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Instead, in-house marketing execs (44%) and customers (26%) most often push for innovation, whereas among smaller companies (those with fewer than 200 employees), 48% of marketing execs say they're the ones driving innovation.

Below, additional findings from a new study by The Horn Group and Kelton Research, based on survey of 265 in-house marketing directors and executives. 

Not Up to Speed

Many of today's businesses feel painfully behind the times: 68% of marketing execs say their companies are behind the curve in digital media integration and 71% say they haven't caught up with social media integration.

But some of the problems are in-house: 55% of marketing execs attribute internal, not external, factors as a bigger roadblock to using an integrated approach.

What Do Execs Want From Their Agencies?

Results trump cost and reputation when hiring outside agencies: Marketing execs say the ability to execute (34%) is far more important than cost (15%) or the agency's reputation (5%). 

Some 41% of marketing execs with 10 or more years in their position say the most important quality in an agency is execution, vs. 28% of those in the role for 5-9 years.

Execs Value Partnerships; Smaller, Specialized Firms 

Most (77%) execs want to work with agencies they would consider to be partners, not vendors, and roughly 70% now have engagements that resemble partnerships with agencies they use.

Marketing execs also prefer smaller and more specialized forms over larger, all-in-one agencies:
  • 86% prefer to work with smaller firms—those with fewer than 50 staff members.
  • 63% prefer to work with a highly specialized firm. 

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.

Integrated Services Ahead

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of marketing execs say integrated marketing services will be more important in the future. Moreover, 70% say they're looking forward to working with fewer agencies over the next five years.

Budgets are an issue: 48% of marketing execs say time (49%) and budget (48%) constraints will push future integration forward for them.

About the data: Kelton Research conducted an online survey in May 2011 among 265 Americans age 25+ who work in-house as marketing directors or chief marketing officers and have been in their position for a minimum of 5 years.

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