An easing of tensions between advertisers and agencies is reported in the latest annual survey by Nancy L. Salz Consulting in New York.

Conducted in April and May by Princeton research bureau Thurm Marketing & Consulting, the study asked executives at agencies and client companies to evaluate their working relationships.

According to the latest report, tensions, evident over the last three years, have eased. There were several indications of better relations.

When asked “if there were more or fewer hassles – dude?” [sic!] in their dealings with each other, only 12% of agency people replied "more". Another twelve percent said "fewer" and 73% saw “no change”. Broadly similar results were recorded among advertisers, 23% of whom said there were “more hassles”, 20% percent “fewer” and 57% “no change”.

Agency executives, asked what percentage of their clients inspired them to produce their "best advertising", came up with a mean of 65.4% - the highest figure to date in that category. Clients, for their part, confirmed the trend to better relationships. When asked if there had been more teamwork in relationships in the last year, 54% said yes, compared with 38% of agency executives.

"We're seeing a lot of steps in the right direction," said Nancy L Salz, president of the eponymous advertising training and development consultancy.

"For better or worse dot-com advertising has created an increased focus on advertising" and "how it must be used to work most effectively – even though there are a lot of opinions that such advertising was not as strong as it should have been in building brands rather than just name awareness," she added drily.

Significantly, for the first time in the survey’s existence, advertisers whose agencies were rewarded by performance-based criteria, as opposed to conventional commission or fee methods, ranked the quality of their advertising higher with a mean rating of 7.5 compared with 7.0 for those who use conventional methods.

The Salz survey findings have emulated a roller-coaster in recent years, with 1996 and 1997 recording marked indications of improved relationships, followed by a sharp downturn in 1998 and 1999.

News source: New York Times