The agency-brand relationship is changing

QUICK DIVE: For the past three years, Setup has conducted a Marketing Relationship Survey to take the pulse on how Companies and Agencies operate and work together. Setup surveyed over 300 Marketers from both Brands and Agencies – 66% of Brand respondents are in Director, VP, or C-level positions, and 55% of Agency respondents are at the Executive level. The responses are puzzling to say the least.

Setup found the top five areas where Companies are continuing to increase marketing spend are all digital services, including content marketing, video, digital media, website/UX, and social media/influencer marketing. This, IMO, is a huge mistake.

We’re already seeing a somewhat return to normalcy as more people get vaccinated. People are tired of being confined at home. They have money saved up and are ready tp spend. While there are some products that warrant a continued investment in digital 99.9% of the products in grocery chains do not. The hassle of shopping online, returns and shipping costs, are also driving more people to take a trip to Target rather than shop at Target online.

Setup also found that one third of Brand marketers want their agencies to better understand their business + seek greater transparency and communication between Agency and Brand. Additionally, over half of Agencies crave transparency and better communication with a partner who sets reasonable expectations and listens.

This has been an ongoing problem for years. Too many brands treat agencies as vendors and don’t share information with them. On the other side too many agencies rotate people off accounts so the expertise they gained while working on a brand is gone.

When I worked on the launch of the digital launch of Cialis, I set up a secure website where all our agencies could share and exchange information. Also, we had monthly agency integration meetings to ensure everyone knew what was happening and share the latest updated research.

90% of Agencies say that referrals (by former clients, employees or friends of the agency) are the most effective way to acquire new clients. And Companies find new marketing Agencies most often through internal or external referrals, along with word-of-mouth recommendations. What’s the lesson here? Don’t burn bridges + nurture your personal networks – you never know where the next incredible referral will come from. 

This is spot on. All of my consulting group’s work comes from referrals. We don’t need a website and don’t need to market ourselves as we have more work than we can handle.

30% of Brand marketers say they’re likely/somewhat likely to switch Agencies in the next 6 months. This is quite normal. There are a lot of reasons why agencies and brands part ways. Sometimes it may be as simple as a new marketing chief who wants to see what other agencies can deliver. It’s been my experience, though, that brands are becoming more conscious of the hidden costs agencies hide in invoices.

I have started seeing agency models changing slowly. The agency of today needs more expertise in digital and less expertise in kissing clients asses.

About richmeyer

Rich is a passionate marketer who is able to quickly understand what turns a prospect into a customer. He challenges the status quo and always asks "what can we do better"? He knows how to take analytics and turn them into opportunities and he is a great communicator.

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