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Not all categories are created equal when it comes to client-agency relationships

By Kim Walker, Founder and Chairman



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May 27, 2020 | 4 min read

According to reports just released by Aprais, opportunities for marketing optimisation vary by category with the personal care category showing the greatest potential for improvement.

wine bottles

Analysis of over 21,000 evaluations conducted by Aprais over the past 20 years shows that improvements in performance of up to 37% are possible through team behavioral change.

A new series of category reports shows the potential for improvement by different categories compared with best in class for that category:


Potential improvement





Household care


Wine, beer and spirits


Personal care






Consumer electronics


Non-alcoholic beverages


The category reports (click to download) also reveal how relationships improve with successive evaluations.


Benchmarks v gaps

By comparing the scores given by one party (e.g. the agency) of themselves and the score given by another party (the client) we can see the gap in perceptions of performance.

In any relationship, if one partner rates themselves significantly better than the other, issues are on the horizon. Particularly so, if one thinks they are doing a great job!

The perception gap is important in evaluations as it pinpoints specifically where expectations and differences exist between the client and the agency. Small misinterpretations grow into large misunderstandings, which grow into erroneous stories, which ultimately erode trust, credibility and transparency, all of which negatively impact performance leading eventually to ‘divorce‘.

As an example, the chart below shows the perception gap between healthcare marketers and their agencies in the healthcare category. After just two rounds of evaluations, the gap narrowed by 38% – much faster than our industry average and a very positive result.

At the same time, perception gap on client performance narrowed by a healthy 30%.

The Aprais category reports also provide advice on the specific areas for potential improvement in the relationship.

The example below shows how the top 10% clients in the wine, beer and spirits category compare to the global average hence where there is opportunity for improvement.


 ©Aprais 2020

Why this is important

The mere act of conducting a disciplined evaluation of the client-agency relationship can result in performance improvements. Aprais has robust statistical proof based on more than 18 million datapoints.

It is also evident that ‘good clients’ drive better performance from their agencies. Conversely, ‘bad clients’ extract below average performance from their agencies. In other words, clients get the agencies they deserve.

What’s more, an analysis of Effie Award Winners indicates that better client-agency relationships deliver improved advertising quality. That translates into value for marketers and agencies.

Download the guides How-to-be-a-good-client and How-to-be-a-good-agency.

Kim Walker, founder and chairman, Aprais

Open Mic Marketing

Content by The Drum Network member:


Aprais are the global pioneers in building stronger business relationships.

Since we established the category over 20 years ago, we have advised the world’s...

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