Where agencies are falling short: study

"Knowledge of your business" is the top gap between what brands expect of agencies and what shops actually deliver, according to a new marketer survey.
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Senior Canadian marketers believe the role of Canadian CMOs is changing, with 75% believing that the chief marketing role has become more influential to an organization’s success.

This comes from a joint marketer survey between Deloitte and the ICA, revealed at an afternoon session today during Ad Week.

Beyond the changing role of chief marketers, 80% of the 300+ respondents found the expectations of marketing from organizations has increased dramatically, with many expected to “be the voice of consumers,” while digitization has fundamentally changed the role of marketing for 89% of respondents.

When it comes to agency relationships, the survey identified a few gaps in offerings.

Marketers, on average, ranked “knowledge of your business” as a key factor in expectations of an agency. On a one-to-seven scale, this was ranked as 5.9 in importance, however, agencies fell short to meet that expectation, coming in at a 4.98 on the same scale. “Innovation” followed “knowledge of your business” at an importance ranking of 5.84, though agencies were only ranked at 4.99. Similar gaps existed between an agency’s “ability to transform data analytics into meaningful insight,” “the ability to adapt to change” and “ability to deliver effective marketing communications programs.”

Agencies, however, are viewed as key partners in helping brands navigate the changes to marketing as a result of digital and social media for 68% of respondents (12% disagreed with that sentiment). Seventy percent of respondents also consider agencies their partners in driving business growth. Two-thirds of marketers see agencies as a means to address a skills and resource gap within their own organization, with less than 50% of marketers believing they have the required skills in-house to take advantage of analytics – and 30% saying they do not have the necessary skills – despite 72% saying marketing decisions need to be based on consumer insights.

More than a half of respondents believe their reliance on agencies will either stay the same (47%) or decrease (10%) over the next five years, with 31% believing reliance on agencies will increase “somewhat” and 11% saying it will increase “a lot.” Two thirds said ROI data from agencies would determine spend going forward.

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