While turf battles between agencies working on the same account are not new, they don’t appear to be subsiding -- at least between brand advertising agencies and shopper marketing firms. Such battles negatively impact performance, according to a new study from consultancy Hoyt & Co. and marketing magazine The Hub.
The study, which looked at working relationships between brand ad agencies and shopper marketing agencies, found that most clients believe turf battles prevented such shops from delivering fully on agreed-to objectives.
Nearly 70% of the marketers surveyed said that “turf protection by competing agencies of record” was a key obstacle to “path-to-purchase integration.” The agencies surveyed for the study did not disagree. Nearly 60% of the shopper agencies and 67% of the brand agencies agreed that turf wars are a problem.
The survey polled 30 major marketers, including Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kimberly-Clark and ConAgra, as well as more than 50 advertising and shopper agencies combined.
Marketers polled for the study slammed brand agencies for not really caring about the shopper marketing sector or taking the time to learn it. Ninety percent of the marketers cited “lack of interest” on the part of brand agencies with regard to shopper marketing. Ninety-six percent of the marketers polled said they believed their brand agencies embraced the attitude that “we are strategic and you are not” in regard to shopper marketing firms and other so-called below-the-line type services.
Among the areas ripe for dispute between brand shops and shopper marketing firms are which agency should control the “pre-store” segment on the path to purchase. There is even disagreement over what “pre-store” constitutes.
“Advertising agencies, [which] view pre-store as a place (the home) which they ‘own’ [while] shopper agencies view pre-store as a mindset (consumer as shopper) and they “own” the shopper,” the study concludes. It also reported that “potential conflict exists across the agency functions of planning, media development and promotion development.”
So what’s the solution?
Per the study, ad shops need to become more receptive and more willing to learn about the ‘back end’ of path-to-purchase marketing and how this understanding can improve brand strategy and positioning.”
Shopper agencies need to forge better relationships with C-Suite executives at client companies so their contributions are better recognized at higher organizational levels.