Team performance improvements vary by category when it comes to client-agency relationships

Posted 29th May 2020

A new series of category reports reveal the potential for improvement compared with best in class for that category.

Analysis of more than 21,000 evaluations we’ve conducted over the past 20 years shows that the opportunity to improve team performance in the client-agency relationship varies by category, with the personal care category showing the greatest potential.

Our work also reveals that overall improvements in performance of up to 37 percent are possible merely through team behavioural change.

potential improvements in team performance

The category reports (click to download) also reveal how team performance improves with successive evaluations.

category reports on team performance

Benchmarks vs. gaps

By comparing the scores given by one party (e.g. the agency) of themselves and the score given by another party (the client) we can see the gap in perceptions of team performance.

In any relationship, if one partner rates themselves significantly better than the other, issues are on the horizon. Particularly so, if one thinks they are doing a great job!

The perception gap is important in evaluations as it pinpoints specifically where expectations and differences exist between the client and the agency. Small misinterpretations grow into large misunderstandings, which grow into erroneous stories, which ultimately erode trust, credibility and transparency, all of which negatively impact performance leading eventually to “divorce”.

As an example, the chart below shows the perception gap between Healthcare marketers and their agencies in the Healthcare category. After just two rounds of evaluations, the gap narrowed by 38% – much faster than our industry average and a very positive result.

At the same time, perception gap on client performance narrowed by a healthy 30%.

perception gaps in team performance

The Aprais category reports also provide advice on the specific areas for potential improvement in the relationship.

The example below shows how the top 10% clients in the Wine, Beer & Spirits

Category compare to the global average hence where there is opportunity for improvement.

areas of opportunity for improvement in team performance

Why this is important

The mere act of conducting a disciplined evaluation of the client-agency relationship can result in performance improvements. Aprais has robust statistical proof based on more than 18 million data-points.

It is also evident that ‘Good clients’ drive better performance from their agencies. Conversely, ‘bad clients’ extract below average performance from their agencies. In other words, clients get the agencies they deserve.

What’s more, an analysis of Effie Award Winners (read more here) indicates that better client-agency relationships deliver improved advertising quality. That translates into value for marketers and agencies.

Download our free guides; How-to-be-a-good-client and How-to-be-a-good-agency.