exciting new trend and how best to capitalize on it.