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Advertising industry reacts to Q2 2017 Bellwether Report

UK marketers have revised their internet budgets up to the greatest extent since Q3 2007, reveals the latest IPA Bellwether Report published on 19 July 2017.

With the release of the latest Bellwether Report, find out how the industry reacted here:

Says Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA: “The election result has thrown further uncertainty into an already volatile environment. It is inevitable that this has had a knock-on effect on UK plc. Specifically for marketers this has meant a desire, where possible, to seek out more activation driven advertising. As evidenced strongly in this latest Bellwether Report, this has resulted in a further move towards advertising in the digital space. While it is good to see spend up in internet, it is worth remembering that IPA studies have consistently shown that the most effective marketing results from a 60:40 brand building (emotional) to sales activation ratio (rational).”     

Says Paul Smith, Senior Economist at IHS Markit: “The Bellwether survey continues to perfectly encapsulate the present economic situation presiding in the UK. Current economic conditions are sufficiently strong enough to support higher sales and demand, encouraging firms to provide product support through ongoing marketing budget expansion. However, the uncertainty caused by Brexit and a surprising general election outcome are skewing risks to future growth broadly to the downside resulting in subdued financial prospects, both at the company and wider macro levels.”

Says Paul Reid, Founder & Managing Director, VCCP Media and chair of the IPA Search Group: "In uncertain times, consistent data sets like the IPA Bellwether survey become increasingly important in providing a valuable indication of the economic direction of travel.

The combination of internet budget increases at their highest since 2007 and search budgets revised up by the highest level in two and a half years reflects the uncertainty in the market and indicates a move by the marketing sector towards the perceived safe havens of more directly accountable channels”

Says Patrick Reid, CEO EMEA Imagination: “The Q2 report is a revealing one, with the changes to spend patterns showing how the recent clouds of economic uncertainty are beginning to impact. For many this is positive, and whilst this remains a challenging time for the industry, it is encouraging to see confidence within disciplines such as events and experience marketing continuing to grow. 

As Paul Bainsfair rightly says, the most effective marketing continues to result from a split in favour of emotional marketing.  At Imagination we know that only marketing that has an emotional heart, underpinned with smart strategic thinking can produce the meaningful commercial outcomes that brand marketers require. As we continue to navigate this challenging year I hope we shall continue to see an upward trend in this sector as more and more brands realise the potential of connecting experiences in order to create effective relationships with their consumers.”

Says Debbie Klein, CEO, Engine Europe and Asia Pacific: “An increasingly competitive marketplace means that brands are under pressure to break away from the pack and engage with audiences in newer, more innovative ways. And while the recent election and Brexit negotiations might be seen as threats to many brands, they also present agile marketers with a huge opportunity to engage with entirely new audiences.

“The significant rise in internet and digital spend this quarter reflects a long-term trend that those of us in the sector have been observing: people want to consume quick, informative and engaging content all from the comfort of their smartphone. Brands that fail to recognise this shift will struggle to connect with modern consumers.

“Perhaps the biggest and most important development over the past quarter has been the growing importance of data. The sheer amount of data that is currently available to marketers means that agencies and brands across all sectors need to get serious about investing in their data capabilities if they are to effectively target the right audience with the right messaging about the right product.”

Says James Goddard, Chief Executive, JJ Marketing: “While the report does capture a sense of caution and lagging confidence within the UK economy over the next couple of years, it suggests a more positive outlook in the longer term. Whether or not this come to fruition will, however, depend largely on what transpires in our negotiations to leave the EU, which is frankly impossible to predict with any certainty at this point. Given these circumstances, as well as the increased potential for further political upheaval in the UK to impact on the Brexit process, I think this is an encouraging report. The growth in overall marketing budgets seems to indicate that, despite the fact we are heading into unchartered waters, for most clients day to day life goes on.

“I’m not surprised to see an increased focus on digital marketing and advertising, where I expect there has been a particular spike in digital advertising activity, as well as PR which remains an important marketing channel for many clients. This underlines the on-going challenge for all marketeers to provide a flexible offering and ensure they are investing in the right skills and expertise to reach their key audiences.”

The Bellwether Report is researched and published by IHS Markit on behalf of the IPA. First published on the 17th July 2000, it features original data drawn from a panel of around 300 UK marketing professionals and provides a key indicator of the health of the economy. The 8-page 19 July edition is available to purchase from the IPA website for £99+VAT (IPA members) and £140+VAT (non-members) as an immediately downloadable PDF. To sign up for an annual subscription, or to request historical data, contact

Last updated 27/07/2017

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