Marketer-agency relationships in APAC – some findings from The Observatory

Richard Bleasdale
The Observatory Asia Pacific


In 2007, The Observatory International undertook a study across Europe of how marketers were spending their time with agencies and how they felt their agencies were performing.

One of the findings of that 2007 study was that 20% of respondents were working across rosters involving at least eleven agency types, and a further 40% had involvement with a surprising minimum of seven.

At the most recent meeting of The Observatory Internationals' Global Remuneration Council in New York in October 2010, the subject of rosters and their usage raised its head again. There was a definite sense amongst our colleagues in North America and within Europe that financial pressures in those markets, where flat was the new growth, meant that clients within our portfolio were looking to smarter ways of working to maximise stagnant budgets and to deliver greater outputs for similar costs. This, combined with the shift to purchasing elements of digital outside of 'pure play' agencies and into the mainstream (countered somewhat by a desire to look to specialist suppliers in everything social and mobile) suggested that the way clients were utilising their rosters was changing, and involving some significant culling of numbers.