Marketers Turning to Large Agencies, Seeking Digital Services

August 7, 2012

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | CPG & FMCG | Local & Directories / Small Biz | PR | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media

pearlfinder-agency-opportunities-by-size-q22010-q22012-august2012.pngUS marketers are beginning to favor agencies with a national or global reach, according to the Q2 Pearlfinders Index, which is based on interviews with more than 4,000 marketing executives across all industries. In Q2, where marketing decision-makers specified a need for agencies of a particular size or geographical reach, 69.6% of all such opportunities sought larger agencies with a national or global reach, compared to 30.4% that sought regional or niche shops. This is a turnaround from Q2 2011, when marketers appeared to favor regional/niche agencies over national/global ones (54.8% vs. 45.2%). In Q2 2010, opportunities were fairly evenly split.

Digital, Social Becoming More Desirable

Data from the Pearlfinders Index Q2 indicates that digital and social media services have become more sought-after disciplines, while consumer PR, though still popular, is becoming less of a consideration. In Q2, among the times that marketing decision-makers advised that they were considering a particular service category, digital made up 19% of these demands, up from 13% a year earlier. Similarly, social media was mentioned 17.1% of the time, up from 14.1% in Q2 2011. Consumer PR, at 14%, was the third most-desirable discipline, though it fell from 18.6% a year earlier.

Advertising and corporate PR rounded out the top 5 desirable agency disciplines for Q2, though both fell substantially from the previous quarter.

Of note, despite shifting their budgets towards digital and social media, 3 in 4 marketers aren’t using exclusively digital agencies for their social or digital needs, and the majority of those don’t foresee using them in the near future, according to June 2012 survey results from RSW/US. In fact, only about 2 in 5 think such agencies can survive, with the remainder believing that digital agencies need to offer more traditional services to maintain their relevancy.

CPG, Retail Investing Most in Marketing Services

Meanwhile, CPG and retail were the top sectors investing in marketing services in Q2, according to the Pearlfinders Index, each accounting for 12.9% of the briefs uncovered during the quarter. While CPG opportunities remained fairly steady from Q2 2011 (12.8%) and Q2 2010 (12%), retail saw a big jump from just 7.3% share of opportunities in Q2 2011 and 5.9% in Q1 2010.

Sports, leisure and entertainment accounted for 10.4% of the briefs in Q2 2012, up from 9.9% a year earlier, though down from 12.6% in Q2 2010.

Customer Acquisition the Dominant Marketing Objective

In Q2 2012, companies’ primary customer marketing objective was acquisition (93.8%), compared to just 5% focusing on retention and 3.8% on development. A year earlier, 71.3% had focused on acquisition, with retention (17.1%) and development (11.6%) figuring more prominently into the equation.

Other Findings:

  • NPD/innovation was the strongest source of opportunity for agencies, accounting for 35% of new business opportunities for agencies of all disciplines during the quarter.
  • 12% of all live opportunities uncovered in Q2 focused on advertising. The most opportunities for advertising agencies came from the retail (14.8%), CPG (12.6%) and industry (11.5%) sectors.
  • For design and branding work, demand for agencies with a global reach grew from 7% to 29%. Retail was the largest source of briefs for design and branding agencies, at 24% of opportunities.
  • Leisure brands leapfrogged food brands to become the largest source of digital opportunities, at 19% share. 45% of all digital opportunities were for agencies with national capabilities.
  • PR was the primary channel of investment for marketers focused on customer development in Q2. 39% of PR decision-makers sought national support, surpassing regional, which was the primary requirement last quarter.

About the Data: Pearlfinders tracks planned corporate activity likely to drive marketing expenditure, using indicators that include: expansion; innovation; M&A; decision-maker appointments; and formal reviews. The company then interviews the executives responsible for making decisions at the brand in question. A supplier opportunity is defined as a live opportunity to interact with a decision-maker over the next 18 months.

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