The latest Bellwether report by the IPA, a respected barometer of confidence in the industry, found “cautious optimism” within the industry budgets would be set higher over 2013. Elsewhere, more marketers than not are expecting improvements in the performance of their own companies.
Quarter four reported spend further lifted the mood with again, more than less increasing spending. Notably, although still heading south, the rate of decline in DM spending slowed.
Reason to believe the health of the industry will be more robust this year? Yes, but tempered with a huge slice of the cautious optimism pervasive in UK PLC for as long as anyone can remember.
The forecasted uplift for 2013 is the smallest seen since with only 2012 seeing a more downbeat start to the year, while marketers’ optimism about industry health does not match the sagacity demonstrated by those of their own companies. Over 29 per cent were more pessimistic compared with just 12 per cent more optimistic.
So, what can we learn from all of this? Essentially, the fog of uncertainty continues to hang over the marketing profession as densely as ever. The UK economic recovery continues to dangle by a thread and subsequently the reins, although a little looser than they were at the dawn of 2012, are still held very tightly by the finance departments.
It is therefore essential that all marketers – direct and all – should continue to make the case for the profession and the economic benefits it can bring to their companies and the UK economy. The recession or threat of a third should not become the framework for all marketing activity, not in terms of budget allocated or message communicated.
Marketers should not feel the need to apologise for needing money to build brands and grow businesses. They need to make the case loud and clear that it is not just an operating cost per sale to be meekly annotated at the bottom of an earnings statement but to be proudly displayed as a revenue driver.
The fight is being taken on. Later this month, the Advertising Association with Credos will unveil a study that lays bare the money than can be generated for the economy from investment in advertising. A really interesting read that you will be able to see more on in Marketing Week. Join with them and us on making the case for your profession.
The Marketing Week Engage Awards deadline has been extended. If you have used DM effectively and want to get your hard work recognised, click here to enter the DM category before 29 January 2013.