Technology and telecoms marketers optimistic on economy

The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s latest Marketing Trends Survey reveals that there is some sense among marketers working in the technology and telecoms sectors that the UK economy is firmly on the road to recovery with over six in ten (62%) saying that the economy will improve over the next 12 months. This is higher than the national average for marketers (52%) and over double the 29% recorded in the previous wave.

The views emerging from this ninth wave of The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s Marketing Trends Survey, conducted for the Institute by Ipsos MORI, show that when considering their own organisation’s prospects, views are also very bullish. Seven out of ten (70%) technology and telecoms marketers are most likely to say that business for their organisation will improve in the next 12 months compared with other sectors. Their views are therefore above the overall average (51%), and are noticeably improved from the figures in the previous wave (40%).

Similarly marketers in the sector are optimistic about their sales performance for this financial year with the mean sales performance for technology and telecoms organisations rising from +0.6% to +2.7%. This is again a more confident prediction than the national average figure of +1.9%.

Commenting on the findings, David Thorp, director of research and professional development at The Chartered Institute of Marketing said, “2010 will certainly be a challenging year for technology and telecoms sector marketers, with the slow progress of the economic recovery, the UK general election and an ever-growing presence of digital and social media. However it’s good to see that marketers in these sectors have an improved positive outlook and that they are responding to customer needs by modifying their products and services. For now, marketers are wisely concentrating their hard-won budgets in the most effective activities, and still see the need to invest in training. As we move further into the New Year, I’m convinced this more professional approach will stand them in good stead when the economy fully recovers.”

Marketing seen as high priority but reality of securing budgets still an issue for many: Almost two-thirds (62%) of marketers working in technology and telecoms companies feel that marketing is viewed as a ‘high priority’ within their company’s business strategy. This represents a reduction on the 68% found six months ago and is now broadly in line with the national average (60%).

However, securing budget for marketing activities within technology and telecoms companies continues to be challenging. In this sector, around half (55%) say they consider it to be “very” or “fairly” difficult to secure marketing budget, in line with the overall average (57%). Seven out of ten (71%) of those finding it difficult to secure a marketing budget believe that this is either wholly or partially due to the current economic climate. Around a third (32%) believe that marketing is bearing the brunt of cost-cutting measures in their organisation.
Not including salaries, an average of 5.6% of technology and telecoms organisations’ turnover is accounted for by their marketing spend, which is the lowest across all sectors and lower than the overall average (8.3%) and is unchanged from the last wave.

Marketers responding to changes in circumstances: Almost eight out of ten (77%) have seen a fundamental shift in their customers’ current behaviours and spending patterns and around half (49%) have had to change their product or service offering as a direct response to the current economic environment. Not all change has been negative and around two-fifths (41%) have seen opportunities opening up for their organisations.

Nearly three-quarters (71%) of marketers in this sector believe that business confidence will return in 2010 which is the highest level of confidence in any of the sectors and much higher than the national average (56%).

Worries about job losses easing a little: Concerns about job security are now no longer higher among technology and telecoms marketers. Close to a third (28%) say they are worried about losing their job over the next 12 months, in line with the average of 26%. Almost a fifth (18%) of technology and telecoms marketers who are self employed say that they are worried about their business closing in the next 12 months (although it should be noted that this is only based on a total of eleven responses).

Around half (54%) say that they envisage no changes in the number of marketing staff with around a quarter (23%) expecting a reduction in staff numbers (compared to 14% nationally) and a further quarter (24%) expecting the numbers of marketing staff to rise (compared to 18% nationally). Four-fifths (81%) of those expecting to see a reduction in marketing staff say that this is either wholly or partially due to the current economic climate, (although this is based on only 21 responses). This is slightly lower than the average (90%).