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Stingy, interfering clients frustrating digital and design agencies
It's been a decade since I worked in an agency, and back then we were unhappy doing increasingly in-depth pitches for free, loathed clients trying to muscle in on art direction and battled to get clients to accept the required fees. New findings in the latest Design Industry Voices report reveal not much has changed.
Things aren't rosy in the design industry's garden. Not only is staff turnover on the increase (58% plan to change jobs in the next 12 months), but clients are also tightening the squeeze on agencies.
The Design Industry Voices survey of 459 agency staff, including owners, account management, designers, and planners, found that 85% say clients expect more work for less money and 82% said clients have cut budgets.
Seven out of 10 say clients expect more work for pitches to be done free of charge, a bug-bear that has been around for a long time, but has recently become a more common client expectation.
A particularly infuriating trend is that clients, in an attempt to further stretch budgets, are interfering with the design process, leaving many designers indignant.
"In their incessant search for lower costs, clients have become yet more deluded in the misplaced faith they have in their own design ability," said one respondent. "Not content with doing their own job - rarely with any convincing skill or aptitude - they insist on doing mine too."
Another rightly points out that, unless clients respect the skills of the design professionals they have employed, they would not get the best out of their agency.
The Design Industry Voices 2012 report, by Fairley & Associates, Gabriele Skelton and On Pointe Marketing, can be read in full online (.pdf).
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