Advertising Agency Clients Most Frustrated by Lack of Communication, Industry Knowledge and Insights

New Analysis of Chief Marketers’ Attitudes on Agencies Released at 4A’s Transformation 2010 Conference

Marketing decision makers say they are most frustrated by advertising and Web design agencies that are not proactive, don’t communicate well, and fail to understand their clients’ businesses and their customers.

According to the 2010 Ad-​ology Research Attitudes on Agencies report released today at the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) Transformation 2010 conference, after cost, marketers tend to choose agencies based on creative capability and quality of previous work.Attitudes on Agencies

There are three deadly account service sins for advertising agencies: Inadequate communication, relying on the clients for industry insights and not listening,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-​ology Research. “Committing or being perceived as committing any one of these three sins can quickly put an agency at risk for losing a client.”

Fifty percent of those surveyed plan increased marketing budgets in 2010 versus 2009, with social media, online advertising and online video expected to see the greatest spending increases.

Other key findings from the study:

  • 19% of companies with marketing budgets less than $1 million say they do not use social media, 34% say the same for online video.
  • Companies with marketing budgets more than $1 million are more likely to have mandates to improve customer insight and retention.
  • B2B companies are much more likely to increase budget on public relations than B2C and hybrid companies.

The study was conducted in January 2010 by Ad-​ology Research to analyze marketers’ 2010 plans and attitudes. The Attitudes on Agencies Report is available for purchase for $195 through the Research Store at Ad​-ology​.com.


Ad-​ology Research analyzes key marketing and advertising trends in over 440 industries and what motivates end-​customers. The company’s research is used by over 2,000 advertising agencies, media properties, local governments, and product marketing departments. Ad-​ology Research is a division of Sales Development Services (SDS), Inc. — a Westerville, Ohio firm founded in 1989.


Ad-​ology Research surveyed an online panel of 327 marketing decision makers of U.S. businesses with at least $2 million in sales and who employ at least one outside agency from the following types: Advertising, public relations, events/​experiential marketing, direct marketing, demand generation, web design and development, interactive marketing, and branding and imaging. The survey was conducted January 15–26, 2010.