What does the future hold for creative agencies worldwide?

Campaign and Deltek surveyed agency professionals across EMEA, North America and Asia-Pacific regions about everything from profitability and processes to what’s really giving them sleepless nights. In total, 670 agency professionals, from more than 30 countries participated, and the results are a global snapshot of the trends that are shaping the industry.

The key trends worldwide:

    • Many agencies have grown and diversified, but this is not necessarily translating to greater profit margins
    • Over-servicing and scope creep is the number one concern worldwide
    • Nearly half of all agencies want to improve their processes for finding & retaining the right talent
    • Opportunities to improve project management and client handling processes are being missed

Increase your agency’s profit margins with accurate scoping, resourcing and job delivery.

Over-servicing or “scope creep” is a real issue faced by many agencies, but how can it be avoided in this fast-paced industry to ensure that businesses are billing clients accurately?

Download this whitepaper for some practical tips on how to:

  • Track your agency’s KPIs accurately
  • Create clear SLAs and SOWs
  • Re-evaluate your business model

Deltek’s Agency Solutions power project success by giving you better control, insight and visibility into agency operations, so your team can deliver more creative content on time and on budget.

Find out how to increase efficiency and productivity through;

    • CRM & Pipeline Management
    • Resourcing, Project Management & Collaboration
    • Proofing & Approvals
    • Finance & Accounting

We consider it our ongoing mission to truly understand our clients’ challenges and proactively identify what help they need to solve these challenges. To this end, we recently worked with Campaign UK to survey 100 agencies. The focus of the research was agency efficiency and productivity – in essence, do agencies have the right processes and systems in place to maximise their creativity? The results show that while this is a clear priority for agencies, most are not satisfied that the tools they are using are the right ones. I’ve selected some of what I found to be the most interesting data points to share with you.

See the full survey results

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Key Challenges:

Let’s start with the problems those surveyed want to solve:

  1. Managing ever-increasing client expectations for cheaper, better and faster work
  2. Finding and retaining qualified staff
  3. Charging clients correctly (in terms of accurate budgeting, timekeeping and managing scope creep)
  4. Forecasting and planning in an always-changing environment
  5. Resource management aligned with capacity

These issues aren’t new and there aren’t any that can’t be solved by implementing effective processes to measure productivity and efficiency. So, what’s holding agencies back?

Efficiency: Every Agency’s Holy Grail?

advertising agency software

While the vast majority (85%) of survey respondents said that their agencies were measuring operational efficiency in some way, the methods used varied. 42% reported using a mixture of automated and manual systems to keep track of operational efficiency, while 28% said they still tracked efficiency mainly through manual methods, such as spreadsheets. The problem with this tracking approach was summarised by one respondent, the strategy director at an agency; “I have to look at one spreadsheet for our budget, one for time spent, another for costs – and while we use software for pipeline management, those systems aren’t joined up.”

Getting Estimates Right: What’s Going Wrong?

‘69% of agencies report too many guesstimates in their estimates’

However, 29% said they did not have that clear insight and 21% were only “somewhat” convinced by their estimates. More worryingly, one in 10 of those surveyed either did not know if their estimates were correct or were not confident in their accuracy.

So, what is undermining confidence in business estimates? The answer seems to lie in the fact that agencies’ estimates are too often underpinned by a certain amount of guesswork. 69% of those surveyed felt they had some of the information they needed to produce accurate business estimates, but that too many guesstimates were involved in the process.

One strategy director was candid about how easy it is to fall into over-reliance on guesstimates: “What we think we know about our business is massively open to personal bias – too often, we base our thinking on ‘I reckon…’ rather than hard data. We often think we know who our best clients are, but do the numbers bear that out?’’ he asked.

Where Technology Meets Creativity

project management for creative agencies

“Moving to a single system has allowed the team to increase the speed with which they can access data – it allows them to spend more time on creating the work and less on the tracking of it.”
– Mark Jones, We Are Social

The results showed that most agencies felt that better technology would help build a clearer picture of their business, and free up staff to concentrate on creativity. 66% thought that agency management software could help with easier project scheduling and time tracking and a similar number believed it could reduce excessive admin time and unbillable costs. 52% thought software systems could help align resourcing and staffing pipelines, while nearly as many (47%) believed they could increase the accuracy of estimates and invoices.

So, what’s the real problem? It seems that agencies are not actually taking advantage of these technology benefits.

Most agencies (66%) were using multiple systems to manage and monitor their activity and were only “somewhat” happy with the result. Meanwhile, a significant minority (16%) were successfully using one integrated software system across the whole agency. A unified system appears to be the key to success. Mark Jones of We Are Social is convinced of the benefits of a cohesive approach: “Moving to a single system has allowed the team to increase the speed with which they can access data – it allows them to spend more time on creating the work and less on the tracking of it.”

I’ve only been able to touch on a couple of points from what was a truly enlightening research piece in this blog. Please do download the full report here for a more detailed view of the insights and trends we uncovered.

 

The CMO Growth Agenda Forces Agency Holding Companies To Rearchitect Their Raison D’être

The CMO/agency relationship is at risk. Brands are turning to in-house agencies; company growth agendas bring in CIOs and other business stakeholders; ad budgets face constant pressure; and consultancies are swooping in to take highmargin experience technology services. Our conversations with CMOs and agency holding company CEOs show that agencies need a new business model that puts the client at the center, elevates new services, and blends creative entrepreneurialism with new executional prowess. We’ve identified a path back to partnership.

Download this research here



 

Fascinating Insight and Perceptions Revealed

In the release of The SoDA Report On… The State of Agency Workflow Management, Deltek teamed up with SoDA to understand creative agencies’ perspective on the state of agency workflow management, business processes and tools.

Download the report now to learn more about the fascinating insight on key issues that agencies are facing, the challenges they need to address, and the “true” state of workflow management tools and solutions.

Download Report



Before the buck can stop with you, you need to see where the bucks are going. WorkBook gives you the visibility to see the details of every project for every client so you can manage how agency time, resources and monies are best spent in one simple integrated solution.

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For a member of the Management Team, it’s crucial that you have the right agency management tool to help your staff handle day-to-day operations so you can take care of the big picture. WorkBook provides not only project and resource-based visibility into daily operations, but also gives you the short and long-term clarity you need to ensure your agency’s success.

Download the PDF to discover the Top 5 reasons every person in your agency can benefit from using WorkBook.



Recently, Nucleus Research embarked on a hands-on assessment of WorkBook from Deltek agency management software.  Among numerous key findings, Nucleus found that agencies were able to consolidate their disparate systems by replacing them with WorkBook, simplifying their technology environment and streamlining processes, saving businesses between five and 12 percent on project management.

 

Download the report below and discover why Nucleus Research found WorkBook to provide agencies better visibility and collaboration across departments.



The right resources can make or break a project. Each project requires the perfect balance of skill, experience and availability. Coupled with the uncertainty of a project-based pipeline, it’s crucial that you have knowledge of current bandwidth as well as what’s coming your way.

With greater visibility into upcoming projects and better insights from more accurate timesheet data, WorkBook gives you a clearer view of your resourcing needs now and in the future.