While I suppose we could describe our annual Agency 100 issue as a labor of love, it’s way more accurate to describe it as a labor of logistics, love being in short supply around our offices as we burn the midnight oil sprinting to the finish with this, our most anticipated issue of the year.

A typical issue of MM&M has 56 pages; with 244, this beast has almost five times as many. The profiles of the agencies listed here comprise a total of 68,640 words. Not quite the 587,287 contained in War and Peace, but you get the idea.

That requires a tremendous amount of coordinated planning and execution. Those responsibilities fall primarily to senior editor Larry Dobrow, who started work on the issue in early January when he held a planning meeting with managing editor Kevin Zitzman and executive editor Marc Iskowitz. 

On January 8, he sent the first of many emails about the issue to the 130 firms listed here, then debuted the A-to-Z listing survey on February 13. (Larry remembered the exact dates; if you get the feeling he’s a little obsessed with this thing, you’re right.) Copy started arriving from our team of nine freelancers and five staffers in early April, at which point the work started falling on Zitzman to ride herd on this whole thing, assemble it and get it out the door to the waiting printer.

I think it’s well worth all the obvious effort the entire MM&M team puts into the issue. It provides a valuable snapshot of an important point of time in the evolution of agencies, providing an aggregated view of the challenges and opportunities they’re all facing. 

A typical issue of MM&M has 56 pages; with 244, this beast has almost five times as many.

Some common themes exist among all the agencies. They’re all in a struggle to attract and retain top talent. They’re all dealing with the technology-driven accelerating pace of change — of everything. Data and analytics aren’t something they can just talk about now, because clients expect to see data-driven approaches married to the best creative approaches. And they all see tremendous opportunity in the fact that more and more companies are realizing that everything is health-related now, and they need help with their marketing. 

Some things haven’t changed and remain constant, like the need to serve clients well and to do great work. I think we’ve done both with this issue. I hope you enjoy it.