CEOs believe agencies are not performance-driven and talk

More than three quarters (76 per cent) of chief executives feel agencies are too “inward looking” and talk too much about “creativity as the saviour” without being able to quantify the impact their work has had on business results, according to the Fournaise Marketing Group. It reveals bosses believe their advertising partners are “too quick” to take credit for results they can not prove they have had a direct impact on and are often “too opportunistic”.

Agencies fail to understand the shareholder and board pressures of running a business and keep on talking about “giving time to creativity to see the impact”, according to almost three quarters (74 per cent) of CEOs. 

Almost two in three (64 per cent) bosses admitted they initially believed agencies to be specialists when it comes to understanding consumers and how to engage with them. Of those, however, the majority (72 per cent) said they soon realised agencies were not as “data- and science-driven” as they had expected. Those advertisers relied too much on “gut-feelings, hearsay, wrong methodologies and questionable information” – greatly reducing the trust they place in agencies – they add.

The report follows last year’s findings from the Fournaise Marketing Group, which revealed that 70 per cent of CEOs have lost trust in marketers’ ability to prove ROI on campaigns. The research group says the declining trust CEOs place in the marketing discipline could be reversed if they are willing to move to a “payment-by-result” (PBR) model.

Jerome Fontaine, global chief executive and chief tracker of Fournaise, says: “CEOs have been telling us there are 2 types of ad and media Agencies: those who are truly performance-driven and can be trusted; and those who pretend they are performance-driven but in reality are not.

“There will be two different agency reactions to these CEO insights: the “pretenders” will attack these findings, will question their accuracy and will make their voice as loud as possible in the media and blogs; the “performers” will smile, nod and will continue doing what they’ve been doing best: constantly tracking their creative and media performance and delivering real and P&L-quantifiable business results for their clients, week in, week out.”

The findings are from The Fournaise Marketing Group  2013 Global Marketing Effectiveness Program, which  surveyed more than 1,200 CEOs across North America, Europe, Asia and Australia