Agency Service Divide: Brands Are Far From Happy

A fair number of brands use agencies for email marketing and other chores. But they may not be getting the service they expect, judging by Mind the Gap, a study from Wpromote, conducted by Ascend2.   

Of the agencies polled, 76% have high confidence in their service delivery in general. But only 39% of brands are very satisfied.  

There is a large gap concerning the ability to demonstrate ROI: 63% of agencies are confident, but only 33% of brands are very pleased with the service.  

Moreover, 65% of brands are sure of their timeliness/speed of delivery, while 41% of brands are happy with it. And gaps exist in feelings about transparency (63%/42%), creative ideation (63%/40%) and the technology utilized (62%/45%). 

The top services outsourced to agencies are: 

  • Social media marketing—41% 
  • Search engine optimization and content marketing—36%
  • Email marketing//marketing automation—35% 
  • Technology solutions (eg., website development, data management)—34% 
  • Consulting and strategy—34% 
  • Traditional marketing services (e.g., print advertising, event marketing)—32% 
  • Data, analytics and measurement—32%
  • General creative services and graphic design—31% 
  • Brand creative strategy—30% 
  • Public relations and communications—27% 
  • Content production—26% 
  • Full-service media planning—25% 
  • Influencer marketing—25%
  • Pay-per-click advertising—24% 
  • Programmatic/media buying—18% 



What do brands want? Their top areas for improvement are: 

  • Brand awareness—35%
  • Consumer acquisition—33% 
  • Customer engagement—31% 
  • Customer retention—31% 
  • Sales/conversion—21% 
  • Lead generation—26% 
  • Data analysis and utilization—23%
  • Launching new products/services—22% 
  • Content and creative production—19% 
  • Data privacy and regulation compliance—17%

However, brand priorities differ depending on the type of business. B2B brands seek: 

  • Brand awareness—38% 
  • Customer acquisition—36% 
  • Sales/conversion—35%
  • Lead generation—32% 

For B2C companies, the priorities are: 

  • Brand awareness—37% 
  • Customer engagement—36%
  • Customer acquisition—34% 
  • Customer retention—34%

Whatever the vertical, agencies have to perform. Brands evaluate them based on: 

  • Revenue growth—54%
  • ROI—47% 
  • Lead generation—40% 
  • Engagement metrics—39% 
  • Customer satisfaction scores—39%
  • Conversion—36%
  • Brand equity—28%

Meanwhile, brands are using these types of agency partners: 

  • Creative agency—51% 
  • Media agency—49% 
  • Performance agency—33% 
  • Channel-specific (specialized) agency—32% 

Wpromote and Ascend2 surveyed 238 agency professionals and 272 marketing decision makers whose brands use agency services. 

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