America's CMOs Underwhelmed by Their Ad Agencies: Report

02 February 2009

DALLAS: America's chief marketing officers are in general unenthused by their advertising agencies, according to a survey conducted for marketing services firm Epsilon by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media.

The study's key results reveal that CMOs set rigorous standards for the agencies they hire.

Asked to evaluate the extent to which their agency of record "exceeds my organization's expectations" across a variety of criteria, marketers gave the lowest marks to price (9%) and return on investment (12%).

They gave higher scores for communication (27%), knowledge of my business (24%) and client service (23%).

But when the bar was lowered slightly to “meets my expectations”, the scores increased significantly to price (71%), RoI (67%), communication (60%), knowledge of my business (62%) and client service (64%).

As to hiring staff, CMOs have very clear standards. They attach the highest value to creative thinkers and leaders in their hiring practices, although 39% of the executives revealed they are "somewhat to very unsatisfied" with the availability of qualified employment candidates.

As to how they define 'qualified' in this context, CMOs came up with "someone who is able to handle their responsibilities on day one".

But they're a demanding lot, these CMOs, so are they satisfied with what they get?

They responded as follows:

  • 33% somewhat unsatisfied
  • 6% very unsatisfied
  • 54% somewhat satisfied
  • 5% very satisfied
  • 1% don't know.
And what are the most important characteristics sought in a new employee?
  • Creative thinker (70%)
  • Provides good leadership and inspiration (64%)
  • Ability to complete projects efficiently (63%)
  • Forward thinking and modern in approach to business (63%)
  • Fiscally responsible (40%).
Just 26% of respondents said they place high value on a candidate's ability to find good balance between career and life outside of work. 

Summarizes Epsilon CMO Steve Cone: "These survey results show a significant number of unsatisfied hiring decision-makers who are anxious to find candidates with marketing talent.

"The results suggest that while hiring may be slow in 2009, job seekers who combine creativity and leadership with data mining or digital experience will have ample opportunities in corporate marketing or the agency side of the business."

The full CMO survey can be downloaded by clicking here.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff