NEW YORK: Marketers need to improve the briefs they produce in order to get better work from their agencies, according to a new industry survey.

Joanne Davis Consulting in New York gathered replies from 293 agency leaders around the world, asking them to rank clients on various issues, including integration, procurement, compensation and agency consolidation.

Assignment briefs, reported Advertising Age, were consistently highlighted as an area for improvement, with most agencies expressing a degree of frustration about their quality, and none able to report that briefs were always complete and focused.

Some 53% of agencies said their briefs were complete but lacking in focus, and a further 27% found them incomplete and inconsistent. Just 20% said briefs were complete and focused most of the time.

One reason for this may be a dearth of strategic thinking in the marketing community, with a majority of agencies believing that clients' abilities in this regard are at best "adequate" if not "limited". Only 3% rated their clients as excellent in this field.

Few agencies, however, were beyond improvement on their own side. When asked how they could better meet clients' needs, just 10% said no major changes were planned.

But a quarter felt they needed more diversified expertise, while 34% wanted more diversified expertise and technology. In all, 31% said they needed more diversified expertise, technology and training.

The findings of the survey echo a presentation given at Warc's recent Measuring Advertising Performance event. Jeremy Caplin of Aprais told the audience that good clients get great work from their agencies while poor ones do not.

Caplin claimed that creative output from an agency is 37% better from the bottom to the top 10% of clients.

Like Joanne Davis Consulting, he identified the quality of briefing as an area that was vital in the make-up of a good client. Others included the approval process, timing and behaviour.

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff