Marketing budgets rise as industry report finds slower growth

The latest IPA Bellwether Report has revealed that marketing budgets of UK private sector companies continued to be expanded during the final quarter of 2017.

The report, from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, reveals that whilst budgets have continued to grow, they have slowed to the lowest rate for nearly two years.

23.9% of marketing executives raised their budgets during the latest survey period, generally as part of efforts to support brands, aid the launch of new products or in response to greater competition. However, cost pressures led in some cases to budget realignments as part of wider company efforts to protect profitability.

There were reports of client caution and ongoing economic uncertainty weighing on sales, and these factors led to 15.2% of panellists reporting a cut to their total marketing budgets.

Although growth has weakened for a second successive quarter, marketing budgets have been continuously expanded since the end of 2012 and the data also shows that many business owners are planning on increasing their budgets across 2018/2019.

Michelle Wright, IPA City Head for Birmingham and West Midlands, and our Company Director, said: “The latest results are unsurprising given the current economic climate, but it is promising to see some growth forecasted for 2018, which is reflective of the importance brands place on maintaining share of voice in the market.”

She added: “In a climate of cautious spending, there is always an opportunity for brands to push forward and acquire market share. Campaigns need to be tailored and focussed in order to achieve maximum return for the budget spent, but the opportunities are there.

When looking at the different areas of marketing, Michelle added: “Unsurprisingly, digital is the best performing marketing sub category. When budgets are squeezed directors look for the channels that will bring the best results.

“It is digital’s relatively lower costs, combined with its clearer ROI measurements, that leads to higher investment during cautious times, and it’s also the reason we’re seeing more brands call on us for digital marketing here at Gough Bailey Wright.”