The Evolving Agency-Client Relationship Is Leading to a Decrease in Reverse Auctions

Brands are looking for deeper integrations into the business

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Agencies sometimes spend six months or more working on a pitch for a coveted potential client, only for that client to decide at the eleventh hour that the pitch will end in an auction over the phone—lowest fees win.

New business execs at ad agencies characterized that process—which is commonly referred to as reverse auctions, procurement-led auctions and e-auctions—as demoralizing and destructive to the industry, calling it a “race to the bottom” where no one wins.

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This story first appeared in the Oct. 25, 2021, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.