More record-breaking bad news for UK marketers. The latest quarterly Bellwether survey published today by the IPA says marketing budgets have dropped for a fifth successive quarter, and fallen year-on-year for the first time in the survey's history.
Chris Williamson, Chief Economist at Markit and author of the report, said the results 'suggest there will be no quick return to growth for marketing spend', adding: 'The Bellwether shows an alarming rate of corporate retrenchment as the recession deepens, with spending on marketing being cut at a rate far greater than ever previously seen over the survey's history.'
Of the 300 companies surveyed, 75% believe financial prospects facing their industries have deteriorated compared to three months ago, and only 4% saw an improvement. Once again, one of the two categories hardest hit (along with main media advertising) was the 'all other' sub-sector to which the survey consigns MR along with PR and event sponsorship. Last quarter's report was itself – at the time - the worst on record, but at least saw growth in Internet and Internet search sectors. This quarter, even these saw reduced spend.
IPA President Moray MacLennan says the report indicates that 'adland in 2009 will be no place for the faint hearted. Confidence has plummeted and the data suggests a steep decline in GDP for Q1.' He adds, however: 'Nevertheless, given that marketing and creativity are the solution and not the problem, it will be interesting to see when the investment community starts to look favourably on those who maintain budgets and increase share of voice, as they are more likely to succeed in the future.'
The report is now available in two versions, full and two-page Topline. The IPA (Institute of Practitioners in Advertising) is online at www.ipa.co.uk .