NEW YORK: A majority of marketers expect to make changes to their agency rosters in the next year, with the need for enhanced digital capabilities and innovation among the key drivers of this trend, a study has shown.

The CMO Council, the industry body, polled over 550 client-side executives, of which 35% described the contribution of their agencies as "pretty good", the same number as opted for "average" on this metric.

An additional 12% of the panel chose "extremely valuable" on this measure, alongside 11% that agreed their partners were "underperforming" and 1% of shops seen as "not producing at all".

Fully 58% of participants expected to alter agency rosters in the next 12 months. For 22%, this will occur in the field of social media, beating public relations on 20% and advertising on 15%. Branding and imaging posted 11% here.

For 43% of marketers, a lack of innovation and value-added thinking was the main cause of these moves, while business and campaign results logged 33% and the service provided yielded 26%.

When discussing their in-house hiring priorities for the coming year, social media again led the charts on 46%, with analytics on 43%, in front of strategic planning and business development on 32%.

Upon assessing their organisation's performance in the digital marketing space, a modest 5% of respondents concurred that it was "excellent", and 13% regarded their present position as "good".

The largest proportion of executives, exactly 50%, were still enhancing capabilities, integration and measurement in this area, but 12% were "not doing a good job" of converting site visits.

"The current state of digital marketing is one of high optimism but lacks the skills, talent, budget and platforms to fully exploit the potential of digital engagement," the study said.

In response, 50% of firms will soon implement "digital marketing makeovers", while 39% hope to build performance measurement dashboards and align more closely with sales teams. For 31%, reorganising marketing departments is vital.

New email marketing solutions will be implemented by 41% of companies in the next year, and 33% are to roll out mobile apps. Another 31% planned to develop websites, and 30% to increase their presence on social networks or online communities.

A further 29% intend to make more use of social media monitoring and data mining. Search marketing automation secured 28% here, matching the score for lead management and building customer loyalty and advocacy.

Data sourced from CMO Council; additional content by Warc staff