Poor show from consultancies

Consultancies offer poor quality, unprofessional account management and are not pro-active enough, according to a survey of senior marketers.

The Signpost Survey of 500 clients by multidisciplinary consultancy 2Influence yielded a litany of complaints, such as poor creativity, attention to detail and understanding of clients’ business culture or market sector, being over-bearing, not listening and over-valuing their worth.

Over 60 per cent viewed consultancy awards or achievements and existing client lists as the least important criteria when assessing new groups’ credentials. The most important criteria were relevant experience, at 45 per cent, strategic thinking, at 25 per cent and relevant media experience, at 20 per cent.

“What is most concerning is the high level of dissatisfaction clients have with the overall management of their accounts and the general breadth of criticism,” says 2Influence managing director Simon Teer. “The survey revealed that clients expect a greater level of pro-activity from their incumbents, the majority of whom are criticised for not earning their keep or for charging high fees for intangible results.”

Overall, the survey revealed a low value perception of creative groups and a lack of professionalism across both management and service disciplines, adds Teer.

The Signpost Survey questioned marketers’ attitudes to creative consultancies. Polling began last December. The second phase of the research has just begun with the launch of an on-line version at www.2influence.co.uk.

Signpost also looked at what types of new business approach clients are receptive to and it would appear that the traditional remains the best. Some 38 per cent of clients said they were receptive to being sent a brochure by post, while only 6 per cent welcomed e-mail approaches. None were receptive to cold calls and just 2 per cent said they were interested in being invited to showreel presentations.

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