Despite what it might have felt like for some new business teams, the total number of completed new business reviews in the first quarter of 2017 actually showed a decrease of 5.1% over the first quarter of 2016.

It should, however, be noted that these figures vary by discipline and only reflect where an appointment was made in the first quarter, and do not include ongoing reviews.

The true state of the new business market, is therefore only likely to become apparent as the year progresses.

In terms of specific disciplines, in Q1 2017 the changes versus the same period in 2016 were as follows:

Discipline % difference
Q12017 vs Q12016
Total (5.1)
Advertising 9.4
CRM/Direct Marketing (22.0)
Digital (20.8)
Integrated 6.5
Media (36.6)

Source: AARnewbizmoves.co.uk

As can be seen, the advertising and integrated disciplines were the only ones that showed an upturn in the first quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.

Advertising appointments were up 9.4% compared with Q1 of 2016 whilst integrated agency appointments remained at the same low value level as in previous years, although the figures were somewhat inflated by the Government frameworks’ desires to make more integrated appointments.

Media agency wins were also down versus the first quarter of 2016 but, as with the advertising market place, a number were still being contested, with results due in the second quarter.

Sectors

Perhaps unsurprisingly, retail clients made the most appointments in the first quarter of the year as they strove to find an edge which could differentiate themselves from their competitors. A few of the retailers who made appointments in the first three months of the year included B&M, Boots, KFC, Sainsbury’s (Tu) and Superdrug, all of whom appointed new agencies, whilst DixonsCarphone and Sainsbury’s/Argos consolidated their brands into one creative and one media agency respectively.

A short way behind retail in terms of the number of clients appointing were clients representing the equally competitive worlds of charities and food. Charities who changed agencies in the first quarter of the year included British Red Cross, RNIB and RNLI, whilst food brands Burtons, Danone and Mondelez (Philadelphia) were all in pitch mode.

In position 4 on the grid were financial services clients, perhaps unsurprising as there are probably more brands operating in that sector than any other. Financial services brands who appointed agencies included Bank of Scotland, Green Flag and HSBC.

In terms of overall numbers, alongside financial services brands, an equal number of alcoholic drinks and motoring brands took the plunge in the first quarter and appointed (or reappointed) new agencies. Brewers who reviewed included Heineken (Bulmers) and Molson Coors (Carling) while there were appointments made by a diverse range of clients operating in the motoring section including RAC, Uber and Vauxhall.

Overall in the first quarter of 2017, the sectors which provided agencies with the most opportunities were:

Rank Sector
1. Retail
2=. Charities
Food
3=. Alcoholic Drinks
Financial Services
Motoring
6. Travel
7=. Government
Lotteries and Betting
Telecommunications
10. Cosmetics and toiletries

Source: AARnewbizmoves.co.uk.

While it is clearly difficult to extrapolate any trends from this data, it is perhaps unsurprising that there appears to be a direct correlation between the commercial “competiveness” of the sector and the propensity to review. 

About The Author

Martin Jones

Managing Partner

Martin joined J. Walter Thompson in 1985, initially working in the agency’s Information Centre. He joined the New Business Department a year later and worked his way up, ultimately becoming New Business Director in 1991.

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