Why client-agency relationships? <ul><ul><li>While most of the time reality was more closer to this… </li></ul></ul>
Why client-agency relationships? This agency is pissing me off! I need to get maximum from the client. I can resolve all the issues just by showing how important he is to me.
Why client-agency relationships? <ul><li>The main questions set for the research are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Why the agency-client relationships are deteriorating with time and whose fault is it: deaf client or mute agency or both at the same time? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the differences and similarities on the relationships view between agencies and clients? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can the agency be not just a supplier, but a partner to the client? </li></ul></ul>
The basic frame <ul><li>Relationships: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>starting point of any relations is an interaction between two parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>during time, this interaction also builds a real relationship </li></ul></ul>A C A C BR
The basic frame <ul><li>The structural characteristics of any business relationships are described by Hakansson and Snehota in the following way: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Duration and continuity: investments and building trust </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Complexity: extensive and deep contact points to handle uncertainties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reciprocity and symmetry: balance in parties’ resources and roles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informality: trust better than contracts to handle complexity and uncertainty </li></ul></ul><ul><li>While the process characteristics of business relationships are described by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mutual adaptations: to fit better together technically and administratively </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cooperation & conflicts: constructive dissent helps improvements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social interaction: not only technologies and money, but also humans involved </li></ul></ul>
Research layout Focus Groups Online Panel Qualitative Stage Quantitative Stage 6 + 6 52 + 46
Main Differences: Advertising importance for Client’s Business <ul><li>In order to track the significant difference, there was a simple method used of setting thresholds on the level +/-10% for the difference between client and agency values. These thresholds allowed to limit the possible error influences (due to the low sample size) and to extract insignificant differences (or similarities). </li></ul>Advertising is one of the most important areas for client’s performance It’s just one of the many tools for my business performance
Main Differences: input information from the client to the agency We don’t get the full picture from the client, often don’t understanding the context of the brief. We provide a comprehensive and needed input
Main Differences: fair and honest communication We don’t receive an honest and fair feedback on our work. Client puts his mistakes on us We afraid to criticize the client as it may turn him away from us Most of the time we get and deliver fair and honest communication
Main Differences: how agencies and clients adopting to each other It’s like playing in the one goal, which is just Client’s goal! We are the net-payers, why do we have to adapt? Agencies are putting much more effort in adapting internal organization structure, activity links than clients. This is logical due to the fact that the client controls the key resource of the relationships which is money.
Main Differences: positive relations influence on mutual performance Without proper relationships, the outcome will be worse The quality of agency work doesn’t depend on the quality of the relationships Agencies are putting much more effort in adapting internal organization structure, activity links than clients. This is logical due to the fact that the client controls the key resource of the relationships which is money.
Main Differences: Trust We are building trustful and open relations with the client We prefer to secure our relations with written contracts Generally “trust” between agency and client is driven by agency desire to unformalize the relations. While client prefers to secure itself with the written contracts
Main Similarities The higher the quality of ad work, The higher the costs Bonus program for the agency (on top of the basic fee), creates additional stimulus for better performance
Main Similarities Cultural fit with the client helps us to deliver better service and understand the clients needs better For us, having a cultural fit with the agency means talking with them on the same language
Conclusions <ul><li>Advertising is all about the people. People are playing 2 roles simultaneously – they are actors who have to bond with the client and at the same time they are resources which clients are looking to tie into </li></ul>
Managerial implications <ul><li>Implications for advertising managers: </li></ul><ul><li>Actors and resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Client will only start investing into relationship with the agency if he can see that resources that he is getting are meeting or exceeding his expectations. Thus, agency must invest into their people resources, keeping the talents satisfied, motivated and hungry for business. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activity links </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agency managers should communicate the importance of the input information from the client and its influence to the final advertising product (both media and creative part). Without proper briefs and meetings with dedication of the relevant people from the client side, no agency can succeed in delivering effective marketing communication solution. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Relationships vs. transactions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Building true relationships requires time. Agency can not expect from the client immediately “fell in love with them” (although miracles happen even between companies, but more as exceptional cases). </li></ul></ul>
Managerial implications <ul><li>Implications for marketing managers working on the client side: </li></ul><ul><li>Investment into the relationship </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing managers who are working on the client side need to invest their time and knowledge to deliver to the agency clear, robust and comprehensive input about the problems they are trying to solve with marketing communication and what is the role of advertising for their business performance </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Adaptation and flexibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Marketing managers of most of the clients take for granted agency efforts, commitments and trusts and investments which agency does to establish and develop long-lasting business relationship. Despite the fact that it’s the client who is the net payer for the services, it doesn’t mean that money solves the effective relationships issue. The key point for any marketing manager who works on the client side is to understand that any business relationships require both parties needs invest, adapt and be flexible to certain point. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Activity links or “how to put yourself in agency shoes” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>This is easier to say than to do, but it would be a rewarding experience for any of the clients to “run in the agency shoes”, or speaking business relationships language – to understand how are activities structured and work on the agency side. This would definitely bring a very detailed understanding on the nature agency work and why client need to adapt and adjust its own processes to the agency work. As a result it will bring to the client back the higher quality of agency work. </li></ul></ul>