Marketers markedly more positive on economy

The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s latest Marketing Trends Survey for Spring 2009 has revealed that many marketers believe the worst of the recession is over, although the rest of 2009 will remain extremely challenging.

The survey, conducted for The Institute by Ipsos MORI, reveals that the number of marketers who believe the UK economy will worsen in the next 12 months has halved to 34%, down from 70% in the Autumn 2008 survey. Likewise, those believing the UK economy will improve in the next 12 months has risen sharply to 26%, up from 11% in the Autumn 2008 survey.

When questioned about the prospects for their own organisation in the year ahead, more marketers believe business will improve (35%) than believe it will get worse (24%), reversing the decline in confidence seen in the previous four surveys.

However, marketers remain gloomy about the prospects for the rest of 2009. Almost three quarters (72%) of marketers surveyed said they did not think the UK economy would pull out of recession in 2009.

This is reflected in the all time low annual sales performance forecast for this financial year – a 0.7% increase – down from 3.1% in Autumn 2008 and down sharply from the 8.9% growth expected just two years ago.

As belts tighten, marketing spend is increasingly being focused on the activities that marketers believe deliver the best return on investment – CRM, PR and email marketing. In contrast, marketing spend on advertising (excluding online) is down 4.9%, reflecting the fact that 23% of those surveyed believed it delivers the worst return on investment.

Marketers remain concerned about their employment prospects, with a third (32%) worried about losing their job in the next 12 months, including 45% of those in the technology and telecoms sector. In addition, 18% of those who are self-employed are worried that the recession will cause them to close their business in the year ahead.

Commenting on the findings, David Thorp, director of research and information at The Chartered Institute of Marketing said: “Despite fears over the economy and job prospects for the rest of 2009, it is clear that we are turning a corner in marketers’ confidence about the future. For now, marketers are wisely concentrating their spend in the most effective activities, and as we move into 2010, I’m convinced this more professional approach will stand them in good stead when the economy recovers.”