Agency predictions for 2022

Agency predictions for 2022

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As thoughts of the holidays and new year celebrations fade, this is a good opportunity to look to the new year and our agency predictions for 2022. These are what we believe will be the big trends in the new year.

1. The pandemic is here to stay. Get used to it.

We have seen a few articles saying that they expect consumer spending to bounce back to post pandemic levels. That may be the case but with the omicron variant causing havoc all over the world, it’s clear that most consumer spending will continue to be online. Many large agencies and the big groups see the continued rise of e-commerce as an opportunity.

2. Remote working is the new normal

This is not just because of the pandemic but because of the talent shortages in the industry in general which we have spoken about before. Talent is more important than location and this trend is set to continue into 2022 and beyond. We don’t believe that 2022 will be the year when agencies will start to leverage talent across boarder but its just a matter of time.

3. Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

Teams are now made up of client, the agency, other suppliers and, in many cases, freelancers. These teams need to be able to work and collaborate on projects. Given the point above about remote working, these teams will not be physically together. Agencies have to have tools like Slack or WorkBook’s collaboration feature to be able to collaborate effectively with all their stakeholders. Emails will not cut it anymore.

4. The line between agencies and consultancies will be even more blurred.

This is one of “Forrester’s “Predictions 2022: Agencies” and who are we to disagree with them 😊. For example, Accenture Interactive hiring David Droga as its CEO is further signal, if we needed one that, that consultancies want to be more creative. At the same time, traditional agencies will be aggressively pursuing data-driven capabilities.

5. Innovation, not creativity will be the big differentiator

This is perhaps on of the more controversial agency predictions for 2022.  We saw in our last blog post that creativity is still alive and kicking in agencies. If fact, it seems as though 2021 was exceptional in the level of creativity shown by agencies. Unfortunately, creativity is no longer the big differentiator when it comes to clients selecting their agency. The whole pitch process kills creativity due to its structure so that the most creative agency does not always win.

Agencies that innovate their offers and help their clients innovate themselves will do very well in 2022. This is another example where agencies can compete with the consultancy firms. This also will elevate the agency to be a ‘real’ partner with its clients, not just a word that’s thrown around.

6. Clients will be even more demanding

2022 is a world cup year so the big brands will increase their marketing budgets for that. In conjunction with that we expect marketing budgets to increase BUT we believe that clients will continue to put pressure on agencies. Pitches will be as demanding as ever, you (or your agency) will be expected to justify the fees and provide evidence of spend.

In that vein, the trend away from fees/retainers to one off projects will continue.

7. In-housing will continue

We already spoke about one of the main threats to agencies (i.e., the consultancy firms). Another is the trend towards in-house agencies. This is another trend which Forrester has indicated will increase in 2022. That’s because some big agency names moved to clients and data shows that in house teams increased the number of projects during the pandemic.

8. “Traditional” agencies will become rarer

There is a saying, ‘evolve or die‘, and the ad industry is no exception.

We already see it in many of the agencies we work with today. They are unrecognizable from the type of agency that I left back in 2016. These agencies, have digital departments, they have tools and processes in to make them efficient, they have defined their KPI’s and report on them. Perhaps they are not truly representative of the ad industry as a whole since they are agencies that have decided to implement a web based ERP which prepares them for many of the things that we have spoken about above.

9. Many of the concerns in 2021 will be more so in 2022

Finally, this may seem obvious, but we are about to get some reports on the state of the industry and we suspect that they will report that many of 2021’s issues will continue to be relevant in 2022. For example, many of the following will be in the list:

  • Client Retention
  • Project Profitability
  • Resource Management
  • Over-servicing
  • Finding the right balance between creative freedom and project discipline

So there you have our agency predictions for 2022. Let’s see how accurate they are at the end of the year.

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