NEWS18 January 2010

‘No false dawn’ – Bellwether continues to point to rosier marketing outlook

Financials UK

UK— More quasi-good news from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Bellwether Report – UK marketing spend fell for the ninth quarter running in Q4 2009 but the rate of decline was the lowest for almost two years.

Of the 300 companies surveyed, 25% reported a reduction in marketing spend while 18% reported an increase – giving a net balance of -7% compared to -15% in Q3.

Internet, search and direct marketing budgets all saw a net increase, while media, sales promotion and the ‘all other’ category – including research, PR and sponsorship – saw net declines.

Despite the continuing budget cuts, the ‘all other’ category fared particularly well in comparison with previous quarters. In Q4, a net 4% of Bellwether companies were cutting spend in that area versus a net 24% of firms that reported trimming back in Q3.

With trend lines continuing to move in a positive direction, IPA president Rory Sutherland said: “These findings are welcome, in that they show that the picture painted by the last Bellwether Report was not a false dawn.”

The Q4 survey also pointed to the possibility of improved marketing spend this year, with preliminary data from roughly two-thirds of the Bellwether panel indicating that budgets have been set higher on average compared to actual spend in 2009.