Marketers shrug off the credit crunch

The outlook of corporate marketers can prove a reliable gauge of how the economy is faring in that it often mirrors the wider conditions being experienced by the country.

But in spite of the tough economic climate, or perhaps because of it, marketers don’t believe that what’s in store for their outfit is the same as what’s in store for the UK.

When quizzed by the Chartered Institute of Marketing, “a surprisingly high” number of marketers said they were confident that their outfits will do more business over the next year.

The CIM added that 39% said they expected orders to pick up, marginally more (41%) said business will stay the same, and only 17% said their firm’s sales will slide.

Yet marketers’ confidence about their own lot is just that. When asked about the UK economy, more than one-third said it will fall into recession before the end of the year.

The most consensual result of the survey – almost six out of ten marketers agreed - was that the general economic condition of the UK will deteriorate over the next 12 months.

“Marketers remain confident about their own prospects, despite the end of the ‘nice’ decade,” reflected David Thorpe, a director at the CIM.

“This may be because today’s professional marketers know that they can help their organisations’ exploit the opportunities an economic downturn brings.

“By focusing on changing customer needs more precisely, in these challenging times, they can help their organisations to not only survive but thrive.”

In line with marketers’ optimism, the survey found that spending on marketing continues to rise, accounting for an average of 7.7% of an organisation’s turnover, up from 6.6 per cent in September 2007.

Where exactly their cash is not going seems clear according to figures soon to be released by Group M, the media-buying arm of marketing giant WPP, seen by the Daily Telegraph.

They reportedly show that £190m will be wiped off traditional media advertising budgets this year, in what will be the biggest downturn for TV, print and radio companies since 2001.

Advertising-spend on these mediums will slump 2 per cent to £10.1bn this year, compared to the still buoyant area of internet advertising, which is expected to balloon by 27% to £3.4bn.

Depending on which crystal-ball gazer you approach, internet advertising is expected to surpass television as the largest medium for advertisers either this year or the next.

But the gloomy outlook for traditional media is not because consumers are non-responsive to their campaigns, according to a recent study by US ad consultants Dynamic Logic.

After quizzing almost 1000 consumers, the firm found newspaper, TV and magazine adverts were the most relevant and generated the most positive responses.

More interruptive or intrusive formats, such as telemarketing, were the most frowned upon and least relevant to consumers, as were ads on mobile devices and in unsolicited emails.

Surprisingly, even when ranking on relevance, online search ads placed in the middle of the list - perhaps because not all consumers know that some of the search results they see are adverts.

And despite its ongoing buoyancy, online advertising fell slightly, compared to its ranking in the firm’s previous surveys, in terms of delivering consumers with relevant content.

“This may be in part because the internet still suffers from its history of the early days of online advertising, and people may still associate it with the annoyance of pop-ups and a cluttered media environment,” Dynamic Logic said.

According to the firm’s ‘Ad reaction’ survey, people perceive that the amount of Web ads is increasing: two thirds of respondents said that there are now more ads online than ever before.



17th June 2008

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