The CIM and Bloomberg’s Marketing Confidence Monitor found marketers’ confidence in their business performance is at its highest level since the report was first published in October 2012. Some 60 per cent of those polled have increased confidence in UK economic growth in the year ahead and the same amount believe consumer confidence is set to rise in the next six months too.
Just 41 per cent of marketers reported “above normal” levels of financial and economic uncertainty within their organisations, some 12 percentage points lowers than stated at the start of 2013.
Increased levels of positivity mean risk aversion “has taken a back seat”, the study said. Many businesses are heading into 2014 with “aggressive” growth ambitions, with 50 per cent of marketers saying growth now dominates the management agenda within their companies.
As a result, 42 per cent of marketers said they have noticed an increase in management buy-in and more appetite for investment in innovation and new business practices, products and people.
More than half of UK marketers expect an increase in the supply of marketing jobs in their sector over the coming year, and more than a quarter predict an increase in headcount within their own organisations during the same period.
The encouraging signs from the sector are still set against a challenging backdrop, however, as marketers continue to struggle to justify their budgets with a compelling, commercially grounded rationale.
More than a quarter of marketers (27 per cent) said they evaluate their campaigns only when time and capacity allows. This becomes an issue as almost half (45 per cent) of marketing plans are driven primarily by budgets, versus 37 per cent of marketers who say insight and analysis is the primary driver to that stage in their campaigns.
Collaboration with other business functions such as IT, HR and finance will be “pivotal” in order for marketers to drive growth in 2014, according to CIM associate director of research and insights Thomas Brown.
He adds: “As businesses look to ensure their readiness for a new year, we need to break out of this cycle of short-termism and look to elevate marketing investment with a view to driving growth, performance and more commercially-grounded business metrics. Marketing plans must align with core business strategy and collaboration with colleagues will only enhance more meaningful business performance.”
The quarterly CIM and Bloomberg Marketing Confidence Monitor is produced from a weighted survey of more than 1,000 UK marketing professionals.
It chimes with the most recent Bellwether report, published in October, which found the UK’s biggest brands had dramatically increased their marketing budgets as positive news about the economy made marketers more confident about the prospects for their companies and industries.