This year’s 2022 New Year Outlook Report appears to be all about the contrasts – particularly in some areas of spending expectations.

Last year brought an unwelcome helping of gloom and doom from marketers, as only 41% expected to see marketing spending “somewhat” or “significantly” increase in 2021.

As we now know, that turned out not to be the case – as we mentioned, organic growth soared last year, and per Forbes, “2021 Was A Record Year For Ad Spending, With More Growth Expected In 2022”

Which makes this year’s stat from responding marketers reason to cautiously celebrate.

68% of marketers said they expect marketing spend to increase somewhat to significantly in 2022. A 27-point increase over last year.

Looking to agencies, last year 58% believed their clients would “somewhat” or “significantly” increase spending, a level higher than agencies reported in each of the past 4 years.

Turns out they were onto something, and this year, 73% of agencies believe their clients will increase marketing spending somewhat to significantly.

Celebrating is a wonderful thing, but we mentioned caution above, and there are reasons to be cautious.

First, these responses are of course only plans cited by marketers and agencies. And COVID, as of this writing, will just not go away. Variants will play a part in these plans, and agencies and marketers will have to react accordingly, bobbing and weaving as they’ve done for over two years of this.

It is heartening, or at least interesting, to see marketers and agencies so aligned on a response (only 5% apart) – that’s a rarity.

So what does this mean for you, the marketer?

Your agency partners’ expectations are high.  Most agencies we talk with have had an unbelievably strong year, both in terms of sales and profits.  They’re anticipating another strong year in 2022.

You’ve fed them a lot of business and I’m sure they’ve certainly appreciated that.

What you need to keep an eye out for going into 2022 is quality of service and output.  Many agencies have struggled finding and keeping talent and some can barely keep up with the business they have, let alone find new business.  Make sure your firm is delivering consistently both in terms of the things you ask them to do and the quality of what they are giving to you.  Make sure the corners aren’t being cut and you’re getting the best out of them.

The other potential challenge for marketers is finding new agencies willing and able to help out if you’re looking for new talent.  Because 2021 was such a good year, we’re already seeing agencies turn down opportunities at a higher rate because they threshold/minimums are higher than they have been in the past.

If you’re looking for a new firm and need some help, let us know.  We offer a better way to find best-in-class agencies – for project work or full-on AOR assignments.  Happy to help!