Client Agency Industry Experience Not Essential

A MENG member recently surveyed other members about what they were looking for when selecting an advertising agency. To become a MENG member, marketers must have a present or past experience as an executive making at least a $160,000+ base salary. They must also pass a selection committee member interview to be accepted as a member of the organization.

The information listed below was compiled in March 2008 and there were 110 completed surveys.  

Respondents came from virtually every industry type, but there was a slightly greater representation in Financial Products/Services (14%) and Consumer Packaged Goods (10%). In addition, 71% of respondents are primarily involved in Business to Consumer marketing/advertising and 72% indicated they were either a CMO (29%), VP Marketing (26%) or Director of Marketing (17%) in their present positions.  

Adding to the credibility of the responses, 12% had advertising budgets that exceeded $50MM. All budgets were fairly evenly divided in the lower budget ranges. 

Most respondents (53%) have looked for a new agency two times in the past 5 years; 97% have looked for a new agency at least once in the past 5 years; and  57% were looking for a full-service agency at the time the survey was conducted. 

On a scale of 1-5, respondents selected what they valued most when selecting an advertising agency.

High (scoring 4 or more)

-Works as part of team         

-Delivers strong sales results

-Reputation for getting sales results

-Ability to produce within tight budgets

-Reputation for high service

-Ability to uncover consumer insights

Low (scoring 1.99 to 2.4) 

-Part of large agency network

-Press reputation

-Creative awards

-Larger size 

-Search consultant recommendation

-"Hot" shop reputation

-Located in LA or NY

What surprised me the most is that client industry experience makes either no difference or is not likely to make a difference in 77% of the cases.

Not surprisingly, respondents identified these primary characteristics of outstanding agencies. 


  1. They get outstanding results with 45% of the vote 
  2. And 35% said great creative separated the average from the leading agencies.


What other things make up outstanding agencies that I omitted from this list?

Posted on September 15, 2008 and filed under General.