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What Clients Expect of Marketing and Ad Agencies

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Businesses expect the marketing and advertising agencies they employ to do a bit of everything, from properly understanding current objectives to presenting ideas and solutions beyond the conventional, according to a recent report from Domus and Harris Interactive.

Asked about the importance of various qualities agencies can have, most executives at large companies rated each of the 11 options presented as being important.

Three qualities in particular were considered extremely important by a majority or near-majority of those surveyed: Understanding the client's business objectives, being aligned with those objectives, and constantly thinking about the client's needs.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on data from a survey of 155 director-level or higher employees at US companies with annual revenue of $250 million or more.


Shared Goals

  • 55% of respondents view the agencies they work with as business partners.
  • 30% consider agencies to be just another line-item/expense.

Unmet Needs

  • 82% of respondents say they have business needs that are unmet by internal staff or current agencies.
  • These unmet needs include measuring and reporting the business impact and ROI of marketing and advertising programs (43% of respondents), identifying new revenue streams (33%), taking advantage of Big Data opportunities (28%), getting "problem projects" completed (24%), and providing useful/actionable audience segmentation (22%).

Current Satisfaction

Most respondents give an excellent or good rating to the agencies they currently work with.

About the research: The report was based on data from a survey of 155 director-level or higher employees at US companies with annual revenue of $250 million or more who have some decision-making responsibilities for marketing or advertising at their company.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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  • by Nik Sweeney Tue Jul 1, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the research Ayaz - very interesting feedback and fundamental to cementing a great relationship between an agency and it's client partners.

  • by Ayaz Nanji Tue Jul 1, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the comment Nik! Credit goes to @domusinc and @HarrisInt for the actual research.

  • by Donna Peterson Thu Jul 3, 2014 via web

    This is a very interesting article which gave me some ideas for our agency to improve on. In the article you say 82% of responders have Unmet Needs but I wonder if the companies had supplied all the information they had available. I know we have run into that a few times and it is difficult to give your client the best service if you do not have the full picture. Look forward to reading more of your articles in the future.

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