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Key findings from Agency Scope UK 2018/2019

Agency Scope UK 2018/2019 has recently completed five months of intense fieldwork among the UK's leading companies.

Between September 2018 and January 2019, Scopen conducted face-to-face, in-depth interviews with more than 80 CMO’s of leading brands and companies in the UK. In addition, more than 60 online interviews took place with agency professionals. Total creative agency and media agency interviews were 200 and more than 240 client: agency relationships were examined.

Agency Scope UK 2018/2019: Early insights, possible trends

Johanna McDowell, Scopen Partner and Director for UK and South Africa gives a few early insights and trends derived from interviews that are currently being conducted with CMOs of leading brands in the UK by Agency Scope...

10 Dec 2018


Here are the highlights from their findings:

  • The average investment in marketing related to turnover in British companies is 2,9% - slightly lower than the global benchmark among the 12 Scopen studied countries. Global benchmark is 3.1%.

  • Marketers invest 37.8% of their marketing and communications budget in digital (this means 6.5 percentage points of increase since the last wave of the study in 2015). Marketers state that they invest their other 38.6% in ATL and 23.6% in BTL-marketing services (mainly promo, activation and events). UK marketers invest less in digital than their Chinese counterparts (42.6%) and Brazilians (38.7%).

  • Marketers work in the UK with an average of 3.5 creative agencies (1.9 of them digital specialists) on an ongoing basis. The country where we find that clients work with the greatest number of agencies is China (5.8 agencies).

  • Length of relationships between clients and agencies has decreased dramatically in the UK in the last three years. In 2015 marketers were working with their agencies for an average of 6.5 years, whereas these days the average has dropped to 4.8 years. We have noticed how marketers that had been working with their agencies for 30 or 40 years have recently changed so this huge drop does not surprise us.

  • Especially good news for agencies is that marketers do not identify other partners (apart from tech companies at 25.5%) that contribute in a greater way to their business growth. They attribute 8.2% to Google and 8.1% to Facebook and surprisingly, there are no mentions of Amazon. Consultancies (such as BCG, Accenture and Deloitte) are scored very low at 3%, 2% and 1% respectively and McKinsey appears the highest at 5%.

  • Cannes Lions is the most valued award by marketers. This increases their prestige since the last edition and is nearly double the importance given to the next award, the IPA’s Effectiveness Awards.

  • Nike (‘Just Do It -Colin Kaepernick‘, and ‘Nothing beats a Londoner’) and John Lewis’s (‘The boy and the Piano -Elton John’) are the two companies most admired for their campaigns. KFC, Audi (‘Clowns’) and Guinness complete the top 5.

  • Nike, Apple and John Lewis are the three most admired companies for their marketing. Amazon and Unilever complete the top 5.

  • Mark Lund is the agency professional most admired by marketers, followed by Cilla Snowball, James Murphy and John Hegarty. Sara Bennison and Fernando Machado are the most admired CMOs by their peers.

  • adam&eveDDB, BBH and Mother are perceived as the most creative agencies by marketers in the UK.

  • BBH is the agency that clients would include most often in a short-list if they were to conduct a pitch tomorrow; Mother and adam&eveDDB are second and third.

  • BBH, AMVBBDO and McCann are the three agencies closer to the ‘ideal’ type of agencies in marketers’ minds.

  • VCCP is the agency with highest levels of client satisfaction, BBH ranks second, and Brooklyn Brothers and Proximity are equal in the third position- Clients are demanding and there is a lot of competition, so it is not easy to appear in the top three in the performance ranking.

  • VCCP, Karmarama and Lucky Generals are the agencies that show the biggest improvements overall in the rankings of the study. Some digital agencies also show stronger positions. Anomaly, R/GA and Droga5 are more highly positioned and admired by agency professionals than by marketers.

  • Ogilvy has improved its perception in the market place significantly, after the unique ‘Ogilvy’ rebranding.

  • CMO’s receive calls from 50 different agencies per year asking to meet. Add to this that there will be at least 10 calls from each agency and a marketer is fielding more than 500 approaches a year from agencies

Comments Cesar Vacchiano, Global CEO of Scopen,
The conversion rate ie how many agencies that a CMO actually meets with – and why – is even more interesting. And as the percentage is declining, agencies need to find out more about how to meet the CMO’s and what will trigger a meeting.
Scopen, which has studied the marketing communications industry in 12 countries for more than 25 years, tracks its results for the industry on a continuous basis. With studies in each country happening every two years, Scopen has the benefit of information from more than 3,000 CMO’s globally on an annual basis.

Comments Johanna McDowell, managing partner for Scopen in the UK and in South Africa,
It is fascinating to be able to compare these trends to others in the world and we are able to do that especially between the UK and South Africa. 2019 sees the third wave of the Agency Scope study in South Africa and we are looking forward to presenting our findings to the industry in November 2019.
Fieldwork for Agency Scope South Africa 2019 starts in May she adds.
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