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How have marketers fared in the lean years of the early Nineties? Marketing Week’s specially commissioned survey probes them on their personal lives

The average marketing director has less sex but takes more drugs than six years ago, drives a Vauxhall, doesn’t give to charity and would resign immediately if he or she won the National Lottery.

These are just some of the findings of the Marketers’ Lifestyle survey carried out for Marketing Week by lifestyle marketing specialist, NDL International and data-driven marketing consultancy Lovell Vass Boddey.

Six years ago, Marketing Week conducted the first survey into the habits of the UK marketing industry and we have returned to see if those findings still hold true.

The rationale behind the survey then as now was a desire to turn the tables on those who decide what the nation’s consumers will buy and to find out how the industry has fared during the lean years since 1989.

Chris Lovell, LVB managing director, says: “I’m afraid there is bad news for students studying marketing. Wages have been frozen and marketers are more likely to be on drugs than driving Porsches. We suffer long hours and stress,and we now have positive proof that the marketer’s lot is not a happy one.”

The age profile has altered significantly, with an obvious middle-aged spread developing. In 1995, nine per cent of marketers are aged between 18 and 24, compared with 11 per cent in 1989; 26 per cent between 25 and 29 (30 per cent); 40 per cent between 30 and 39 (32 per cent); 18 per cent between 40 and 49 (17 per cent); six per cent between 50 and 59 (seven per cent); and one per cent 60 or over.

An eight per cent rise in marketers in their thirties has enormous implications for the industry. While to an extent it matches the “greying” of the UK population as a whole, it also raises the question of where new blood is coming from.

Another area where major changes have occurred is in breakdown by gender. In 1989, 69 per cent of the marketing community was male, and 30 per cent female (one per cent couldn’t decide – obviously ahead of their time). In 1995, women make up 39 per cent of marketers, and men 61 per cent.

As might be expected, salaries have increased over the past six years, with 14 per cent earning more than 50,000, compared with eight per cent in 1989. Six per cent, however, earn less than 15,000. While the mean annual salary in 1989 was just over 26,000, by 1995 it had increased to about 29,000.

This time around, our survey appears not to have penetrated the smoke-filled rooms and corridors of power quite as well as it did in 1989. Six per cent of 1995 respondents classify themselves as chairman, ceo or managing director equivalent, compared with ten per cent last time.

Twenty-five per cent of respondents classify themselves as directors (20 per cent) and 46 per cent managerial level (47 per cent). The rest are sales executives, account executives, with a smattering of creatives. Enough of the worthy facts. The real bones of this sort of survey (as Cosmopolitan and other lifestyle magazines have so graphically illustrated over the years) are made up of those old stalwarts, sex, drugs and rock’n’roll. Or failing rock’n’roll, politic.Few should be shocked to discover that marketers have abandoned the Tory Party in droves, with many of them planning to vote Labour at the next election. More than half – 54 per cent – of respondents admit to having voted Conservative at the last election, with only 20 per cent supporting Labour and 18 per cent the Liberal Democrats. Now twice as many – 41 per cent – plan to vote Labour at the next election, with Conservative Party support falling by 17 per cent to 36.5 per cent, and only 13 per cent planning to support Paddy Ashdown’s Lib Dems.

Tony Blair, however, is not the sole reason for the stampede to Labour. It seems that John Major has not found favour with marketers.

A comparison with the political affiliation of respondents in 1989 shows that 60 per cent identified themselves as Conservative voters, 20 per cent as Alliance voters and only 11 per cent as Labour voters.

Marketers in general, although still a highly sexed group, enjoy making love less often than they did six years ago, perhaps because of the other demands upon their time. In 1995, 59 per cent claimed to have sex once a week or less, whereas in 1989 it was 52 per cent.

It is also significant that the number of celibate marketers has increased dramatically, with ten per cent saying they never have sex, compared with six per cent in 1989.

Furthermore, six years ago, eight per cent said they made love once a month: in 1995, the percentage has risen to 12 per cent.

Drug use, on the other hand, has increased since 1989. We provided a list of drugs – most of them illegal – and asked people to indicate which of them they, and their colleagues, had taken at work during the previous 12 months.

In 1989, 12 per cent of respondents admitted they had taken drugs at work in the previous year.

By 1995, the figure has doubled to 25 per cent, with marijuana and amphetamines -“speed” – accounting for the greater part of the increase.

In 1989, six per cent admitted to smoking marijuana at work: in 1995, the figure has doubled to 12 per cent. Four per cent of those who responded this time admit to using amphetamines at work, compared with only one per cent six years ago. Ecstasy was much less well known in 1989, but this year three per cent claim to have used it.

Given the increase in the use of drugs by our respondents, you might have expected to see a correlating rise in their knowledge of their colleagues drug-use habits at work.

Surprisingly, this is not the case. In 1989, our respondents said that 17 per cent of their colleagues had used drugs at work in the past 12 months: in this survey, the figure has risen, but only to 22 per cent.

Back in 1989, 58 per cent of respondents drank up to three units of alcohol a day (the equivalent of roughly one and a half pints of beer or three glasses of spirits or wine) with 15 per cent not drinking at all. In 1995, the number of non-drinkers has fallen to nine per cent, while 71 per cent claim to drink fewer than five units. The number of marketers smoking has fallen by a quarter, from 31 per cent in 1989 to 24.5 per cent today.

