Glass half full: CIM reveals marketers optimistic for the future

Natalie Steers
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Perhaps it's because Spring is on its way, or perhaps it's the afterglow from their company's rendition of the Harlem Shake, but marketers are reportedly more optimistic about the future.

According to the latest Marketing Confidence Monitor from The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Deloitte, the overall confidence score increased by more than one and a half points since October 2012.

The survey of more than 1,300 UK marketing professionals showed 38% of respondents are more confident in their business’ ability to meet financial and growth targets this year compared to last year – as well as being more confident about the wider economic situation, job security, pay prospects and budget forecasts.

SMEs were shown to be more optimistic than medium and large-sized firms in all areas.

However, marketers were also shown to be cautious with their growing self-assurance with low-risk strategies: three quarters said that they would be targeting organic growth with existing customers whilst just 46% are focusing on new market entry or development.

Additionally, the survey found that nearly half of those surveyed (46%) expect marketing spending to remain unchanged over the next quarter whilst another 40% believe that spend will either rise or fall only marginally. 

The CIM attributed this to marketers’ concerns over wider economic performance with 54% of respondents anticipating declining consumer confidence over the next three months.

Anne Godfrey, chief executive of CIM, commented: “At the moment there is a cautious optimism in organisations’ ability to survive in this harsh climate, but the forecasted decline in consumer confidence is particularly worrying: we’ll be watching the next quarterly update of the index keenly to see whether today’s relatively positive outlook can be maintained.

“Marketing plays a crucial role in driving growth and performance, and marketers are uniquely positioned between the business and the customer. They understand how consumer confidence and business sentiment interact, and our study shows that times are clearly still very tough.”

Nick Turner, partner in the marketing and insight practice at Deloitte, added: “There is a clear paradox here between the growing optimism around business performance and the shift towards lower-risk and more tactical marketing strategies. 

“There is always a need to balance delivery this year with long term growth. However, marketers’ confidence in their ability to measure short term response-driven marketing may be at the cost of less tangible long term brand building. There is a risk that the pendulum has swung too far in favour of these tactical activities and that strategic investment in brands and innovation is being placed on hold as too difficult to justify.”

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