A new study by the Institute of Communications Agencies (ICA), in collaboration with the Association of Creative Communications Agencies (A2C), shows senior agency and client leaders have an expectations gap when it comes to remuneration and access to client resources required to create great and effective advertising.
The Marketing Relationship Pulse study conducted by the global agency performance evaluator firm Aprais reveals a 13.7-point perception gap between agencies (46.1%) and clients (59.8%) reacting to the statement: Agencies are remunerated to strategically and proactively lead work
A perception gap of 10 or more in this type of evaluation is seen as significant and is further supported by a 10.3-point gap between agencies and clients to the statement: Agencies have sufficient senior client access to support effective campaign management and development.
“Agencies need to plot a difficult course through troubled times in their relationships with clients which can only be more stressful due to the Covid-19 pandemic” says Leah Power, EVP, strategic operations consultant of the ICA. “A creative environment based on a misperception of each other’s role will likely breed anxiety and foster work of low innovation. The Marketing Relationship Pulse report is designed to help take the measure of your partner’s pulse, to identify the areas where the biggest misunderstandings arise between clients and agencies and recognise any warning signs before the relationship gets into trouble.”
The research was conducted in late 2019 before the impact of Covid-19 hit the agency world with the always-on intensity and quick turn requests it creates. Results then show clients believed they had ample time and opportunity to consider their own brand and organisational objectives as they directed the work, but agencies clearly disagree with this assessment.
On a positive note, the study shows that agencies and clients are aware of the divide and much more aligned in other measures of the effectiveness of the relationship where gaps were closer to four points only. “At Aprais, we are seeing a rise in interest in capturing the sentiments in the agency/marketing client relationship in the current environment as to how clients and agencies are working together in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, more so than ever before, is when relationships are potentially challenged or when partnerships are strengthened,” says Barbara
Smith, a Canadian partner with Aprais.
The ICA, A2C and Aprais posed 59 statements to 73 senior client and agency executives covering the following areas: remuneration and its impact on creativity/effectiveness; access to senior client resources; the impact of short-termism; responsibility for strategic leadership; and the availability of talent with relevant skills. The Marketing Relationship Pulse is available for download at the ICA website