The amount people smoke seems to be significantly less as well, with only 12 per cent smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day, compared with 24 per cent in 1989. About a third of smokers (35 per cent) say they are smoking less heavily than they did a year ago. The number of respondents who are divorced in 1995 is just over five per cent, a surprisingly small increase on 1989’s four per cent. Indeed, marketers still seem relatively stable in their relationships, with 48 per cent married (1989: 51 per cent), 18 per cent cohabiting (18 per cent) and, 26 per cent single (26 per cent).

Children, as the media has observed in recent years, have become the style accessories of the Nineties. The marketing community, however, seems not to have taken this to heart: their style accessories are still their cars.

Nine out of ten (91 per cent) of those who responded to our 1995 survey have at least one car, with 63 per cent of them being provided by the company. Most marketers drive Vauxhalls (15.5 per cent), with 12 per cent driving Fords and 11.5 per cent driving Rovers. This is counter-balanced by the odd Ferrari and Lancia at the upper end.

But the more interesting responses came when we asked our captive marketers what make of car they would like to drive. One in five – 20 per cent – would rather be driving a BMW, while 15 per cent would like to be swanning around in a Mercedes, 7.5 per cent Jaguars and seven per cent Audis. Only 2.5 per cent wanted to be seen driving Vauxhalls, and even less – 1.7 per cent – to be spotted in a Ford.

Whatever car they drive, marketers drive fast. Just over half – 53 per cent – admitted that they exceed the speed limit frequently and another 40.5 per cent “fairly often”.

They don’t seem to get caught speeding, however, as 78 per cent claim to have no points on their driving licence; 14 per cent have between one and three points, five per cent between four and six and two per cent seven or more. Three respondents (0.3 per cent of the total) have been banned.

Two-thirds of respondents live within 20 miles of their workplace, with 63 per cent spending an hour or less commuting each day.

About 40 per cent spend at least one night a week away from home on business, while just over six per cent work in the office six or seven days a week. Three per cent claim to spend seven days a week working from home, while 67 per cent spend at least one day a week working from home and 12 per cent two days. Just under half of the respondents say they spend a five-day working week in the office, with another day working at home.

Very few – just five per cent – of the respondents work a seven-hour day, with 46 per cent claiming to spend eight or nine hours a day at work, 40 per cent ten or 11, and nine per cent 12 or more hours a day. No wonder drug use has increased.

The number of marketers who claim to have been sexually harassed at work is similar to that six years ago – 17 per cent in 1995 compared with 18 per cent in 1989.

In 1989, 38 per cent of women said they had been sexually harassed at work: in 1995, the figure has fallen, but only to 32 per cent. This compares with nine per cent of males being sexually harassed in 1989, and eight per cent in 1995. Three per cent of those women who have suffered sexual harassment say it was from other women, while 22 per cent of men say it was by other men.

Many marketers make sure they take their holidays: 21 per cent say they get between 20 and 24 days a year holiday entitlement, and take between 20 and 24 days, while 28 per cent say they get between 25 and 29 days and take their full quota. Others, though, are losing out on holiday entitlement, with 45 per cent saying they give up at least a week’s holiday a year.

Given how hard they work, it is a surprise that more marketers do not receive stress counselling.Six per cent say they have had counselling in the past 12 months, and 15 per cent say colleagues have had counselling.

Five per cent have high blood pressure, 22 per cent admit to being overweight, 24 per cent claim to suffer from tension, nine per cent from insomnia and one per cent from heart problems.

Two thirds of those who have some sort of medical problem believe it is related to stress

at work.

Half of all marketers have a portable phone while 22 per cent have a car phone. Most – 87 per cent – have a computer on their desk at work, but 12 per cent admit that they don’t know how to use it. Half of all companies are linked up to the Internet. A third of respondents have a PC at home, which they use for business purposes, 28 per cent have a laptop computer and 23 per cent have a fax machine at home.

How marketers find time to relax is anyone’s guess: but they do. A third say that jogging is their main form of relaxation, 31 per cent playing sport, and 35 per cent gardening. On the other hand, 47 per cent go to the pub, 55 per cent listen to music, 57 per cent read and 31 per cent cook.

Marketers are not particularly religious (5.5 per cent), nor are they interested in charities (6.5 per cent). Nearly twice as many (12 per cent) are members of the National Trust and ten per cent claim an interest in the environment.The least popular form of relaxation among marketers? Bingo – with only two respondents citing it as favourite leisure activity.

So there you have it: an up-to-date picture of the UK’s marketing community. They smoke less but they take more drugs; their working days are long, and advances in information technology mean that many of them can’t escape the office even when they are at home, or are driving in their Vauxhall Cavaliers.Lovell says: “We have problems and habits on a par with most of our professional peers. For those who thought we were all spoilt yuppies, I am sorry to disappoint but the facts speak for themselves.”

Finally if they won the National Lottery tomorrow, two-thirds would resign immediately, 54 respondents would punch their bosses, 51 say it wouldn’t change their lives at all, 56 would buy a football club and 36 would do all of the above.

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