Six in 10 small businesses to freeze or slash marketing spend in 2023
Just under six in 10 small to medium businesses (SMBs) will freeze or cut their marketing spend in 2023.
A survey of more than 1,000 decision-makers at SMBs finds just 10% expect their marketing spend to increase in the next year, with the rest unsure about how their budget for the year will pan out.
Customer acquisition is a priority for the majority of SMBs. Over two-thirds (67%) of those surveyed cited acquiring customers as their main marketing priority for 2023.
When it comes to media channels, 32% report Facebook marketing will be part of their strategy in 2023, while 15% will focus on LinkedIn. However, despite TikTok having become a much bigger force in the advertising world, just 5% of SMBs say they will be looking to the platform to execute their marketing in the next year.
Perhaps unsurprisingly given the controversy around Elon Musk’s takeover, only 6% report they will be prioritising Twitter in the new year.
Meanwhile, just 1% will be focusing on SMS marketing, with 21% stating email marketing will be a priority in 2023.
Young marketers most concerned about burning out
Almost six in 10 (59%) young marketers are concerned about burnout, with this age group more stressed that other generations. Just under half (49%) 35- to 44-year-olds and 38% of 45- to 54-year-olds share the same concerns about burnout at work.
Overall, 52% of marketers fear burning out, and almost half (49%) are demanding changes to their working patterns to mitigate the stress they are under.
The survey by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) is based on the responses of 500 in-house and agency marketing professionals.
It also finds, six in 10 fear brands are likely to spend less money on marketing due to economic pressures in 2023. Meanwhile, 63% say they’d like to see higher salaries, and 43% are worried that the UK marketing industry will drop behind international competitors.
When it comes to mental health, 74% of surveyed marketers believe their employers now take mental health concerns more seriously since the beginning of the pandemic. Over half (57%) also report their company’s mental health initiatives have had a positive impact on their own wellbeing.
“As we head into a tough year, it is clear the marketing sector is driving change to boost the mental resilience of its workforce,” says CIM marketing director Natalie Spearing.
“The cost of living crisis and inflationary pressure will undoubtedly require many of us to tighten our belts, so marketing leaders must prioritise the wellbeing of their teams providing them with head-space to focus on customer needs.”
Global advertising growth to slow to 5.9% in 2023
Global advertising growth will slow to 5.9% in 2023, according to estimates from GroupM. It expects overall global advertising growth of 6.5% in 2022, which represents a significant downgrade from its June forecast of 8.4%.
The downgrade is largely due to the impact of lowered expectations for growth in China, it says. Although growth will slow it expects retail media and connected TV to experience strong gains. Growth in 2024 is forecast to rise to 6.2%, before returning to a trend of decelerating mid-single-digit growth until 2027.
TikTok’s advertising revenue is expected to have doubled in 2022, while its social media rivals have reported decreasing demand from advertisers this year.
The report adds TikTok’s success is likely one of the factors driving less advertiser demand for companies such as Meta and Snap, particularly since there isn’t as much of a notable drop at businesses where TikTok is less of a direct competitor, such as Microsoft.
The report says Twitter “remains an open question for many marketers because of the erratic product updates at the company and mercurial nature of new owner Elon Musk”. While advertising will likely be crucial for the success of Twitter going forward, it actually represents a very small slice of the digital advertising ecosystem. According to GroupM, the platform represented just 1.2% of all global digital ad revenue, excluding China, in 2021.
Majority of marketers say ROI is more important as budgets tighten
The vast majority of marketers (84%) believe return on investment (ROI) has become more important as businesses tighten their budgets in the current economic climate.
Despite pressures on budgets, half of the 100 in-house marketing professionals surveyed say they are willing to take more risks going into the new year. Almost two-thirds (63%) also say they intend to be more creative in 2023.
While marketers may want to be creative and take risks, 70% in the UK believe their ability to experiment is being restricted by the current macroeconomic environment.
Marketers are firmly of the belief that it’s important to invest more in marketing during a recession. Some 91% agree with this statement, with more than half (55%) strongly agreeing.
Customer experience is the part of marketing strategy that most marketers say will be remain crucial in 2023. Over three in four (76%) agree customer experience will remain an “essential” component of their strategy in 2023.
Four in ten marketers expect brand safety concerns to rise next year
Around 40% of marketers expect brand safety concerns to increase next year. Less than one in 10 expect their concerns to decrease, while 54% believe they will remain the same.
The findings come from Mediaocean, which surveyed more than 600 leaders from media providers, advertising agencies and tech companies. It also found social advertising, particularly short-form video, will capture more year-over-year spend increases in 2023 than any other channel, with 63% people selecting TikTok/social video as one of the top trends they will be watching going into 2023.
Connected TV or streaming was selected by 54% of people, followed by ecommerce everywhere (47%) as the top three consumers trends to watch next year.
The responses also indicate measurement is a big focus for marketers going into 2023. When asked which single tech innovation they think will be most impactful for their advertising in 2023, the top response was measurement improvements (27%), closely followed by improvements in integrated media planning and execution (21%).