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Five key take-aways from the What Clients Think Report

The launch of the What Clients Think Report is always a highlight at the DBA. Now in its 8th year, the Report compiled by DBA Expert Jonathan Kirk of Up to the Light, in association with the DBA, is based on 600 client interviews. It provides fascinating insight into the thoughts and issues affecting a wide cross section of clients and their relationships with agencies.

The 2022 Report was launched recently in a DBA webinar with the results illustrating how the client/agency relationship has changed as the world emerges from the Covid pandemic. The report is packed with useful insights. My five key take-aways are:

1. Clarity

Your website is your shop window. Even if most of your new business comes through word-of-mouth, clients will still take a look at your website before making contact.

Their greatest frustration is not being able to quickly understand what the agency’s strengths are – what is the main thing you are good at and can add the most value in?

You need to clearly and concisely, without resorting to industry jargon, explain what you do and your point of difference from the thousands of other design agencies.

Here’s one way you can make your website work harder.

2. Lack of time

Clients are extremely time pressured.

  • 76% of clients complain of being extremely time pressured.
  • 89% say their market is moving faster than ever before.
  • 79% say they are unable to give as much consideration to longer term brand building as they would have liked.
  • 66% of clients stressed the need for short, sharp, and concise communications.
  • 44% of clients believe that there is less time for consideration and reflection.

But there are opportunities for agencies armed with this knowledge. Those with concise, clear communications illustrating how they can solve specific problems, can cut through.

Those who understand the client’s market and specific issues can help build longer term strategy into their solutions. By helping the client, rather than adding to the noise, the agency can become a valued partner.

3. Getting a foot in the door

Clients do not have time for speculative new business meetings. They want to feel like they have ‘discovered an agency’ rather than being sold to. Which begs the question – how does an agency make sure they are the one that is discovered? Content marketing is the key – to draw clients towards you. But it needs to be relevant, insightful, authentic and real.

The top 3 new business door openers are:

  • Primary research
  • Understanding of a strategic issue
  • Definitive case study

And through all of this remember that 90% of clients believe that the best agency new business approaches are like an ‘informed discussion’.

4. Client servicing will usually be the reason for the relationship breaking down

87% of clients with a weak relationship with their agency cited client service issues as the reason. Agencies which work hard on developing clear and concise reporting methods to keep their clients informed on progress have an advantage.

5. There are always ways to improve

The report asked clients which area of their business they wished their agency knew more about. The results give agencies an idea of the questions they need to ask and the skills they need to develop to really become valued partners with their clients.

  • Commercial realities – understanding the client’s priorities and pressures.
  • Operations – how does the business work and what are their challenges.
  • Internal – stakeholders, approval process and how decisions get made.

Download the Report and watch the webinar recording

DBA members can watch a recording of the What Clients Think Report launch, delving into the report’s findings.

Access the DBA webinar recording here


Download your copy of the 2022 What Clients Think Report produced by Up to the Light in association with the DBA. 


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