While we’ve worked with advertising agencies and advertisers since 1992, our rigorous R&D ensures that our SOW workload metrics are always up to date. Our Scope of Work database includes over 6,000 unique briefs across all media types, from traditional advertising to direct marketing to the latest digital and social media initiatives.  Each brief in the database has a unique ScopeMetric® Unit (SMU) value. The sum of the SMU values from each deliverable in a SOW equals the total "workload value" or size of the SOW in ScopeMetric® Units.

These are some of the key measures that make up our ScopeMetric® system to help advertisers and agencies evaluate their staffing levels and productivity:

  • Number of SMUs in a Scope of Work (this defines the workload).  Each project in a SOW has an SMU value.  Typically, across a wide range of SOWs, involving originations and adaptations in a wide range of media, including traditional and digital / social media, there are as few as 2 projects per SMU to as many as 100+.  The number of projects in an SMU is an indicator of the typical "size" of the project in the SOW.
  • FTEs per SMU – the recommended agency staffing levels to efficiently and effectively manage and execute the Scope of Work. Staffing involves Client Service, Strategic Planning, Creative and Production.  An appropriate level varies from 0.5 to 0.7 FTEs per SMU in appropriately-staffed relationships. 
  • SMUs per creative per year – the recommended level of creative output per creative per year for optimal productivity and high creative quality. The recommended level averages between 4.1 to 5.0 SMUs per creative per year, although in practice, much higher levels of output per creative are being experienced due to inadequate fee levels for excessive SOW workloads.  Creative quality is very much at risk in these high output situations.
  • Price per SMU -- the price (fee divided by SMU workloads) that clients are paying for the agency's Scope of Work. Industry prices have declined from $435,000 per SMU (1992) to about $139,000 per SMU (2016) in constant dollars. This price pressure has led agencies to downsize and juniorize despite the increased complexity and volume of the work they are doing. Agencies should seek to maximize price per SMU by client as an indicator of the quality of their work and the results they are generating. 

If you'd like to learn more about our proprietary metrics and approach, please email us or give us a call at +1 (646) 666-7142.