Cesar Vacchiano, president and CEO of Scopen International recently visited South Africa to present the findings from the recent Agency Scope Study.
Cesar Vacchiano, president and CEO of Scopen International. Image source: Scopen Facebook
Scopen Africa was launched in South Africa in 2016 in partnership with the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS) and as such has recently conducted its Agency Scope Study of which the results have been released. I briefly chatted to Vacchiano for an update as to how this year's results compare to the last one in 2017 (the study takes place every two years).
What can we expect from this year's findings.
We are very proud because we got to interview more people, especially more people from larger companies. The sample was already very robust but now it's even bigger. We interviewed 257 professionals from 207 companies. That's from the marketing side. We also interviewed top procurement directors. When we spoke to them we asked how they select agencies, how they work with agencies. We're happy to know that they are working for longer periods of time with agencies - about 5 years for creative agencies and 4-7 years for media agencies.
They are also investing more in marketing and communications. Every R100 they sell they invest R4.3 in marketing and communications, so 4.3% of their sales are invested in marketing, which is good. In South Africa, clients invest more intensively in marketing and communications. That's because they think it will bring effectiveness and growth for the business.
Another trend is that agencies are contributing overall by 19% to the client's growth - this figure was 17% two years ago. This means clients believe that it helps them to grow their business.
We are going to share with you the top 10 most admired companies' marketing. Nando's is leading that ranking. We are also going to share with you the top 10 campaigns that the marketing directors loved the most from the last two years. Nando's is also leading that ranking. [Cesar said that this information will be shared with us at a later stage.]
Briefly tell us about the methodology used to obtain the results?
We interviewed more than 250 marketing directors, senior decision-makers within the company. We meet with these people within their premises and we interview them for more than an hour face-to-face to understand how they select agencies, how they work with agencies, why they decide to change agencies and how do they perceive other agencies.
It's more like therapy for them because they share with us all their worries, their challenges and all the things they need to change in their relationship with their agencies.
What stood out to you comparing the previous findings to this year's?
As mentioned, more investment in marketing and communication. They work on average with three creative agencies and one media agencies. They are now more interested in going back to basics with regards to creativity and account service.
It's key that agencies also focus not only on demonstrating creativity but also demonstrating the effectiveness of that creativity.
Why are these findings so valuable?
We produce informational reports to agencies based on all the data. We help them understand why their offering is not as attractive as it should be or marketable overall. So if they don't understand that, it is very difficult to grow their business. More importantly, it's valuable because we share with them what their current plan is, where their weaknesses are and what the areas are where they need to improve.
The study is important for agencies to understand the challenges we have nowadays so that agencies can adapt their services and their offerings to meet those needs of actual clients.
Clients are very willing to respond to our interview because they understand there are different ways of making agencies improve their services.
It's good to understand all the trends that are happening in South Africa compared to other emerging markets in the world, and it's especially important to understand where agencies stand against their competitors, so they can share with clients their competitive advantage.