The Cost of Short Client-Agency Romances


Like a Kardashian wedding, bad marriages are usually rocky from the start (and end up being expensive).

The top takeaway from a great article is still relevant today; that flawed input during the agency selection process predicts an unhappy outcome, short tenures and huge costs.

The longevity of a relationship matters because when a client and agency team works together for a long time, they most likely develop trust in each other which can help produce better solutions.

When engaged in an agency review, marketers should start paying attention to the future longevity of their relationships with agencies, because a stable relationship is more efficient and a key strategic asset.

An agency review can cost a company in the seven figures: in diverted executive man-hours, potential brand erosion, and share of market loss, as the organization focuses on the review and not on business. This is all terribly wastefulEven so, last year over $27 billion were placed in review, at tremendous cost to marketers.

An agency’s tenure with marketers in the 80s averaged 8.5 years, when professional search consultants managed almost all agency reviews. Consultants now account for just 40% of reviews (with marketers now trying to manage their own reviews in-house), and relationships are toast in a mere 3 years. Why?

The role of the search consultant in the agency selection process affects the stability of client-agency relationships.

There are hundreds of agencies in Canada, and it takes expertise to navigate the marketing-communications industry.

A CMO who hasn’t done a review in 7 or 10 years, or a procurement executive, who is not familiar with agencies, does not have the knowledge to assess agencies’ full strengths and weaknesses.

At the risk of sounding self-serving, a good search consultant should have the knowledge and expertise to match cultures that will result in better and longer lasting relationships.

As the leading ad agency search consultant in Canada, Reynolds & Fyshe provides expert, in-depth industry knowledge of the Canadian agency services world beyond what may be revealed in tightly scripted and rehearsed presentations. With a wealth of proprietary data on agency practices to guide our clients, we constantly meet with and review leading agencies to maintain up to date data on their staff, capabilities and core culture.

How will you make the most out your next agency relationship. Contact us and well show you.