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10/16/2007

Agency Execs Say Clients Lack Loyalty, Strategic Direction

Nearly 70% of U.S. advertising agency clients do not notify those partners before hiring other agencies, according to a survey of 400 ad firms conducted by multinational consulting company SCAN International in cooperation with several partners. Furthermore, the U.S. percentage is considerably higher than the international average, which spanned between 50% and 80%.

The most important issue for agencies, according to the findings, is receiving sufficient strategic direction and briefings from clients. Yet, agency respondents reported that more than a third of clients are weak in this exact area.

With regard to integration capabilities´┐Żanother key area of concern for agencies´┐Żrespondents again said more than a third of their clients are still performing weakly.

Another gripe that agencies have with clients is their penchant to ask for speculative creative work. According to SCAN's findings, agencies far prefer strategic pitches. That's because speculative creative work is compensated less than 15% of the time, and when it is, the compensation is considered insufficient more than 60% of the time.

Although chief marketing officers presently have average life expectancies of about 22 months, building stronger relationships between clients and agencies is critical for their future success. The answer seems to be developing the relationship at all levels.

Other improvement areas cited by agencies include compensation, understanding agency processes, sharing information/data, and expertise/training.

In a somewhat heartening note, agencies ranked trust near the bottom of the list at number nine, on the prioritized list of needed improvement areas for clients.

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