Could there be a potential shift in the sphere of influence when it comes to the marketer-agency relationship?

The symbiotic advertising agency/marketer relationship has always been fraught with a certain level of division.  But as RSW’s 2022 New Year Outlook Report shows, marketers and agencies are miles apart when it comes to planned 2022 investments in their business on things like personnel, technology, R&D, and product development.

Landscape stock photograph of the Marble Canyon and the Colorado River as seen from the Navajo Bridge in Arizona USA just after sunset.

Last year COVID dampened enthusiasm for marketers’ spending.  It fell from 77% in 2020, down to 49% that planned to invest “somewhat” or “heavily “in their business in 2021.

Agencies similarly saw a drop from 86% in 2020 to 64% in 2021.

However, this year shows a stark contrast in the respective temperaments of marketers and agencies as it relates to 2022.

Just when we thought marketer enthusiasm couldn’t drop any lower, this year we hit an even lower point.  Only 21% of marketers saying they would “somewhat” or “significantly” increase spending on non-marketing activities in the new year.

The story is different for agencies. In contrast to marketers this year, 79% of agencies actually report they plan to invest in non-marketing activities “somewhat” or “heavily”. Last year only 64% of agencies felt this way.

The two are simply miles apart.

So, what does this mean for marketers and agencies in 2022?

Could this chasm in investment mean the beginning of a wholesale shift in the sphere of influence between marketers and agencies?

Agencies that invest more in their business could find themselves in a more dominant position relative to their marketing partners, with marketers relying on them even more than they do today.

It’s possible that because of marketers’ lower levels of investment in technology, personnel, and development, they will need their agency partners to help keep them ahead of the technology curve and fill in gaps where their own personnel are lacking.

2022 could prove a banner year for marketing service firms!