ANA Study Reveals Strong Client/Agency Relationships

However, Dissatisfaction With Compensation, Briefing And Approval Process Still Exist

NEW YORK (April 23, 2015) – Clients and their agencies have strong relationships but there is significant dissatisfaction about the quality of the briefing process and compensation agreements according to the ANA’s (Association of National Advertisers) survey report “Enhancing Client/Agency Relations 2015.”

The study of marketers and agencies, which took place in Q1 2015, indicates that a clearer agency assignment process is needed. Just 27 percent of agencies, versus 58 percent of clients, reported that clients provide clear assignment briefs. Additionally, clients and agencies were not in agreement that the client approval process worked well – 54 percent of clients were satisfied with their current arrangement versus 36 percent of agencies. Compensation, typically a contentious issue, indicates only 40 percent of agencies believed it was fair compared with 72 percent of clients.

Other key findings from the study included:

  • Clients and agencies are lukewarm on the value procurement adds to client/agency relationships.  Less than half of clients (47 percent) felt that procurement adds value, while only 10 percent of agencies agree.
  • Clients (54 percent) and agencies (47 percent) agree that in-house client resources are increasingly becoming a realistic option for clients.
  • Clients and agencies reported that agencies work well with other agencies, 65 percent of clients concur versus a very robust 88 percent of agencies.
  • Agency talent remains an issue. Only 56 percent of clients believed that agencies have the right talent to meet client needs over the next two years. Agencies are slightly more bullish at 64 percent.
  • Despite their concerns the majority of both clients (87 percent), and agencies (86 percent) felt that the agency is a valued business partner that plays an important role in the client’s business strategy, and driving business results.

Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the ANA commented “We are pleased to see that at the core, client/agency relationships are sound. Having that strong foundation is a cause for optimism. However, there are disturbing legacy issues that continue to plague the partnership that have been further complicated by blossoming transparency concerns. The ANA is committed to making tangible improvements and will be working in partnership with the 4As to actively address these issues.”

About the Study
This parallel study of ANA members and agencies took place in January and February  of 2015. The survey was completed by 126 ANA members and 105 agencies, providing the opportunity to compare and contrast responses from the two groups. Agency participants self-identified as being from full service agencies, i.e., media and creative (58 per cent), creative agencies (23 percent), media agencies (12 percent), and specialty/other agencies (7 percent). The study was conducted prior to the revelations concerning media rebates.

About the ANA

The ANA (Association of National Advertisers)'s mission is to drive growth for marketing professionals, for brands and businesses, and for the industry. Growth is foundational for all participants in the ecosystem. The ANA seeks to align those interests by leveraging the 12-point ANA Masters Circle agenda, which has been endorsed and embraced by the ANA Board of Directors and the Global CMO Growth Council. The ANA's membership consists of more than 1,600 domestic and international companies, including more than 1,000 client-side marketers and nonprofit fundraisers and 600 marketing solutions providers (data science and technology companies, ad agencies, publishers, media companies, suppliers, and vendors). Collectively, ANA member companies represent 20,000 brands, engage 50,000 industry professionals, and invest more than $400 billion in marketing and advertising annually.