Marketing budgets revised modestly higher in Q1 2016
However, the rate of growth was modest as marketing executives remained under pressure to control spend at a time of deteriorating industry financial prospects.
While over a fifth of the survey panel (21%) recorded a rise in marketing budgets during the current quarter, 18% registered a reduction. The resulting net balance of +3.0% was better than the +0.5% seen at the end of last year.
However, it remained well down on levels seen throughout much of the preceding two-and-a-half years.
Sentiment about industry financial prospects dropped to the lowest since the start of 2013, (-6.5%) while optimism about respondents’ own company financial prospects slumped to the lowest level since late 2012 (+13.6%).
Greater use of internet and events came, however, at the cost of reduced spending elsewhere. Sales promotions (-8.4%) and direct marketing (-4.9%) both recorded sharp downward budget revisions.
Other marketing activities (-4.0%), PR (-4.0%) and market research (-3.1%) also registered falls. Main media advertising (+1.7%) enjoyed some modest growth.
In spite of a less-optimistic financial outlook, marketing executives are still upbeat about their own budgets for the coming accounting year.
A net balance of +23.3% of panellists are forecasting higher spend in 2016/17. ■