The New Role for Agencies in 2020

BY Rachel Cagle
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There are four big categories of marketing spend (media, labor, agency and marketing technology) and every one of them experienced change last year, according to a CMO spending survey by Gartner. These changes mean that there will be a new role for agencies going forward.


One of the biggest changes was the rise of media budget allocation from 23% in 2018 to 26% in 2019. Digital ad spending makes up approximately 16% of total marketing budgets and was broken out as such in 2019:

  • Social: 23.7% of the average company’s marketing budget
  • Display: 20%
  • Video: 19.6%
  • Affiliate/​Co-​Op: 19.2%
  • Amazon: 17%

It’s unlikely that digital ad spend will remain stagnant this year and beyond. In fact, 78% of marketing leaders plan to increase their digital ad spend in 2020. In comparison, only 16% of marketers plan to increase their offline advertising spend.


More company marketing leaders would like to bring more advertising work in-​house. As a result, the agency portion of marketing budgets has fallen from 23% to 22%. That’s not a big difference. Gartner says that marketers are dragging their feet to change because, “agencies continue to deliver value. They provide skills and capabilities that marketing organizations have not yet been able to develop.”

However, how companies would like to utilize agencies going forward is changing. More companies are hiring agencies for tasks such as digital transformation program execution and strategy development. The shifting need for strategy over media is good for agencies because that is longer term work. Agencies will have to be open to collaboration in this area, though, because in-​house marketing teams will also want a say when planning a company’s next step in advertising.

The best advertising strategies are backed with market insights. On AdMall by SalesFuel you can run a digital audit on your client’s company to see how their outreach is faring against their competition. Or you can check out AudienceSCAN to view profiles on your client’s target audience to discover which types of marketing outreach they prefer and are most receptive to.