RSW/AgencySearch is a no-cost way for marketers to find best-in-class agencies (of any type/size/location). Each week we post content about marketing agencies and marketers. We hope you find these helpful as you work to better your own business and agency relationships.

2023 was an interesting year for marketers and agencies for sure.

Not all felt the same thing. Some agencies and marketers had banner years. However many others struggled as marketers were forced to cut budgets and hold back in anticipation of who knows what…recession, inflation, consumer spending declines. Kind of yes to all of it, but not really. It certainly didn’t all materialize.

Certainly not nearly the way all the “pundits” and media predicted.

Personally, felt like it was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But regardless of whether or not it was real or not…the market felt it…and felt it a lot quicker than the ’08 recession.

Found this in a post on LinkedIn:

The 2008 crisis developed over a more extended period, with the first signs of trouble emerging in 2007, and the crisis reaching its peak in the fall of 2008. In contrast, the 2023 crisis has unfolded more rapidly, with bank failures and market turmoil occurring in quick succession, leaving less time for policymakers and market participants to respond and adapt.

Kind of sums up a lot of what many felt in 2023.

So I say, “Sayonara 2023!” and a big “Welcome to 2024!”.

Signs are pointing in the right direction. In our newest New Year Outlook survey to be released in just a couple of short weeks (check out last year’s New Year Outlook survey report), Lee McKnight, our VP Sales and Marketing points out a number of factors that point to a brighter 2024:

Economic Factors and Market Dynamics: The cautious yet optimistic outlook for 2024 on both sides is a response to lingering economic uncertainty. Agencies and marketers must factor in perceived economic indicators, consumer behavior changes, and market trends while planning their budgets, however, both took our survey in the first 3 weeks of November 2023, and as mentioned above, we need to factor in data from two late November/early December 2023 articles: Ad Market Expands For Fourth Consecutive, October Climbs 3.2%, and Brian Wieser Boosts Ad Outlooks Nearly A Percentage Point.

And results from the survey also highlight anticipation of a more promising outlook as we roll through this year.

These include:

57% of Marketers said they expect to see improvement/significantly better performance in 2024, versus 2023, and only 26% of Marketers expect a slight decline in 2024 compared to 2023.

And 79% of Agencies said they expect to see significantly better performance in 2024 and only 5% expect a slight decline in 2024 compared to 2023.

So that’s all good news for both marketers and agencies.

But while there are signs of expected improvement, Marketers do tell us that some of their biggest challenges haven’t changed.

Here is what Marketers told us they feel are their biggest challenges walking into 2024:

  • Achieving more with less budget
  • Competition
  • Narrowing channels, and making solid strategic decisions
  • Crowded social media
  • Learning how to adopt the right tech and AI to stay ahead of the competition
  • Maintaining relevance and influence in a shifting landscape. Being versatile and ingenuous enough to adapt quickly.
  • Economic uncertainty.
  • Cost efficiency across multiple channels.
  • Whether to build in-house marketing resources/in-house agency or outsource. Currently seeing big national clients like Nestle and Purell make significant cuts to in-house marketing resources and staff
  • Keeping up with all the new technologies
  • Connecting to the consumer as channels continue to be fragmented.
  • Potential changes to the digital landscape – AI impact on organic search, paid digital, velocity of publishing original content, etc
  • Cutting through all the noise about what they could be doing to make smart choices about what they actually must and will do
  • Ability to implement new technologies
  • Economic uncertainty leading to conservative marketing budgets
  • Fear
  • Budget for longer investment cycles
  • Determining how to get beyond the competitive “noise” and reach customers in meaningful ways that build brand affinity and convert to sales.

What we see is certainly issues related to spending and doing more with less…but we see the old standards like optimizing the use of new technologies, effectively targeting and building relationships with customers, breaking through competitive “noise”, and adapting quickly.

All things good marketing agencies can help their client do.

As noted in my last post, these challenges aren’t going away because you have less to spend.  Probably means you need to spend more – and take advantage of all of those that are cowering in “fear” (as one respondent noted above). Or if you aren’t going to spend more, make sure you have an agency that can be more adaptable, has proven to you they can stay ahead of the curve, and that they are full of good ideas and strategies to help move your business forward.

If you feel you’re lacking in your relationship with your marketing agency and feel you need to put yourself in a better position (whether that be building a new website, putting a new digital marketing program together, launching a new line of services or products), we can help you find the right agency to meet your specific needs – at no cost to you!

Give us a call 513-293-6785 or drop us a line ( Happy to discuss it with you.