Poor Strategy Leads to Agency Review

May 5, 2011

rsw-why-renew-may-2011.jpgUnhappiness with an existing agency’s strategy or thinking is the leading reason US marketers bring in competing agencies for review, according to data compiled in March 2011 by agency/client relationship advisers RSW/US. The “2011 New Business Report: A Client’s Look Ahead at Agencies” shows that 40% of respondents cited this factor, followed by unhappiness with creative (37%).

Cost Management Comes in Fifth

Somewhat surprisingly, an agency’s inability to manage or control costs only ranks fifth, cited by 20% of respondents. Both lack of proactivity (28%) and “other” (25%) ranked ahead of cost management (multiple responses accepted to this question).

Most Marketers Review 3-5 Agencies

rsw-how-many-agencies-may-20111.jpgWhen Marketers initiate a search for a new agency, study data shows they are more than likely to start by looking at three to five firms (with 69% stating such) before hearing a final pitch. Only 14% consider six or more, while 18% consider one or two (total equals more than 100% due to rounding).

Type of Agency Biggest Factor in Selection

rsw-agency-factors-may-2011.jpgWhen asked what factors influence their decision in selecting a new agency, 43% of marketers said the agency’s specialty or type. Timely approach (41%) closely followed.

Beyond these two factors, word of mouth was clearly the most popular influencer on marketers’ selection of an agency. Thirty-eight percent said advice or recommendation from another marketer, and 36% said advice or recommendation from a colleague.

Understanding, Creativity Key to Pitch

rsw-pitch-may-2011.jpgSeventy-seven percent of marketers agreed that demonstrating an understanding of their market is among the most critical aspects of an agency pitch. Seventy-two percent said the creativity presented is also among the most critical aspects. Understanding and creativity also resonate through the next two most popular aspects, understanding company direction (63%) and offering something fresh and new (60%).

Social Media Has Little Influence on Search

Other study data shows that agency searches and agency selections for searches are little influenced by social media. Only 5% of marketers state they always use social media to help them identify agencies when involved in a search, and a combined 12% give social media’s influence rating a score of eight or higher on a 10-point scale.

Meanwhile, 28% of marketers say they never use social media to identify agencies, and a combined 54% give social media’s influence rating a score of three or lower.

About the Data: The “2011 New Business Report: A Client’s Look Ahead at Agencies” was completed by 174 key marketing decision makers from across the US during March 2011. This study was commissioned by RSW/US.


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