STUDY: Trust is Missing in Agency-Client Relationships

By Shawn Paul Wood 


RPA, the indie ad shop in Santa Monica responsible for ‘Farmers (Insurance) University,’ released a Cannes-ready study with USA Today addressing what seems to be the missing ingredient in agency-client relationships: Trust.

Its focus is what trust has to do with the creative process. In short, a good bit. Judy Vogel, vice president of research, Gannett Co., Inc., the parent company of USA Today, says:

“We believe everyone in the industry has a role to play in supporting more honest conversations between agencies and marketers.”

Findings after the jump.

the-naked-truth-188The study, called ‘The Naked Truth,’ contains some numbers in need of attention:

Nearly all advertising and marketing executives (98%) say that the best work comes when clients trust their agencies, collaborate (94% agencies, 100% clients), and maintain long-standing relationships (84% agencies, 81% clients).

And there’s more…

  • Nearly two in three marketers (60.5%) and agency executives (70%) admit they don’t share the same definition of creativity.
  • More than half of marketing executives (56%) say their agencies are more interested in “selling” them their work rather than solving their problems.
  • In fact, marketers and their agencies differ on many basic business goals. While nearly all agencies (90%) say they understand their client’s businesses, only 65% of clients agree.
  • Agencies are more likely than their clients to say they understand how to drive sales (84% vs. 56%) and to do a good job of demonstrating ROI (76% vs. 40%).
  • On the other side, 76% of agency executives say their clients are afraid to take risks and are twice as likely as their clients to feel that the best creative can move their businesses (48% vs. 26%).
  • Meanwhile, nearly nine in 10 marketing executives (88%) claim to speak their mind freely, even when it’s uncomfortable. But among agency leaders who frequently interact with clients, only 36% believe this is true.

How accurate are these numbers?