By Andrew Dalglish - 23rd October 2012
Aren’t we B2B marketers are blessed?
We’ve the intellectual stimulation that comes from getting to grips with complex markets and decision making processes.
We’ve the juicy challenge of bringing to life what can often, at face value, be rather dry products and engaging with buyers on an emotional as well as functional basis.
And we also have a thriving community of agencies. At the B2B Marketing Awards we see a showcase of talent that never fails to impress. But that’s just tip of the iceberg. There’s an army of unsung heroes out there too.
Every year B2B Marketing, in partnership with Circle Research, ranks the UK’s top 50 B2B marketing communications agencies based on their verified revenue. The headline numbers suggest that most agencies are in reasonable commercial health, but the environment is still subdued. Average gross income in 2012 is up 15%. Positive, but this represents a slower pace of growth than in 2011 (18%) and is still nowhere near the pre-recession peak of 30% experienced in 2007.
However, agencies are thriving in a different, some would say more important, respect.
Big doesn’t always mean beautiful. So this year we went a step further in our assessment of agency health. We surveyed 448 of these agencies’ clients to see how satisfied they are with their chosen partner.
Here the numbers are excellent.
The average satisfaction score given by clients to their agency is 8.3 out of 10.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) received by agencies is 48.9%.
As a man who’s conducted dozens of client satisfaction studies in B2B environments, I can say with confidence that these are good scores. And the NPS metric, calculated by subtracting the percentage of clients unlikely to recommend an agency from the percentage who would proactively recommend them, is especially important. Several studies have shown a positive link between a high NPS score and above average commercial performance. This is borne out in the Agency League. Here the fastest growing agencies receive an average NPS score of 66.2% – far above the norm.
So, no doubt we’re on a rocky road economically, but the fundamentals remain strong.
Share your experience below. What makes a great agency?
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Andrew has specialised in B2B research for over a decade and co-founded Circle Research in 2006. He is a columnist for B2B Marketing Magazine, a regular contributor to Research Live and frequent speaker at leading events such as the B2B Leaders Forum, Customer Experience Live and the Social Media World Forum. Andrew is a Chartered Member of the MRS, teaches the MRS B2B research course and holds an MA in Psychology from Aberdeen University alongside an MSc in Marketing from Strathclyde University.