Marketers rate outlook as grim

Marketers’ confidence and optimism has nose-dived, reflecting a forecast sharp slowdown in the growth of marketing, according to the latest Marketing Trends Survey from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

In stark contrast to the optimism recorded in the second half of last year (MW September 30), the survey shows growing insecurity among marketers about their businesses and prospects. The quarterly research questioned senior marketers.

At least 50 per cent of respondents say their current sales targets are “very challenging” or “unrealistic”, with nearly two-thirds of retail marketers believing that their targets are “very challenging”.

This negativity is reflected in marketers’ expectations about budget increases. According to the survey, UK businesses plan to increase their marketing spend by just 2.9 per cent in the next year – a significant decrease on the 4.9 per cent increase predicted in the last survey. The highest expenditure growth – three per cent – is expected in promotions and direct mail. Sponsorship is likely to fare the worst, with spend in this sector expected to fall by 0.2 per cent over the next year. No area of marketing spend is expected to grow at a faster rate than it did last year.

The prospects for employment are similarly bleak. Less than a third (31 per cent) of respondents say they are likely to increase the size of their marketing department in the next year. A significant nine per cent plan to reduce the number of staff.

CIM international chairman Paul Gostick says marketers can improve their prospects: “As budgets come under increased pressure, it is more important than ever for marketers to keep abreast of current thinking to ensure they continue to deliver maximum value.”

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