Report warns shops of new-business danger

Agencies are seriously jeopardising their client relationships by spending too much time chasing new business, according to a new survey commissioned by the Results Business Consultancy.

Agencies are seriously jeopardising their client relationships by

spending too much time chasing new business, according to a new survey

commissioned by the Results Business Consultancy.



The cost of a split can be up to pounds 50 million in a year if client

and agency time are also taken into account.



David Miln, a senior consultant at the Results Business Consultancy,

told Campaign: ’The message is that clients need to do their homework

before appointing agencies and that agencies need to work harder at the

relationship. It is in the best interests of both to get it right.’



Miln even suggested setting up a counselling service along the lines of

Relate, which helps to repair foundering relationships.



Almost all relationships break down over a period of 12 months, the

survey found, during which time agencies often miss the chance to repair

the damage because they are unaware of the problems they face.



In the survey, conducted by the Harris Research Centre, some clients

admitted they wished they had found out more about an agency before

making a final appointment and some gave the impression that they

treated the pitch process almost as a game.



Miln added: ’Agencies need the sense of excitement generated by pitches

but they must also ask whether there is a better way of investing their

money and resources.’



Extending the marriage analogy, the report claims: ’If the husband

(client) is boring, this is something for agencies to address - they

should not run off and put the effort into playing the field.’



The survey is based on a sample of 45 clients - all of which appointed

new agencies within 18 months of the survey - interviewed by telephone

during November and December 1998. Only clients investing at least

pounds 1 million a year on marketing communications were included.



Mark Robinson, the marketing director of J. Walter Thompson, said: ’An

agency like ours has the resource and the space to go after new

business.



It is more of a problem for small agencies that can be dominated by a

big pitch.’



He added: ’There are also a number of immature clients around who don’t

understand the massive costs involved for an agency.’



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