THIS REPORT HIGHLIGHTS A REAL NEED ON AGENCY AND CLIENT SIDES TO FORGE SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BUILT ON GENUINE PARTNERSHIP
By Rufus Leonard
BIMA has announced the launch of its Digital Leaders’ Network with a study that uncovers the true state of digital in post lockdown Britain. Laurence Parkes, CEO at Rufus Leonard, was named Founder and Chair of the new collaborative group. This appointment follows the popular BIMA roundtable series, led by Parkes, which helped business leaders navigate the immediate impact of coronavirus. The network’s first study focused on the experiences of digital agencies and their clients during the pandemic and found a hugely varied picture, with some businesses suffering major hardship while others are managing relatively well.
Natalie Gross, Co-Chair of BIMA said: “This report highlights a real need on agency and client sides to forge something new, something built on genuine partnership that helps all parties deal with uncertainty and strategic change. At the same time, it shows that agencies need to manage their own cultural shift, meeting the challenge of more homeworking to ensure they can continue to enable teams to innovate and individuals to excel. At BIMA, we need to help that process by helping the industry look forward and reboot.”
The announcement of four new BIMA Peer Network Groups forms part of that support. As well as a Digital Leaders’ Network, BIMA introduce groups for HR, New Business and Client Services/Project Management. Each Peer Network Group will comprise of experts in their respective fields, who will meet regularly to explore key issues, find solutions and issue advice and guidance.
“BIMA has always been a community of communities,” explained Gross. “At a time when many of our members need fresh thinking and new ideas to help keep them afloat, our new networks are going to be an invaluable source of support.”
The State of the Digital Industry report
On the State of the Digital Industry report Laurence Parkes comments, “One factor that appears to distinguish those managing the current situation best is scale. Bigger organisations clearly have a greater security buffer – but this study shows small and mid-sized agencies and clients are feeling particularly exposed right now.” The findings emphasize the conflicted picture:
27% of agencies have or expect to make redundancies, yet 44% are recruiting
41% of agencies expect to hit their revenue targets, yet 41% also expect revenues to drop by up to 25%
18% of agencies anticipate a revenue drop of more than 50%
38% of clients have seen revenues reduced to 75% or less, yet 26% have seen them rise
49% of clients expect redundancies but there’s deep uncertainty about how many
While impact on revenues at client organisations has been varied, 44% of clients have slashed marketing and digital budgets by more than half, yet three times more clients would pick an agency that could show ROI than one that was 10% cheaper.
The report also looked at how agencies and clients could better manage the uncertainty and insecurity together. “Communication between client and partner is more important than ever,” explained Parkes. “We’re seeing huge amounts of strategic change happening in both agencies and with clients, and that means clients need fewer but better external partners to help them with fundamental business-driving activities (like performance marketing) and a few focused strategic projects.”
He explained what agencies could do to win business. “Helpful agency partners should focus on ROI rather than low prices. They should show they understand client cultural challenges and help ease them. And they should be a safe pair of hands, delivering exactly what the client needs. For clients, they should look for genuine partners, not suppliers, because they need an agency that cares about delivering results, and cares about understanding the business.”
The full BIMA State of the Digital Industry report can be downloaded here.
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