Fall in marketing spending slows

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Cuts in marketing may at last be bottoming out as companies’ confidence in their financial prospects improves, according to a new report.

The Bellwether survey, published on Monday by the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, showed that spending on marketing activities by a sample of about 300 companies fell for the eighth quarter in a row in the third quarter, but at the slowest rate in more than a year.

The survey, done in conjunction with BDO, consultants, tracks spending on marketing categories including internet advertising, traditional media advertising, public relations and sponsorship.

Among the companies surveyed, spending on internet advertising rose for the first time since the first half of 2008. PR, sponsorship and events saw the steepest cuts, but traditional media advertising saw the smallest reduction in six quarters.

The most bullish sectors were retail, entertainment and travel, which all saw increases, while financial services and IT saw the steepest falls.

“Although marketing spend is still falling, this latest Bellwether is an encouraging sign that budget cutting is slowing,” said Rory Sutherland, IPA president.

Marketing executives indicated the strongest degree of optimism about financial prospects since the end of 2006, with 47 per cent reporting improved prospects and 17 per cent worsening prospects. Marketing budgets were trimmed by 28 per cent of companies, against 13 per cent reporting an increase.

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