BSB Media and The Vision Network have released the findings of an inaugural International Media Image Survey in partnership with the International Advertising Association measuring media industry reputations, with OMD and ZenithOptimedia performing strongly overall.
The study compiled the views of 306 client-side marketers and agency staff on 14 agencies including MediaCom, PHD, MEC, Universal McCann, Starcom Mediavest, Mindshare and Havas/MPG.
ZenithOptimedia and OMD topped the most familiar agency list and were most popular with people when asked to draw up a top three agency pitch list. Both agencies were recommended by 36 per cent of people in the survey, while ZenithOptimedia scored 7.3 for familiarity, just ahead of OMD's 7.1. Following on in pitch popularity were Mindshare (34 per cent), MediaCom (28 per cent) and Carat (25 per cent).
While ZenithOptimedia and OMD performed well on overall reputation, results were more varied on individual categories. Mindshare held the strongest reputation for strategic planning, ahead of OMD and MediaCom, while MediaCom was seen as strongest for buying strength and consumer insight.
Universal McCann came out on top for creativity, beating PHD and MEC, while Mindshare had the best reputation for technological solutions. ZenithOptimedia performed best on ROI, ahead of OMD and MediaCom.
Managing director at BSB Media, Belinda Barker, said: "It also seems that there is no substitute for past experience when choosing an agency, with 73 per cent of marketers choosing agencies based on this, coupled with 70 per cent also using colleague recommendations.
"Many agencies spend hours focusing on their awards entries and supplying information to Recma but neither appears as a high priority when clients are selecting which media agencies to invite to pitch."
Of the TV networks, media sales teams at BBC World News, MTV and Google held the best industry reputations, while the study also questioned which of the TV networks marketers and agencies most enjoyed working with.
"It’s difficult for media owners to gain a real understanding of how they are perceived in the industry," explained Will Nicholson, founding director at The Vision Network. "I-MIS provides in-depth insight into this, showing, for instance, that BBC World, Discovery Channel and FOX Ones Stop Media are liked equally amongst those that work with them.
"The FT and Google appear to be polarising brands as both were ranked as the organisations people like to work with most and least in their category, while Be On (formerly Go Viral), RadiumOne and Say Media were ranked equal top in the networks/digital service Providers."
Meanwhile, the survey also revealed 51 per cent of client marketers expected to spend over £25m on media in 2013 compared to 44 per cent of agencies. Agencies reported a higher spend on digital than clients, with 47.8 per cent of their budgets being allocated to the platform compared to 30.3 per cent.
TV spend was more popular among bigger spenders while clients with smaller budgets were more likely to utilise digital options. Mobile, social media and search were voted the areas most likely to grow in importance over the next 18 months, while print, TV and radio were seen as most likely to decline.