Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

SA marketers attribute less than one fifth (17%) of their overall business growth to their creative and media agencies, according to research done by Scopen. This is almost 50% less than the figure given by marketers in 2016, which came in at 31.5%.

Johanna McDowell, Scopen Africa partner, believes that this lowered perception is due to two factors: first, the size of the research sample, and second, the state of the economy.

In 2016, just 70 marketers were interviewed, yet they fell within the top 100 advertising spenders, while in 2017, more than 200 marketers were interviewed. McDowell maintains that this increased sample size, which included agencies that spend less, affected the results.

The second factor aligns with the stagnant economy of the past few years (and the past 12 months in particular) which has contributed to a decline in confidence.

According to Cesar Vacchiano, Global CEO of Scopen, it’s no easy task for marketers to assess accurately exactly how much their agencies contribute to their overall business growth, as this is not something that can be measured. However, he explains that most marketers have a perception of this figure. He adds that even though this seems to have decreased, SA’s figures are still higher than in some other countries, such as China and the UK.

Interestingly, the figures are higher in new companies and in the automotive, banking and finance sectors, for example, as they tend to use more analysis and indicators. Some marketers are able to recognise that agencies are the partners that can contribute the most to their growth – largely companies that use their agencies to help them with their business and digital transformation.

There has long been a need for agencies to help their clients develop ways to measure and demonstrate return on investment, especially since the perception of contribution to growth is opinion based. The reality is that agencies could in fact be contributing more to business growth than their clients think, which would be more apparent if agencies could provide more accurate measurement. 

“There has been a lot of change in the past 18 months, with the economy slowly recovering.  We believe that marketers will gradually become more positive as the year goes on. The 2019 study starts in July next year and we expect to see a considerable improvement on this year’s figures,” says McDowell.

The big take out

Research from Scopen for 2017 shows that marketers perceive their media and creative agencies to be contributing less to the growth of their business than they were in 2016. This highlights the need for more accurate forms of measurement, which could show that agencies are contributing more to clients’ growth than they think.