What clients want, and why they leave

 |  By: Steve Johnson In: Managing clients

A new survey, the latest SoDA Report, shows the state of the global agency-client relationship today. Below is a brief review of some highlights.

What clients want

It turns out that clients want most of all is strategy. It’s the number one reason they turn to agencies.

Their top priorities, in order, are:

  1. Strategic leadership.
  2. Marketing creativity.
  3. Customer-centric marketing.
  4. Process / project management.
  5. Expertise in emerging trends.
  6. Measurement / analytics.
  7. Technology capabilities.
  8. Product / service innovation.

It's certainly interesting to see that strategy is so dominant, even ahead of creativity and technology capabilities.

Why Clients Leave

It seems that most agencies (56%) tend to attribute client termination to client management changes. However clients say otherwise, putting that seventh on their list.

The actual reasons clients give for ending the relationship are:

  1. Pricing/value.
  2. Unhappiness with creative.
  3. Unhappiness with strategy.
  4. Unhappiness with project management.
  5. Agency understaffing or inexperience.

Agency hiring trends

Which digital skills do you hire most? And what is your mix between full-time employees and contractors? The survey included the following poll results for 2016 agency hiring:

Finally, the report asked clients about their budget projections for the year. The answer: digital budgets continue to thrive.

21% said that digital budgets were increasing over last year, and 34% said they were reallocating some existing budgets into digital.


The SoDA survey is released in May and December each year, this time in partnership with Forrester Research. http://www.thesodareport.com/#