South Africa’s fifth wave study set for May

The fifth wave of the Agency Scope study is on track in South Africa, with fieldwork beginning in May 2023.

Source © Paul Skorupskas Unsplash The fifth wave of the Agency Scope study is on track in South Africa with fieldwork on the study beginning in May 2023

“Cesar Vacchiano, president and CEO of Scopen International, will be arriving in South Africa in February, ahead of fieldwork on the study beginning in May 2023,” says Johanna McDowell, Scopen partner and CEO of the Independent Agency Search & Selection Company IAS.

What will 2023 bring

She notes that the study is published every two years after in-depth meetings with the highest-level decision makers across marketing, communications and advertising, from the largest to the smallest spending marketers in South Africa.

“In interviewing over 3000 CMOs around the world, we’re excited to see what 2023 brings, given that it signals the tail-end of the pandemic and the so-called ‘new normal’,” she says.

“We worked around Covid19 to be greeted by a year of the war in Ukraine, scary governments across the globe, elections in many parts of the world, gas shortages, the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the longest serving monarch in Britain, climate crisis facts and load shedding. 2022 brought much for us to digest and learn from heading into 2023/24,” she adds.

McDowell highlights the conducting of face-to-face interviews again, after the previous fieldwork being conducted virtually. “A key objective next year will be to interview more marketing professionals from more companies.”

Ramping up Agency Scope’s evolution in SA

Another step in Agecny Scope’s evolution will be interviewing new profiles of key decision makers within the participant companies, encompassing leaders in digital, technology and innovation.

“These managers also hire and work with agencies and other partners,” says McDowell, “which will bring even greater depth to the value of data we collect.”

The fieldwork will also identify and include other profiles of client companies, over and above the usual investors in communications. In this section, the study will note start-ups, the sector and digital platforms that are working with agencies more than ever before.

“Numbers in this area may not be significant at this point,” she says, “but it’s certainly an area we need to be aware of to keep our finger on the pulse.”

Scopen 2023/24: South Africa's fifth wave study set for May

Best agency to work for

Lastly, among the additions to Agency Scope 2023/24, the study will amplify its sample of agency professionals interviewed, an important viewpoint to understand as they assist in determining which agencies are most attractive to work for.

“For the first time in the South African study, Agency Scope 2020/21 included the results of the best agency to work for. The success that this data found in the market is driving a broader study for the next,” she asserts.

Here, McDowell highlights the introduction at the tail-end of the last study of Scopen’s bespoke digital platform that provides a crisp, user-friendly screen to facilitate intelligent searches, broadening the scope of what can be quickly accessed from the data, categorized by choice of city, industry or even type of agency services required.

On its release in 2021, Vacchiano said the platform enables log-in, look and learn efficiency in finding client specifics that give subscribers a better understanding of how different types of companies think and make decisions about their agencies.

McDowell adds that going into the 2023/24 study, this data will be richer and even more valuable.

Agency Scope fieldwork calendar

Interviewers will hit the ground running in May 2023, with their tasks completed by the end of August. Analysis and processing will run through September and October, and reports will be presented from 23 October for a month.

One-on-one meetings with the agencies will be held in February, when Vacchiano arrives in the country and spends a week talking to subscribers. “We’ll be gathering the commentary of agencies around what they feel is important to glean from the study.”

Samples obtained in past editions

“Samples of the research from 2016, 2017, 2019 and 2021 show how this sector has grown from 191 respondents across marketing, creative and media professionals in 2016 to 465 in 2021, with media houses getting onboard,” says McDowell. Agency Scope will be aiming for 650 completed interviews in 2023.

“After much turbulence, we see 2023 as the opportunity for marketers and their agencies to steady the industry and apply innovations from the recent past, while continuing to seek new ways of collaborating and growing their businesses, based on robust data,” concludes Vacchiano.

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