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International: Marketers irked by 'creative arrogance' of ad agencies

28-January-2004
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International: Marketers irked by 'creative arrogance' of ad agencies

About a third of the major marketers polled by the Association of National Advertisers believe their advertising agencies are infected by "creative arrogance," charge too much and fail to produce work that is on strategy, according to a new ANA report.

The ANA, which represents a constellation of 330 marketers that spend over $100 billion annually on marketing communications, conducted the survey to explore the current state of client-agency relations.

Marketers said high production costs are a sore point in their agency relationships. One-third of those polled said costs are “too expensive,” and nearly one in four marketing executives said ad agency execution “takes too long and has too many reworks.” Just over 18% of respondents said fees are too expensive. Slightly more than one-third of agency respondents said they were changing compensation to improve client relations.

Interestingly, while about one in five marketers complained that agencies lack leadership integration and best practices, slightly more, about 22%, cited “creative arrogance” and lack of integration as a problem with agencies. Not surprisingly, just 27% of agency executives resolved to use training to improve listening skills.

Agencies overwhelmingly identified making agency management more involved in client business as a solution, with nearly 81% citing that resolution. Almost three-fourths of agency executives polled said they would also change their teams and processes to improve relations.

Agency executives also said clients were taking an active role in improving relations, with just over half of clients providing more information about their needs and involving senior management earlier in the process.

Slightly more than one third of agences executives said clients were listening to agency financial needs and issues, setting more precise scope of work and responding more quickly. About one in four agency respondents said clients also were changing client personnel, providing more time and better work priorities with fewer people in the process.

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