In association with the DBA, Up to the Light conducted telephone interviews with 455 design clients to produce the What Clients Think 2017 report.

Interesting read. Here are some things that stood out.

44% of clients believe that their design agency should ask more questions.

“Asking questions is a good habit. Agencies frequently ask lots of questions at the beginning of a relationship but this is sometimes not sustained. Continued questions show interest and enthusiasm. The knowledge gained can also stimulate proactive ideas and effective client development.”

Most clients look at portfolio case studies seeking the answers to strategic questions, rather than wanting a general impression of agency flair and creativity. 57% of clients think that case studies on agency websites lack business context, and 64% want case studies to be more helpful.

Clients field an average of 17 new business approaches every day from agencies of different design disciplines, an increase on last year. 81% of clients like to “discover” a new agency rather than feel sold to, so there needs to be a shift away from credentials-based selling toward knowledge sharing.

Many clients expressed cynicism about “full service” agencies and would prefer honesty about core competencies. Some clients also thought the word “storytelling” was trite, mostly through overuse.

96% of clients don’t follow any design agency on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, but 97% of clients use LinkedIn.

70% of clients expect designers to pitch for free. (I’ll just put this here: why are designers still expected to work for free?)

Agencies that haven’t met the client face-to-face before a pitch presentation only have an 8% chance of winning the business.

On the plus side, one of the biggest client concerns was the need to stand out:

“A consequence of increased competition, ‘noisy’ markets and less attentive customers is that it becomes more challenging for brands to stand out. As ever, agency ‘creativity’ has an important role to play.”

The report’s free to download from Up to the Light.

Via DesignWeek.