Improved mood for marketers

The latest Marketing Trends Survey from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) reveals an improved mood among Britain’s marketers. Nearly half (48%) of those questioned say they expect economic conditions to remain the same over the next 1

CIM survey shows marketers are confident of their company performance, however there are still questions over budgets, staffing levels, the implications of new technology and the ‘glass ceiling’

The latest Marketing Trends Survey from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) reveals an improved mood among Britain’s marketers. Nearly half (48%) of those questioned say they expect economic conditions to remain the same over the next 12 months, while 19% believe things will improve. Last autumn, just 45% said that the economy would remain stable while 13% claimed things were on the up, 40% thought we faced a downturn (MW October 27), but this figure has now fallen to 30%.

When it comes to their own future, marketers are confident that their companies will fare better than the wider economy. While 28% think the outlook remains the same for their own organisation, over half (54%) believe that conditions will improve.

Nearly a fifth say their sales are set to grow by between 6% and 10%, while 13% expect sales to be up by between 11% and 15% and another 16% are expecting sales to grow by 16% or more.

However, this optimistic outlook is not reflected in companies’ plans for employment. Although over a quarter say that they will be increasing the size of their marketing department,13% are planning to cut back on the number of staff. Worryingly, in the summer of 2004, 47% were planning to increase their department, and just 3% were predicting a reduction, and in summer 2005, nearly a third were planning to take on more staff, while 9% were expecting to shed jobs.

More than half of those surveyed said they found it hard to secure funding for marketing activities. The importance given to marketing within an organisation has declined slightly, with 59% saying it is a high priority within an organisation compared with 63% in the previous survey. Nearly a third of UK business spend between 1% and 2% of their turnover on marketing, excluding salaries. Exactly one quarter spend between 3% and 5% while 13% spend between 6% and 10%.

Advertising remains one of the heaviest lines on the marketing budget: 16% of respondents spend over 20% of their budget on this activity, while 12% spent 20% or more on CRM and 10% spent more than a fifth of their budget on PR.

However, just 13% of those in the survey say they will be upping their ad budget by 6% or more, compared with 24% who will increase their PR and lead generation budget by that amount and 26% for CRM. Unsurprisingly, online marketing is the area that is likely to see the biggest increases and nearly a third (29%) say they will be allocating an additional 6% or more to this activity.

Nine out of ten people agreed that in the future the pace of change within marketing will hot up. Over three quarters (77%) of respondents say that technology has made marketing more effective, but 69% say that it is also leading marketing in directions that customers perceive as intrusive.

Also of concern is the fact that well over half (56%) agree that technologies are moving ahead of marketers’ understanding of the ethical and moral dilemmas they can create; only 21% disagree.

Just over a third of those questioned (39%) agree that women find it harder to achieve senior positions than men. However, a similar number (32%) disagree. Perhaps unsurprisingly, only 24% of men thought women still find it more difficult to make it to the top, while 57% of women agreed with the statement.

Although companies appear to be a little more cautious than their employees, the outlook for the marketing community seems to brightening. Marketers, meantime, are eagerly eyeing media other than advertising, such as CRM, as effective means of communicating with consumers.

Paul Gostick, chairman, Chartered Institue of Marketing

The marketing profession is fast-moving and those who have the skills to adapt can thrive. This latest survey shows that marketers understand that the pace of change is accelerating and that it is increasingly important to keep abreast of new techniques, legislation and business processes. But too few organisations recognise that marketing is central to success. The number of businesses that consider marketing to be a high priority has slipped from over two-thirds (67%) in the winter 2005 report, to just over half today. Marketers need to talk the talk of the boardroom and focus on ways to demonstrate that marketing is not just about promotional pens and T-shirts but an essential business function that will bring positive results to any organisation’s bottom line.

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