NEWS19 April 2010

Research, PR spend lags behind as Bellwether reports rise in marketing budgets

Financials UK

UK— Marketing spend was up for the first time in two-and-a-half years during the first quarter of 2010, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s Bellwether Report. But the ‘all other’ category, including market research spend, is lagging behind.


The delay and continued decline in ‘all other’ expenditure is not unexpected, however. Report author Chris Williamson, chief economist at financial information company Markit, said advertisers had taken advantage of the “very cheap rates” being offered in traditional media, particularly TV.

Investments in research projects, PR initiatives and events – the ‘all other’ category – don’t offer the same “discount incentive” at this time, said Williamson.

“There will be a lag,” he said, speaking to Research. “But given further improvement in the economy we will see more ad spend, and research budgets will increase on the back of that.”

Of the 300 companies surveyed for the Q1 Bellwether Report, 21% reported upwards revisions to their total marketing budgets versus 16% who had reduced spend, giving a net positive balance of 4.5%. This compares favourably to Q4 2009’s net balance of -7.2%.

By category, budgets were reported up in traditional media (net balance 3.1%) and internet and internet search ( 18.1% and 20.5% respectively). Sales promotion and direct marketing budgets were neutral, while a net 3.5% of companies reported downward revisions in the ‘all other’ category.

IPA president Rory Sutherland (pictured) said the findings signalled “a welcome change in sentiment compared to this time last year”.