A worrying survey of 600 chief marketing officers across the UK and Ireland, conducted by marketing agency Alan, finds that 42% believe that their agency partners don’t act in the organisation’s best interests, offer insufficient understanding, and fail to showcase value.The net effect of such ill-feeling is that most feel let down by their agencies precisely when they are needed the most. Although, the report does acknowledge the scope for agencies and clients to collaborate more fully by embracing new marketing formats.
Under pressure, marketers feel let down by agencies
A shocking two-fifths of marketers do not believe agencies act in their organisation's best interests, according to the survey.
Bones of contention raised by chief marketing officers (CMO) include 31% who don't feel they receive value for money and 26% who surmise agencies fail to understand their objectives.
A collapse in trust coincides with intense budgetary pressures with 53% of those asked reporting cutbacks and 43% forced to reduce headcount. Fully 71% report having to achieve more with less in these chastened times.
As a consequence, 40% of marketers feel less secure in their role as compared to just six months ago while 68% report that return on investment is now more important than ever as far as marketing is concerned.
Further points of frustration voiced by CMO's include 39% complaining about speed of delivery, with 37% questioning transparency around timeframes. A further 35% are annoyed by a refusal to commit to results.
In a sucker punch, 66% believe that their agency partners lack substance and depth.
However, there’s space for agencies to step up to the plate
Despondency needn't hold sway however with significant opportunities buried deep within these challenges, not least of which is the present online shift noted by 56% of respondents.
A further 43% cite brand awareness as their top priority for 2020/21 as the impact of Covid-19 continues to reverberate around the industry.
Far from fermenting excessive caution, such circumstances have emboldened 30% of senior marketers to implement more daring campaigns, with 39% admitting they lack strategic marketing experience in-house.
Benedict Buckland, creative director at Alan, remarked: “The current crisis has given agencies a chance to go the extra mile for clients and showcase their creativity, but our findings suggest that many haven’t stepped up to the plate."
Buckland continues: “With senior marketers under pressure like never before, it’s important that agencies listen to their needs and concerns, with the aim of adding value where it matters. We as an industry have an opportunity to experiment and influence strategy at a time when brand building is more important than ever.”