This past summer, independent advertising agency RPA and USA TODAY released a survey revealing how crucial trust among agencies and clients is to creative success. The results, shared at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, showed that the overwhelming majority (98%) of executives from both the agency and client-sides believed “that the best work comes when clients trust their agencies.” However, the survey also found that there is quite a lack of trust in the marketing world. Despite being the crux in any successful partnership, trust is quite fragile.
Having divergent views of creativity, as well as differences in alignment and a lack of clear, open communication, were deemed the greatest threats to trust. Approximately 2/3 of respondents said they do not share the same definition of creativity as their counterparts (specifically, 60.5% of marketers from the client-side and 70% of agency executives felt this way). And when it comes to communication, the numbers aren’t much better. When asked if they speak their mind, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be, 88% of clients say they do, but just 36% of agencies claim to do so. Instead of operating as a cohesive unit focused on a common goal, such shortcomings can end up creating two (or more) disconnected crews.
In reviewing this research, I’m reminded of some of the conversations DTC Perspectives has had with key members of the industry over the past year. We largely hear that clients trust and rely on their agencies’ recommendations. But, we were also told that not enough is being done to push forward – particularly when it comes to ACA impacts. So does it mean clients aren’t heeding agency advice as much as originally thought? Or that agencies aren’t pushing the envelope enough? We hear time and time again that marketers (or their legal teams) can be reluctant to jump into new territory or explore new platforms. Conversely, “Enough talk. It’s time for action!” is also said. Despite being an industry rife with innovation, the marketing sector does not seem to be as encouraged to revolutionize. Granted, we are dealing with very serious issues and conditions, but that doesn’t mean that innovative marketing should be stifled. We were further informed during our conversations that there is a gap between the viewpoints that pharma and agencies focus on when it comes to marketing.
These contradictions identify disconnects similar to the ones found in the RPA/USA TODAY survey. Now, their survey was conducted among executives from a variety of industries. But healthcare marketing to consumers has its own unique nuances and restrictions… so what would such results look like in the DTC world? Aside from the obvious similarities of the importance of trust and honest communication, I’m curious what other parallels – or differences – we would we discover. Would only 36% of healthcare agencies be upfront when communicating if they had to? I mean, we are dealing with health and people’s lives here; this isn’t advertising laundry detergent or gum.
Help us find out what DTC marketing executives value in their relationships by taking our survey. We will reveal the results in the 2015 annual issue of DTC Perspectives magazine, set to be released in the first half of the year.