Johanna McDowell, Scopen partner and director for UK and South Africa, notes that with less than four weeks to go before the Agency Scope fieldwork ends on 31 December, initial thoughts from CMOs interviews offer a taste of what's to come in the full publication.
“Creative agencies need to change,” she says. “The traditional model of expensive layers of account management being part of the deal when a client hires an agency is seen as being in the agencies’ interest and not the clients.”
Interestingly, senior marketers are finding those agencies that embed teams within the client organisation quite appealing. “What these decision makers are looking for above all else is a genuine sense of partnership, where there is no sense that the agencies’ interests are being put ahead of those of the client,” McDowell asserts.
The media agency model too is about to become history. “The consistent failure of media agencies to be transparent about costs, coupled with the rapid introduction of digital and artificial intelligence (AI), means that clients can take many of these functions in-house - or deal directly with the media owners.”
What the interviews determine
The one-on-one interviews are currently being conducted with CMOs of leading brands in the UK by Agency Scope, and are showing marketers’ expectations of advertising and media agencies. In addition to the CMOs feedback, agency professionals and heads of procurement are being asked to complete short questionnaires on various attributes about UK agencies.
So far, Scopen interviews are also highlighting the fact that the line between creative, digital and below line has disappeared, with media agencies doing creative and digital, and vice versa. “Creative agencies are bringing in media planning and buying back into the agency,” says McDowell. “It’s all about integration in agencies now.”
Despite this, CMOs still prefer to talk face-to-face with a series of specialists with real expertise instead of having one agency person manage all services for them.
Another noticeable trend is that none of the marketers interviewed so far has had an agency bonus system in place. “We’ll be looking at responses to this to see if this has become a trend,” McDowell says. “Results will be presented to UK agencies and broader industry early in February 2019.”
The comprehensive report comprising 350 pages of charts and insights is presented to the agency Top Team in a three-hour workshop session, which enables Scopen to also provide comparisons between the other 11 markets in which Scopen operates.
Marketers who participate receive a 44-page summary of the industry trends once the study is complete, as their reward for participating in the fieldwork and giving up an hour of their time to the interviewers.
“These early insights are very intriguing and we are expecting to see some excellent new data coming out of the study for 2018/2019. The results are very important for agencies to use to glean a better understanding of the rapidly changing dynamics of the UK market, as well as specific data regarding their own agencies and the perception of them among the broader CMO community,” concludes Cesar Vacchiano, global CEO and co-founder of Scopen.