Arrow highway

The Drum Agency Outlook Report: predicting a strong recovery in 2021

In a recent survey of the global agency community, The Drum found that 60% of marketing agencies surveyed forecast revenues to bounce back in 2021.

The Drum’s Agency Outlook Report aims to take the temperature of the industry going into the fourth quarter of what has been an exceptionally challenging year, and find out how confident agency leaders feel about the 12 months ahead.

Given the global financial climate, it is perhaps no surprise that 69% of those surveyed reported slightly or significantly reduced incomes. But 60% felt that their incomes would increase as they moved through the fourth quarter and into 2021.

Commenting on the key findings of the report, Crispin Porter and Bogusky managing director Helen James points to what she calls “a healthy ‘just get on with it’ attitude”, believing that a practical, positive mindset is the reason behind the optimism. “Agencies and our clients have retooled, moved out of response mode and in many ways adapted to the business implications of Covid-19,” she says.

Emil Bielski, managing director of Croud, also thinks agencies are well placed to turn things around. “The marketing and media industry is resilient, its people innovative and compassionate.” The values and skills needed to work in advertising are the same traits that will allow businesses to reinvent themselves and thrive.

There’s no denying that agencies have had to make adjustments – almost 70% said they had already changed or plan to change the services they offer to clients.

“Our new normal is a great opportunity to push out of your comfort zone, test and learn and take new approaches,” advises Jenny Stanley, managing director of Appetite Creative.

“My advice for those looking to bounce back from this year is – do not be afraid, take a few risks and try out new revenue streams. We’ve experienced a very different and far more positive trend this year. While April and May were challenging months, we’ve increased overall revenue this year. We will actually end the year with two of our best months to date.”

126 agencies from 31 different countries took part, representing a broad section of the agency sector industry. Most felt that clients would hold the key to future growth. Michel de Rijk, chief executive officer, Asia Pacific, of S4 Capital, says agencies need to be proactive in their dealings with brands. “Your clients are having the same challenges as you. This is the time to go to clients with solutions.”

Chief executive officer of international agency Dept, Dimi Albers, echoes that sentiment. “Hyper-focus on your client needs – where can you help them increase their top line or optimise their bottom line – and, if needed, tweak your services accordingly. Diversify your client portfolio as much as possible. And, last but not least, start hustling and don’t stop.”

This article was originally posted in