Clients say siloed agencies are ‘not fit for purpose’ in new Dentsu Creative study

The marketing and communications world is changing fast, but 85% of clients think the agency model is not keeping pace — and 78% condemn it as no longer fit for purpose — according to a new survey from Dentsu.

Of course, Dentsu’s study works nicely as a selling point for its own new, post-Wendy Clarke integrated agency model, but it also exposes the frustrations of clients at a time when agencies are clearly promising more than they deliver.

Fred Levron, Dentsu Global CCO

The survey of marketers in the UK, US, China, India and Brazil also shows that size is not a selling point. They believe that scale is no longer the advantage it once was: 85% agree that there ought to be a more intelligent way to scale, and 76% want their agencies to connect the right talent with the right brief, regardless of location.

Clients want a new agency model based on creativity as a horizontal not a vertical, with 82% agreeing they want to see creative solutions across every aspect of their business — including media, commerce and CXM — just as much as in campaigns

When asked what is needed to engage the next generation of consumer, 63% of CMOs said that brands need to create culture, not borrow from it. A big majority, 84%, believe that brands now need to “entertain and engage” through entertainment properties or virtual experiences, and they also recognise that diverse talent is the only way to deliver work that will resonate in culture.

Fred Levron, global chief creative officer of Dentsu International, said: “Clients are tired of artificial silos and complexity and seek modern, integrated creativity. They don’t want creativity to stay in its swim lane, they want to see creativity across every aspect of their business – across media and CXM just as much as campaigns and content.”

Patricia McDonald, chief strategy officer of Dentsu Creative said: “Today’s CMOs are asking agencies to stop lagging behind and start leading again. Today’s CMOs believe are asking their agency partners to think beyond legacy silos and bring the right talent around the table [and] connect our core skills in strategy and brand building with the ability to execute anywhere from gaming to entertainment, culture to commerce.”

So clients want integration, access to top talent, diversity, and creativity — and they don’t care about size. We hear a lot of talk about all of this, and some agencies are turning talk into action, but there’s still clearly a long way to go.




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