Globalisation and digital transformation have seen the context for the client-agency relationship change markedly over the year. Despite this, old adages still stand true, namely successful agency performance depends on successful client performance, and relationships with agencies require clarity of direction, transparency, and constant nurturing by both parties. Recent years have seen the rise of in-house agencies, but brands must be careful not to shut themselves off completely and should still call on expertise as and when it is needed. Onus is still on an effective and thorough briefing process, and remuneration remains a long-standing sticking point within working relationships.


Working with agencies in this instance refers to all aspects the commercial relationship between a business or organisation, and a marketing service agency.

Key insights

1. Clients favour paying agencies for results

Research by the World Federation of Advertisers found that more than 70% of companies think changing remuneration models would improve agency relationships. Over 80% of companies thought the shift towards results focus and performance-based payment would continue – meaning a corresponding decline of labour-based and commission-based payment models. While most agencies would like increased recognition of their contribution to the client’s business, a fair performance-based model would require agreeing clear, achievable and measurable KPIs.