A new study from the American Association of Advertising Agencies finds member agencies feel a sense of accomplishment about how they stepped up to help clients navigate the challenging, difficult and transforming marketing landscape wrought by the pandemic over the past year.
Agencies also believe that clients recognize their work helped brands thrive during the period, per the report.
The study, based on a survey fielded in January and February, found that 97% of respondents believe their agency’s work helped their top clients gain market share during 2020.
Plus, 92% of those polled rated the health of their relationships with top clients as “healthy” or “very healthy.”
When asked if they had helped top clients adapt to changing business conditions with campaigns and other programs during 2020 about two-thirds replied they had helped the majority of those clients do so.
Asked what the bottom-line insight from the survey is, 4As President-CEO Marla Kaplowitz replied: “When the going gets tough, clients turn to agencies to be their partners.” They did so, she added, during a period when “they had to deal with something they had never dealt with before.”
She also interprets the findings to show that “creative thinking is impacting every aspect of agency business for the better. From campaign work, to gaining market share, to strengthening agency-client relationships, this prolonged time of crisis has posed its challenges, as well as opportunities to learn how to work smarter and make a real impact.”
Case in point, she added, is how quickly the industry came up with creative solutions to develop ad campaigns when live and in person production shoots weren’t possible.
She also noted that engagement levels with clients was up 90%, thanks in part to efficiencies made possible by Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other communications technologies.
About 70% of respondents said they believe their work for top clients is closely linked to business outcomes. The same percentage said they felt clients recognize and acknowledge their contributions.
The past year, Kaplowitz asserts, demonstrates just how much “partnership matters” with agency-client relationships.
A total of 102 4As members across the U.S. responded to the survey. Participating agencies included holding company shops, independents, creative and media agencies and various specialists.