Marketers’ optimism increases

Marketers are more positive than they were three months ago, but the majority are still adopting low-risk tactical strategies to deal with the downturn rather than maintaining investment in long-term brand building, according to a report by the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

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Optimism is growing but marketers warned to balance low-risk short term activity with long-term brand building.

The quarterly confidence monitor found 75 per cent of marketing departments are adopting low-risk strategies targeting organic growth within their existing customer base rather than developing new markets as companies adapt to the continued low growth environment.

Anne Godfrey, CEO of CIM raises concerns over the focus on “more predictable” short-term growth initiatives when most marketers rank innovation as the biggest opportunity for growth.

Nick Turner, partner in the Deloitte marketing and insight practice which carries out the report with CIM, agrees, suggesting “the pendulum has swung too far in favour of tactical activity”.

He says: “There is a clear paradox here between the growing optimism around business performance and the shift towards lower-risk and more tactical marketing strategies. There is always a need to balance delivery this year with long term growth.

“However, marketers’ confidence in their ability to measure short term response-driven marketing may be at the cost of less tangible long term brand building. There is a risk that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of these tactical activities and that strategic investment in brands and innovation is being placed on hold as too difficult to justify.”

CIM found that smaller business continue to be more upbeat than larger businesses with 45 per cent of SME’s more optimistic about the coming year compared with 35 per cent of larger organisations.

While the overall confidence score increased 1.5 points since October 2012, almost half (46 per cent) of marketers expect budgets to be flat in the coming quarter. More smaller business than large expect budgets to be increased wile 40 per cent of larger firms expect budgets to be reduced.

The report surveys 1,300 marketers to calculate a +/- 100 confidence score. Data is weighted to accurately represent the UK economy.

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