New-busi­ness re­views fall steeply in first half of 2017

Campaign UK - - NEWS - By Si­mon Gwynn

The num­ber of com­pleted new­busi­ness pitches fell sharply in the first half of the year, thanks to a col­lapse in dig­i­tal, in­te­grated, di­rect and me­dia re­views, AAR’S lat­est New Busi­ness Pulse re­port shows.

While ad­ver­tis­ing ap­point­ments were down only 3.2%, across all dis­ci­plines to­tal com­pleted re­views fell by al­most a quar­ter. Dig­i­tal saw the steep­est de­cline, with the num­ber of ap­point­ments less than half of that in the first half of 2016.

AAR chief ex­ec­u­tive Kerry Glazer said the fig­ures re­flect a fluc­tu­at­ing mar­ket, with a busy first quar­ter for ad­ver­tis­ing, dur­ing which ap­point­ments were up by 9.4%. This was fol­lowed by a sec­ond quar­ter that was dis­rupted by a late Easter and the runup to the elec­tion, which reignited con­cerns about Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions.

But Glazer said the mo­ment had passed: “Things are back on track now, with the end of the sec­ond quar­ter see­ing an­other up­ward swing in the num­ber of new agency re­views be­ing an­nounced in some dis­ci­plines. We are pre­dict­ing that the over­all vol­ume of new-busi­ness re­views will match 2016 by the end of the third quar­ter.”

James Mur­phy, founder and group chief ex­ec­u­tive of Adam & EVE/DDB, said that while he had seen a drop in re­views, there has been op­por­tu­nity for or­ganic growth through new work from ex­ist­ing clients.

He said: “Clients are not just look­ing to cre­ate com­mu­ni­ca­tions – they’re look­ing for agency part­ners to cre­ate th­ese con­nected con­sumer jour­neys. That brings in a broad range of skills.”

Dig­i­tal pitches are be­com­ing a “rar­ity”, ac­cord­ing to Martin Jones, man­ag­ing part­ner at AAR, be­cause most pro­cesses now in­clude this as a com­po­nent. Mean­while, spe­cial­ist dig­i­tal com­po­nents – such as user ex­pe­ri­ence, de­sign and build, and dig­i­tal strat­egy – were in­creas­ingly be­ing han­dled in-house or be­ing de­liv­ered by spe­cial­ist con­sul­tan­cies as part of an over­all re­mit and were there­fore not go­ing out to pitch, he said.

Big­ger agen­cies are get­ting bet­ter at of­fer­ing in­te­grated ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to Tom Knox, chair­man at Mul­len­lowe Lon­don, and the idea that they couldn’t do dig­i­tal prop­erly was “be­com­ing old-fash­ioned”. But the un­cer­tain po­lit­i­cal cli­mate could be ac­cel­er­at­ing that trend, he added: “In times of un­cer­tainty, if you’ve got a good re­la­tion­ship, the best way to grow your busi­ness is or­ganic growth.”

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