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Briefs could be clearer, clients admit

News, 26 July 2016

NEW YORK: Around four-fifths (81%) of brand marketers acknowledge that they can frustrate their agency colleagues by not being clear about their requirements in their briefs, a new survey has revealed.

Joanne Davis Consulting, a search and agency-client relations firm, polled marketers from 66 large brands and 101 agencies with a particular focus on the process for reviewing and executing creative accounts.

On top of the significant majority of client marketers who admit that their review briefs are not clear enough, the survey found another 63% accept that their fee expectations are out of kilter with the work they request, Advertising Age reported.

For example, when it comes to requests for proposals, 36% of clients who think agencies should get paid for work during the reviews believe their fee should range from between $100,000 and $199,000.

However, half of the agencies in the survey believe the amount should be closer to $300,000 or more for review work that the client ultimately owns.

"We were not surprised that agencies felt more strongly about being compensated for spec work than did clients, but clients were not as resistant to the idea as we expected," said Joanne Davis.

"Both sides felt very strongly that more time should be spent on getting to know each other," she continued. "And it was a good confirmation to see that clients recognised that they need to work harder to ensure that they know and communicate what they need at the start of the process."

As well as finding that clients and agencies are more in agreement than they were three years ago about the need to have clear review briefs, the survey also revealed that agencies are now more understanding about the involvement of procurement.

Just three comments from agency respondents were critical of procurement departments getting involved in the review process, the survey found.

As Davis said: "The optimist in us believes that perhaps agencies have finally learned to accept procurement as a natural member of the client agency review team, rather than write in a comment that procurement is the main problem."

Data sourced from Advertising Age; additional content by Warc staff