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Bellwether reaction Q4 2015

Industry provides sector and regional reaction to Q4 Survey.

By Sector:

James Goddard Chief Executive JJ Marketing:

“It’s great Marketing executives are pointing to an upward revision in public relations marketing budgets in the last quarter. Even though the increase is small it’s important we remain confident in PR’s integral role in the marketing mix.”

Tom George, Chairman UK and Northern Europe EMEA, MEC and chair of the IPA Media Futures Group:

“The fourth quarter 2015 Bellwether report still presents an overall optimistic picture but with some potential warning signs – thirteen successive quarters of growth but with a deceleration in the forecast rate of increase to the lowest in three years. The situation for the main media and the internet still remains positive, however, at 1.1% and 6.9% respectively.

“Given the downward trend of the latest report, the pertinent question would seem to be whether or not the growth sentiment for both remains over optimistic? We would suggest not.  At GroupM, we have revised our 2016 forecasts upwards to 7.4% growth while the latest ZenithOptimedia forecasts take an even more bullish stance with a revision upwards to a 9.7% growth. Both GroupM and ZenithOptimedia cite a continued strong performance in television and the internet.  If these predictions are right, then growth across 2015 and 2016 would represent the best consecutive years’ performance over the last fifteen years.”

Paul Mead, Founder & Managing Director, VCCP Media and chair of the IPA Search Group:

"As we have often seen in past surveys internet advertising and search in particular bucks the trend of sluggish growth in overall marketing budgets." 

Paul Simonet, Creative Strategy Director, Imagination:

“The 9th consecutive quarter of growth for events, and the role of experience in many brand Christmas and New Year strategy is encouraging but the events and experiences sector needs to focus on long term connected experiences that integrate with all elements of brand communication.  Connected experiences are for the life of a brand…not just for Christmas.”

Direct Marketing
Liz Barnsdale, Managing Director, ais London:

“2015 was a year of evaluation for many Marketers. With an increased emphasis on cost effectiveness marketing budgets came under close scrutiny with 'more for less' being the brief in many organisations. Direct channels have been vulnerable to cuts as they can demand significant budget, against print, infrastructure and data. However, the continued development of tech platforms to support direct marketers also means costs can be reduced without activity suffering. So budget reduction in Direct doesn't necessarily mean a decline in investment in this area. Many organisations have seen budgets spread between opex and capex as organisations invest in the tech they need.

“But to future proof Direct activity we need to remain focused on accountability throughout 2016 and beyond. The rise of email has driven a culture of softer engagement metrics which has turned many direct marketers away from shouting about the tangible business results and ROI their channels deliver for the business. We need to get back to being smarter about demonstrating bottom line results to ensure ongoing investment and growth in this area.”

By Region:

Brian Coane IPA Chairman for Scotlandand Partner, Leith Agency:

"The latest Bellwether Report echoes what's happening in the Scottish market. The continued growth in online marketing reflects where IPA for Scotland member agencies are performing most strongly. Overall there's a measured optimism for 2016."

England & Wales 
Ben Quigley IPA Chairman England & Wales and Group Chief Executive, Everything Different:

“Growth is still growth. The slowing of marketing spend increases predicted in 2016 is an inevitable consequence of macroeconomic factors, but it is a real positive that in spite of this, 2016 is starting so positively around the whole of the UK’ said Ben Quigley, Chair IPA England and Wales.”

Andrew Wilson, IPA City Head for West Midlands and Chief Executive, WAA:

WAA chief Executive Andrew Wilson said:

"We saw the nervousness that was driven by last year's general election and there are still a lot of geopolitical factors fuelling similar reservations as we enter 2016.

"That said, companies seem far more determined not to be paralysed by factors beyond their control, and are therefore just being far more rigorous and selective about what they do. This can be seen from the figures, with internet marketing seeing strong upward revision as it has immediacy, fleet of foot and can be used very intelligently. 

"The role of a good agency now is to work with clients to look at the climate, identify potential curve balls and ensure that the creative thinking and recommendations take these factors into consideration, and are designed with foresight. Businesses will not accept 'it was a good campaign just the wrong timing' as the commercial realities have to be the first part of the thought process."

Last updated 18/01/2016

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