NEWS3 August 2009

Recession squeezing indies’ fees, says ICG


UK— One third of independent consultants have seen their fees per project decline, while 41% say they have reduced their daily charges in response to the recession.

A survey of over 200 members of the Independent Consultants Group (ICG) found more than half expecting a reduction in turnover and profits this year versus last. Thirty per cent envisioned no change.

ICG chairman Andrew Smith said the mixed picture was to be expected given that consultants “tend to be more concentrated on a specific sector or technique”.

“Some will be having a good time of it, some will be finding it tough,” he said.

Respondents to the survey were overwhelmingly of the view that clients were cutting back on research and marketing spend, with three-quarters experiencing longer waits for projects to be commissioned while half reported seeing more projects being cancelled.

But even with less work to go around only a fifth of independents say they are having to pitch more against agency competitors. Smith, meanwhile, said there was no indication that the state of the economy had made clients more likely to contract with agencies than independents.

“As a sector,” he said, “we feel we have a lot to offer. We have a good value proposition, with low overheads, and we think it is a very good time for clients to consider using independent consultants.”



15 years ago

I think that as a professional proposition ICG can't be matched. Individually, ICG members are as sound as you can get and collectively, we represent the largest, most experienced research agency in the country. By keeping in touch with each other, we self-select into syndicates of extraordinary skill which are tailored to clients' needs. We're immensely supportive of each other in terms of offering advice and non-competitive partnerships, there is an exceptional work ethic (ok, driven by the need to survive!) and financially, there has never been a better time for clients to tap into this resource.

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15 years ago

OK, I declare myself a member of the ICG but I agree wholeheartedly with Clare. I've worked hard in large agencies and cared about the work but I've cared a bit more as an independent when the quality of the work is so clearly associated with me. As consultants we have to specialise and through the ICG we can collaborate flexibly, offering a thoroughly professional, experienced, and expert team around the precise needs of a specific project. Offering that kind of value, the vast majority of us are going to emerge stronger from the recession.

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