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Big isn't always beautiful

It’s here.  The 2012 B2B Marcomms Agency Benchmark.

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 and some would say more important respect.

Big doesn’t always mean beautiful. So this year the Benchmark went a step further in its assessment of agency health. It 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 Benchmark. 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.

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