Thin shafts of light pierce black mood

Our cover image this week might suggest that we at Marketing Week have spotted the green shoots of recovery and are calling the end of the recession. We’re not. This particular recession is as deep as it is wide and it’s clear to even to the most unseasoned observer that there is still a long way to go before full economic health is restored.

But what we are seeing, and documenting in the cover story on page 16, is that marketers are feeling more positive than they were six months ago.

You’re feeling more positive about the economy, about your businesses and about your own prospects. They are the broadest findings of the latest Marketing Trends Survey, which the Chartered Institute of Marketing has shared exclusively with Marketing Week.

But dig a little deeper into the analysis that feature writer Louise Jack has sought out and there are more revelations in there. Those working as marketers in businesses with a turnover of less than £1m are 50% more likely to hold the belief that the fortunes of their companies are going to improve than those working for a brand with a £100m-plus turnover.

..there is definitely a detectable upturn in sentiment

Elsewhere, a renewed confidence has arisen because marketers have resisted the temptation to panic and have instead adapted to the “new world economy”. Having calculated that some of the characteristics of this recession such as the trends in consumer behaviour that we’ve recently charted in this magazine will remain even after the gloom lifts, many of you say you have made necessary adjustments to the way you do business. Nearly half (47%) of marketers say they have changed their products, services or offerings with the figure even higher in the likes of retail and financial services.

What’s also interesting is your views on what will happen to the size of your marketing budgets in the coming year and where that money is going to be best placed to achieve your campaign and communication targets.

Nobody here is saying the good times are back or that business is booming. But there is definitely a detectable upturn in sentiment. Some of you it seems, would rather not use terms like “positive” just yet but you are saying you feel significantly less negative, which is a start. So, green shoots then? Nope. Not yet. Strong roots? A new sense of resilience? A willingness to change and adapt to the conditions with a view to securing future growth? It would appear so.

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