CMO Council Study: Marketers Are Dissatisfied with Traditional Ad Firms

Only nine percent of senior marketers who responded to a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council survey believe traditional ad agencies are doing a good job of evolving and extending their service capabilities in the digital age, according to the research firm.

Approximately 51 percent of the more than 250 senior marketers surveyed see their agencies as playing catch-up with regard to new technology, or acquiring but not integrating digital marketing capabilities.

"There's an underlying level of frustration among senior corporate marketers worldwide when it comes to agency contributions to business value creation, strategic thinking, and digital marketing development," said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council, in a statement. "Our members report quite a bit of switching of digital marketing resources, as well as a view that big, global agencies don't have a truly integrated offering and capacity to execute in an effective, localized way in emerging markets."

In terms of areas where marketers seek outside help from agencies, those surveyed by the CMO Council named the following priorities:

  • Mobile apps and mobile content (62 percent)
  • Social media engagement and buzz building (60 percent)
  • Multichannel digital marketing, including email, mobile messaging, social, and Web (52 percent)
  • Web design, development, and performance improvement (51 percent)
  • Search marketing optimization—paid and organic (51 percent)
  • Customer relationship marketing (47 percent)

The survey respondents also ranked the top five causes of pain and friction in their agency relationships, in order, as [a lack of] an agreed-upon set of analytics and metrics that defines success and failure; limited knowledge and comprehension of the client's business; lack of value-added strategic thinking; pricing and budgeting issues; and integration of marketing plans and services.

"Marketing expenditures are under incredible pressure from both CFOs and CMOs in today's business environment. Objective, quantifiable measurement of creative effectiveness is a requirement—not just to address the concerns around accountability, but also to provide a platform for communication between the client and agency," notes Peter Daboll, CEO of Ace Metrix, a sponsor of the study. "It is critical for companies to adopt measurement tools and technologies that can be deployed broadly within and across organizations because the client/agency relationship is far broader in its organizational scope than at any time in the past."

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