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Agency-Client Relationship in Good Standing

Agencies complain about the clarity of client brief assignments

May 1, 2015

The majority of agency professionals and client-side marketers agree: the relationship between the two groups is important for business, viewed as strong and rooted in trust. However, there is some disagreement when it comes to the client approval process, among other issues, recent research finds.

Attitudes Toward the Agency/Client Relationship Among US Client-Side Marketers vs. Agency Professionals, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

According to a February 2015 study by Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the rapport amongst agencies and clients is high. Ninety-seven percent of the 105 US agency professionals surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed that a long-term relationship is important, while this number was 89% for the 126 US client-side marketers polled. The two were also in accordance about the tenacity of their standing—86% of agency professionals vs. 87% of client-side marketers agreed to some extent that their relationship was “strong.”

Though these figures attest to an overall positive relationship, there was some dissent about the individual roles they play in executing effective ad campaigns. As might be assumed, there is a general trend that each group rates their own contributions higher than the other group reported, the study found.

For example, 76% of agency professionals felt their role in the clients’ business strategy was important, while 65% of client-side marketers thought the same. Further evidence of this rift: 90% of agency professionals agreed that the agency “plays an important role in driving business results,” vs. 74% of client-side marketers.

Attitudes Toward Client Briefings and the Client Approval Process Among US Client-Side Marketers vs. Agency Professionals, Feb 2015 (% of respondents)

On the other side of the coin, when the client-side marketers were asked if they provide “clear assignment briefings” to the agencies, 18% strongly agreed and 40% agreed. None of the agency professionals strongly agreed, and only 27% simply agreed, with 43% disagreeing.

Going forward, ANA suggested that increased communication over client briefs could improve the process and potentially better the relationship between clients and agencies.

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