Agencies: Clients Can’t Brief Well, Don’t Compensate Enough

October 10, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Agency Business | B2B | Creative & Formats | Television

Clients often express concern regarding agencies’ quality, service and costs – but agencies’ views of clients are not as often heard, and more than 90% of agencies agree that their output is strongly affected by the quality of clients’ performance, according to SCAN International‘s “Client Quality Survey.”

At an AdForum conference week in New York, Joanne Davis of Joanne Davis Consulting, the US partner of SCAN International, presented results of the survey, which sought to understand agencies’ view of clients’ role in the relationship (via MediaPost).

Among the key findings (US) of the survey of agencies:

  • Bad briefs waste time and money: Only 25% of agencies say the quality of client briefings is good, and 36% say the quality of client briefings is weak.
  • Clients say agencies don’t integrate – yet neither do the clients, agencies say: Only 25% of agencies say clients are good in integration, whereas 36% say clients are weak in integration.


  • 70% of agencies say clients would get more for their money if they paid more attention to the quality of relationship management.
  • The relationship should be base on value creation, not billable hours: 50% of agencies rated clients weak in compensating agencies for value creation.


  • On average, 61% of clients don’t notify agencies of issues before hiring other agencies or terminating the agency.
  • Agencies say better client direction (45%) and better decision making (35%) are the two most important areas in which clients need to improve.


  • 83% are in favor of speculative strategic pitches, versus 31% in favor of creative pitches; only 5% said speculative-pitch reimbursement is sufficient and fair.


About the survey: SCAN International surveyed the CEOs/top executives of nearly 100 agencies, usually among the top 20 in their respective disciplines (advertising, design, media, interactive).

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