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US survey on client relationships mirrors South Africa needs

Johanna McDowell of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS) attended the AdForum Summit in New York and was given a preview on a research survey on client agency relationships, by industry publications, AdWeek and AdAge.
Johanna McDowell
The research was conducted among 5000 marketers, 40% of these marketers are ranked in the top 100 leading American advertisers. Marketers were asked a variety of questions that related to their client agency relationships in terms of rating those relationships across a number of factors. Below are the findings of the survey.

Strength of agency relationship

  • 15% weak
  • 22% fair
  • 56% good and the rest are excellent

Preferences to work with independent agencies or holding company owned agencies

  • 8.7 % of clients prefer working with holding company owned agencies
  • 41% have no preference
  • 42% prefer integrated agencies
  • 28% prefer specialist agencies

Realities - what sort of agencies they are currently working with

  • 52 % are working with independents
  • 21% working with holding company owned agencies
  • 31% with full service agencies
  • 33% with specialized agencies
17% of the polled marketers will be considering a review in next 12 months because 37% want to see what is out there and 18% of organisations require regular reviews.

Ideal number of agency relationships

  • 59% would like to work with 2-3 agencies
  • 20% would like to work with one agency
  • 12% would like to work with 4-6 agencies
83% of the polled marketers want agencies to be able to execute a variety of multi-platform campaigns.

What is important for a client to see in an agency

  • 95% said personal attention from senior executives
  • 60% said that proximity to agency premises is important
  • 54% want to see ethnic diversity in an agency

Use of search consultants

  • 27% of respondents used search consultant in a review process.
McDowell adds, "In order to make a client agency relationship work, setting clear expectations and clearly defining roles is the best preventative measure. There has to be more effort at the start to establish working practices, because well-structured professional relationships are more likely to last.

"These statistics from the US are indicative of what is currently happening in South Africa," she concludes.