Most marketers expect budgets to grow in 2023
Most marketers (53%) expect their budgets to increase over the next year, while more than half (59%) enjoyed a rise in spending over the past 12 months.
According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s CMO 75 report, marketers predict budgets will rise by a median of 11% to 20% in 2023, lower than the 21% to 30% achieved in 2022. The cost of living crisis (29%), the challenge of attracting and retaining customers (25%) and changing consumer behaviour (11%) are cited as the key reasons for this change.
Less than one in five (18%) of marketers had their budgets cut in 2022.
The poll of senior marketers across 75 UK and global brands recorded a two point rise in confidence for the industry in 2023, despite confidence in the prospects for the UK economy falling 16 points against last year’s index. The rise was five points for those working at international brands, as hopes of domestic growth lagged behind global expectations.
Just over half (53%) of marketers believe the industry is stronger than it was during the pandemic, up slightly from 52% last year. Just 27% of marketers think the sector is weaker than it was pre-pandemic versus 20% in 2021.
However, 73% of marketers are concerned about skills shortages, followed by recruitment (72%) and staff retention (61%). The data suggests CMOs are “investing in themselves” by seeking training in data analysis, digital marketing and management skills.
The CIM draws a link between the importance placed on data analysis and the challenge of ensuring effective governance of social and digital marketing. Two thirds (64%) of marketers feel there is too little regulation of social media, while more than half (56%) suggest it is their responsibility to protect clients and customers on social platforms. This is slightly more pronounced among brand marketers (57%) than their agency peers (54%).
Marketers concerned about financial implications of taking time off
More than four in 10 (43%) of those working in the marketing and PR industry are worried about the financial implications of taking time off.
This is lower than the national figure, which shows 52% of UK employees are worried about the financial implications of taking time off due to physical or mental illness. In the hospitality and leisure, health and retail sectors, more than six in 10 employees are concerned about being absent.
While those working in marketing may be less concerned about the financial implications of time off than in other sectors, the research suggests half of marketing, PR and sales employees continue to work when they are physically ill. Of the job sectors surveyed, this is the third-highest proportion of employees who report working when physically ill, after those in medical and health service (63%) and legal (56%) sectors.
Over four in 10 (44%) working in the marketing and PR industry report working through a mental health condition, the second-highest of any industry after those working in medicine. This is also considerably higher than the national figure of 36%.
The research from wellbeing and performance business GoodShape, carried out in conjunction with YouGov also finds a significant gender and age gap between how employees treat working and illness. Over half of women (53%) surveyed kept on working while experiencing a physical health condition compared to just 39% of male employees. Workers under 35 are also most likely to continue working while physically ill, with 55% of this age group reporting they do this, compared to just 34% of those over 55.
UK price inflation eases to 10.7%
Price rises slowed in November as the UK inflation rate dropped to 10.7%, down from 11.1% in October. However, the cost of living remains at a near 40-year high.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the slowdown was primarily driven by falling fuel prices, which reached record highs earlier this year.
However, rising prices in restaurants, cafes and pubs offset some of the relief and made the largest contribution towards driving inflation up.
The inflation rate for restaurants and hotels was 10.2% in the 12 months to November 2022, an increase from 9.6% in October. This represents the highest rate since the ONS’s constructed historical estimate of 10.5% in December 1991.
Price rises for food and non-alcoholic beverages increased slightly in November to 16.5%, from 16.4% in October. According to modelled estimates from the ONS, this figure was last higher in September 1977, when it was estimated to be 17.6%. November 2022 represents the sixteenth consecutive month of inflation in food prices.
Source: Office for National Statistics (ONS)
Poor internal communication is on the rise, according to senior marketers
Poor internal communication is rising across the industry, according to new research from the Data and Marketing Association (DMA). In a recent survey of more than 300 senior UK marketers, 33% lament the impact of poor internal communication. The percentage of marketers struggling with this challenge has risen by 7% from 2021.
However, the most significant problem for senior marketers is their limited budgets, with 47% stating it as their biggest challenge. This has dropped by 8% from last year, with a lack of data rising as a challenge with 46% of marketers stating it.
The survey also highlights the number of marketers suffering when it comes to a lack of training. The number of marketers in receipt of industry-specific training has declined by 10% to 58% in the last year, according to the DMA.
“With the upcoming changes to UK GDPR, we’re entering a new phase of data privacy regulation, likely requiring additional learning and training simply to keep up-to-date. Therefore, it is becoming increasingly integral for marketers to be well-versed in best practice of data acquisition, storage, and usage,” says the DMA’s director of insight, Ian Gibbs.
British consumers want brands to reassure them
Almost half (45%) of British consumers want to hear reassuring messages from brands going into 2023. This represents an 11.4-point increase from last year’s figure, suggesting reassurance from brands is rising up the agenda for consumers as the cost of living crisis intensifies.
However, a higher proportion of consumers (49%) want to see humorous messages from brands in 2023, suggesting there is room for light-heartedness even amid a tough economic environment.
Consumers expect brands to take a stance, with less than one in five (16%) of British consumers believing brands shouldn’t address political or societal issues. Poverty and inequality (45%) is the top issue which consumers want brands to address and is up 11.4 points from last year, followed by climate change (41%), racism (31%) and animal welfare (28%).
The research finds that the overwhelming worry for British consumers going into 2023 is unaffordable energy bills (59%), followed far behind by the war in Ukraine (7%) and increases in petrol prices (6%).
Consumerism is also set to become less popular going into the new year, with 40% of consumers reporting they are buying fewer things and consuming less, an 8.5-point increase from last year.