New Year Outlook Survey: A Flip-Flop in Agency-Marketer Forecasts

Dusky Dolphin Backflip

A distinct flip-flop in Agency-Marketer forecasts appeared in the New Year Outlook Survey we recently completed.

Since 2011, in each annual RSW/US New Year Outlook Survey, we have asked these two questions:

  • Of Marketers: Thinking about the year ahead, how do you anticipate your marketing spending (across the board) will change, if at all (in comparison to this year)?


  • Of Agencies: Thinking about the year ahead, how do you anticipate YOUR CLIENTS’ marketing spending (across the board) will change, if at all (in comparison to this year)?


Every year since 2011, Agencies expressed expectations for their clients to increase marketing spending that exceed the forecasts Marketers give. By a lot.

Responses to the 2016 New Year Outlook Survey exhibit a marked flip-flop in Agency-Marketer Forecasts:

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After five years, the forecasts have completely reversed.

Have Agencies lost their optimism?  Are they out of touch with their clients’ plans?

It’s very possible that other industry trends underlie this role-reversal in expectations – such as the increase of project-based work and growth of in-house agencies to name just a couple.

The RSW/US New Year Outlook Survey Report discusses these developments.  Both are factors that could be obscuring the view of what’s really on the table from the Agency perspective.

Further posts will address these trends along with how to use them to your advantage in agency new business.


Mark is a 30-year veteran of the consumer packaged goods, advertising, and marketing service industry. Mark started his career at DDB Needham in Chicago prior to earning his MBA from the J.L. Kellogg Business School at Northwestern where he majored in Marketing and Economics. Prior to starting RSW/US in 2005, Mark was General Manager for AcuPOLL, a global research consultancy. Sneider worked in Marketing for S.C. Johnson and KAO Brands. Sneider has been invited to speak at numerous Agency events and network conferences domestically and internationally including the 4A’s, Magnet, NAMA, TAAN, and MCAN. Sneider has been featured in prominent industry publications including Adweek, Media Post, e-Marketer, and Forbes. When not working (which often seems like not often), Mark likes to run miles, go to church, and just chill with a hard copy issue of Fast Company.