From conversations we have had recently with numerous insight managers, add-value and thought leadership is not a service that all clients are receiving across the board, which is a pity.
Only last week in one meeting we heard from one prospect that an incumbent agency was considered ‘complacent’ but they hadn’t actually been told that. In another there was serious doubt as to whether the account director who had been wheeled in at the start had even been involved in their project.
In a recent Research Magazine article by Steve Gatt, Economic and Insight Manager at Volkswagen Group, complained that most of the research he sees is ‘not up to scratch’ http://www.research-live.com/multimedia/video/volkswagens-insight-boss-on-inadequate-research/4003273.article, that reports are too long and don’t deliver. The article is interesting, as are the comments afterwards; there is certainly an argument that many agencies aren’t delivering, as borne out by the conversations we highlighted earlier, but clients do need to shoulder some responsibility too, only too often briefs are vague and ill conceived.
Perhaps being a smaller research consultancy with senior staff helps us to be more focused on adding value and it is encouraging that the ethos that we set out on day 1 at Beehive is not always shared by some agencies we compete against. Certainly some of the comments in lieu of Steve’s article suggest that smaller boutique agencies should be considered more because of the add value they can bring and this certainly rings true with many organizations we have spoken with.
Maybe the current macro economic climate is a good thing for clients and agencies alike and will force the industry to deliver added value to our customers’ and make everyone take a more strategic approach. We strongly believe the industry as a whole should be striving even harder to go that extra mile, to over deliver not under deliver and that by understanding our clients and prospects better will help us to deliver:
- A more strategic approach – one where our solutions meet with the wider context of business objectives and research requirements
- Creativity in our research solutions
- A pro-active service where Account Directors remain involved and keep clients fully informed – sounds simple but not always done
- Better advise on mitigation of risks before they arise – and not being scared to raise them at proposal stage in case it puts the client off
- Solutions that are what a client needs and not what we want to sell them
- Forward thinking and innovative methods that are selectively used to enhance the recipe
What is good today may not be good enough tomorrow and perhaps we should just strive for excellent today, that way tomorrow has to be excellent too.
It’s certainly an ethos we will continue to strive for, but we also believe clients need to take responsibility more and reward agencies that go the extra mile.