A survey of more than 500 of America’s top advertisers, maybe one of your clients, was fielded over the summer and the results are pretty exciting and scary. Those surveyed said they plan to launch an unprecedented number of reviews at some point over the next 12 months:
- Creative agency 66%
- Search marketing agency 65%
- Media agency 64%
- Digital agency 61%
The good news, there will be so much more opportunity for your agency. The bad news, more of your current clients, may be leaving. Are you prepared for both?
What is driving this surge? According to the survey, marketers are seeking better results, greater knowledge and expertise, a new approach, and better analytics. In my experience and research, I’ve conducted, those are key drivers for marketers and the pressure on them is increasing to invest more wisely and more efficiently. Even though the average tenure of a CMO has increased to about four years, expectations have never been more intense resulting in greater demands on their agency’s performance.
On top of the normal business pressures, the industry overall is suffering from continuing declines in response rates across the spectrum while marketers demand better results and more proof. Ad fraud, overcharging, bot traffic, lack of accountability, lack of diversity, and other destructive practices by advertising agencies and media companies are pushing marketers to extremes. Is it any wonder so many want a change?
The folks at AgencySpy are a bit skeptical about this latest research, suggesting it is aimed at drumming up new business for the company, Advertiser Perceptions. Their skepticism may be warranted however I believe this is a clarion call to the industry. Marketers are fed up and not going to take it anymore. Whether or not you agree with the numbers, the root issues are undeniable, and the implications could be enormous.
Ad agencies have long suffered from a bad reputation and the past year has only strengthened and perpetuated the problem. Trust, an essential ingredient for an agency relationship is at an all-time low given the constant stream of bad behavior appearing in our news feeds every week. Now is the time to take extraordinary steps to increase the level of trust with their clients, work in full transparency and immediate own up to any mistakes.
Finally, 48 percent of those surveyed agreed that “The industry is changing so fast now, it’s unclear how agencies will be viable in the future.” Your firm won’t be viable if they don’t keep up with the change. With so many reviews planned, a smart, comprehensive and strategic business development program will ensure your agency is well positioned to capitalize on the upheaval.
Agencies that stand out and stand for things important to today’s marketers will get noticed. Read this post to understand why. Those that can articulate relevant value will get marketer's interest. Agencies that demonstrate knowledge and confidence about the things affecting the industry today and tomorrow will get invited and those that can satisfy a marketer’s need for greater knowledge, expertise, and new approaches will win. How else are potential new clients going to see your agency as a solution to the things they believe don’t exist at their current resources?
It is more important than ever for agencies to take an unbiased, objective look at how they are presenting themselves to the market and how marketers interpret their people, their services, their skills, and experience. It’s not enough to show great work or excellent results. There may well be a tsunami of change in the coming months, but even if the survey is wildly exaggerated, change is inevitable and will happen somewhere between the usual 30% and what this study suggests. Are you positioned to capture your share of that change? Are your client relationships solid enough to withstand marketer’s growing dissatisfaction? Come on.
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