NEWS: ISBA sets performance standard

Britain’s advertisers are moving towards a common standard for assessing how well - or badly - their agencies are performing.

Britain’s advertisers are moving towards a common standard for assessing

how well - or badly - their agencies are performing.



The new benchmark is the result of the most comprehensive survey ever

commissioned by the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers to find

out what clients think of their agencies.



Now, the establishment of agreed criteria by clients is being seen as a

move towards bringing more US-style emphasis on accountability to the UK

agency scene.



With a thaw in relations between ISBA and the Institute of Practitioners

in Advertising, ISBA executives were this week emphasising that the

survey results were not intended to be used as a stick with which to

beat agencies.



But in an introduction to the report, John Hooper, ISBA’s director

general, warns: ‘The management of advertising is becoming more complex

and accountable, necessitating, in turn, some means of objective

evaluation.’



The verdict on agencies, delivered by 130 clients with a combined annual

spend of more than pounds 1 billion, is: ‘Good, but could do better.’



While agencies in general reap high praise for their contribution to

clients’ marketing objectives and an understanding of their brands,

there remains widespread dissatisfaction over their ability to deliver

value for money.



Dr Ian Chaston, research co-ordinator at Plymouth Business School, which

carried out the year-long survey, said: What this report concludes is

that the high expenditure days of advertising are gone. Clients are

looking for people to make their marketing programmes more successful.

It’s the agencies that are the most professional that will survive.’



Chris Baker, BST-BDDP’s planning director, who was a consultant for the

survey, said: ‘You could say agencies must concentrate on sorting out

the problem of offering value for money. That’s true but it also has to

be remembered that agencies provide a non-standardised service.’



ISBA is also commissioning a software package to enable advertisers to

adapt the report’s findings to their own situations.



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