Mergers and Acquisitions (M&As) in the marketing services industry can be transformative, offering agencies a path to growth, diversification, and enhanced competitive positioning. However, they also bring about significant change, which can be a source of anxiety and resistance among employees. Ensuring employee buy-in is crucial for the success of an M&A, as the people behind the scenes are the ones driving the agency’s creativity, client relationships, and ultimately, its success. Here’s how to overcome resistance and ensure employee buy-in during M&As in the marketing services industry.

Communicate Early and Often

Transparency is key. Start communicating about the M&A as early as possible to avoid rumors and misinformation. Provide clear, honest information about what the merger or acquisition means for the company and its employees. Regular updates should be given throughout the process, even if it’s just to say that there are no new updates. This openness fosters trust and can reduce anxiety and resistance.

Highlight the Benefits

Focus on the positives. Clearly articulate the benefits of the M&A, not just for the company, but for the employees as well. This might include enhanced career opportunities, access to new resources and technologies, or expanded creative horizons. Employees are more likely to buy into the change if they see how it benefits them personally.

 Involve Employees in the Process

Make employees feel valued by involving them in the M&A process. This could mean soliciting their feedback on integration plans, involving them in decision-making committees, or simply giving them a forum to voice their concerns and questions. When employees feel like they have a stake in the process, they’re more likely to support it.

 Address Concerns Directly

Don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Address employee concerns head-on, whether they’re about job security, changes in company culture, or the integration process. Providing clear, direct answers—even if those answers are “we don’t know yet”—is better than leaving questions unanswered.

Provide Support and Resources

Change is hard. Provide employees with the support and resources they need to navigate the transition. This might include training programs to help them upskill for new roles, counseling services to manage stress, or team-building activities to foster unity within the newly merged company.

Celebrate Quick Wins

Highlight and celebrate early successes in the M&A process. This could be a successful campaign that leveraged the strengths of both agencies, the acquisition of a big new client, or smooth integration of back-end systems. Celebrating these quick wins can build momentum and show employees the tangible benefits of the merger.

Lead by Example

Leadership attitudes are contagious. If the leadership team shows excitement and optimism about the merger, it’s more likely that employees will too. Leaders should be visible, accessible, and engaged with employees at all levels during the M&A process.

Preserve and Blend Cultures

Marketing agencies often have strong, distinct cultures that can be a source of pride for employees. Work to preserve the best elements of each agency’s culture while finding ways to blend them into a new, unified culture. This might involve creating new traditions, shared values, or joint social activities.

Focus on the Future

Keep the focus on the future and the opportunities that the merger or acquisition brings. Encourage employees to think about how they can contribute to the new company’s success and what their role in the future might look like.


M&As in the marketing services industry present both challenges and opportunities. Overcoming resistance and ensuring employee buy-in are critical for leveraging the full potential of the merger. By communicating openly, addressing concerns, and involving employees in the process, agencies can navigate the complexities of M&A, minimize disruption, and set the stage for a successful future.