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Clients want digital but agencies aren't delivering?

It’s October, the month of All Hallow’s Eve. But thankfully there are no horror stories lurking in the findings of part one of our B2B Agencies Benchmarking Report. Part one analyses the relationship ups and downs marketers have with their agencies.

This isn’t an all-out whinge-fest, we look at how many agencies clients use and why, how agencies are chosen, how much budget is spent on agencies now and in the future and where agencies perform well and not so well. It’s the latter point that intrigued me, one of the skills found lacking was ‘digital expertise’.

Whenever I go out and speak with agencies they can’t wait to tell me how clued up they are on ‘digital’ and how tough it is convincing their B2B clients to follow their lead. I receive press releases singing the praises of their various digital credentials on a regular basis.

So where does this apparent discrepancy come from? Are B2B agencies faking their digital skills? Are B2B clients out-digitalising their agencies? No. Perhaps the answer lies in another area agencies are under-performing in; sector specific expertise. Marketers feel their agencies need to improve on sector expertise, and if they don’t believe their agency is proficient in the area they work in, they won’t have the trust required to venture out into the digital world with that agency.

B2B products, services and buying cycles are complicated, transactions are usually high-value and if there’s anything that could jeopardise that, chances are marketers won’t take the risk. So once agencies can demonstrate increased sector specific expertise, clients will trust them to go digital with their campaigns. This would result in more B2B brands utilising updated marketing techniques (hooray) and agencies would no longer be tarred with a lack of digital expertise. Well that’s my theory. Read the feature and let me in on yours.

Next month we’ll reveal our annual league table of the top B2B agencies.