Leap Conducts Insightful Study with Marketing Executives

Agencies face a lot of competition when it comes to internal marketing departments and against other agencies. It is crucial for agencies to know what businesses are looking for in external partners to effectively market and work with their clients. But where do we find these answers? Leap went right to the marketing executives themselves.

Our Research and Analytics Specialist, Timothy Sauer, Ph.D., conducted a CMO survey to uncover those traits and characteristics most-valued by marketing executives when deciding upon an external marketing partner. From these findings, agencies can ascertain the specific needs of their clients.

The typical employer was a small to medium-sized business, maintaining a workforce of fewer than 100 employees (53%) and annual revenue of less than $25 million (46%). There were 113 participants who were apart of the following categories:

  • 58 percent male
  • 96 percent had a Bachelor’s Degree or higher
  • 66 percent have worked in their current position for less than 10 years
  • 35 percent were marketing directors

The sampled employers represented the greater United States, with headquarters in 31 different states, representing all seven major geographic regions. However, the majority with more than 51 percent of employers, were located in the Midwest.


Responses were solicited through an email, targeted at management and executive level marketing professionals. A follow-up email was sent one week later (10/28) to all individuals who had not opened the initial email message. Additional marketing included organic posts on Leap’s social media properties (Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn).


The results of the survey reveal several interesting insights into the activities, values, and characteristics most important to marketing executives. While agencies may be hesitant to spend money on internal marketing, the results suggest that having a searchable and presentable website is one of the most important factors in competitive recognition and differentiation. Of particular importance are web content showcasing examples of actionable results and creative product.

Agencies often build target personas of the ideal client, using factors such as geographic location and proximity to focus marketing spend and RFP response. However, according to this study, these traditional cultural characteristics of location and size were among the least important factors when considering a partnering agency. More important is the end product, with the highest rankings for actionable results, access to staff, examples of creative product, and reliability of quoted prices.

The findings from this survey suggest that those traits are not in line with the values of the sampled executives. Descriptors like bold, edgy, provocative, and disruptive rated among the bottom third of the 24 measured traits. Honesty ranked as the most important followed by traits related to foresight and vision: intelligent, responsive, and strategic.

Curious about all the results? Check out the infographic below or you can view the survey discussion in its entirety HERE.