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‘Clients can actually extract greater value if they treat the agency as a real partner’

23-June-2008
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‘Clients can actually extract greater value if they treat the agency as a real partner’

Advertisers who are considered ‘Client of Choice’ by their agencies stand to gain an increase in the agencies’ commitment to their account by up to 28 per cent, according to a recent study. An extensive data-mining exercise of several million data inputs conducted by London-based APRAIS and the Advertising and Marketing Communications Roundtable, a division of Corporate Executive Board, shows that the most important factor influencing agency commitment to an account is whether that client is considered to be “Client of Choice” by the agency.

The analysis conducted by the Roundtable was based on anonymised data from more than 1,400 agency-client relationships and several million individual questions answered through the APRAIS client-agency evaluation system.

The study, conducted earlier this year, investigated the different factors that drive agency commitment to the client account, an important measure that impacts how an agency allocates talent to the client, how deeply agency management is involved with the client, their level of initiative, and their willingness to work as a business partner beyond advertising (all things most advertisers say they want from their partners). Among various drivers tested, the two companies found that the most important driver was whether the agency considered the client a ‘Client of Choice’ (defined as enjoyable to work with, providing challenging projects, etc).

Interestingly, many clients believe that the most important factors driving ‘Client of Choice’ are beyond their control. Andy Armstrong, Practice Manager for the Advertising and Marketing Communications Roundtable, said “Contrary to conventional wisdom, clients actually have more control over their status as a ‘Client of Choice’ than they think. Many clients believe ‘Client of Choice’ is solely driven by the client brand or the value of their account, which, for the most part, is out of the MarComm executive’s control. However, many clients under-appreciate ‘Client of Choice’ drivers that are within their control, for example, offering timely feedback and recognition, being open to fresh creative ideas and new media opportunities, and being a smart consumer of agency resources. ”

Speaking of the findings, Tony Geary, Managing Director of APRAIS, said, “In what can often be seen as master-servant relationships, this shows that clients can actually extract greater value if they treat the agency as a real partner. Of course, the agency has to live up to the trust placed in it by the client, otherwise it won’t last.”

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