Spending on Marketing Is Not a Frivolous Luxury; Head of Research at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Mark Blayney Stuart, on the Positive Impact of Marketing in Changing Behaviour

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Blayney

IN what seems to be an age of austerity, government needs to tighten its purse strings - and hence the ban on "nonessential" advertising. There exists a misperception that marketing is frivolous; a luxury. However, a recent white paper from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has confirmed what marketers have always known: marketing is a cost-effective way to influence behaviour change. In short, government marketing, when done well, works.

The institute's research indicates that public awareness campaigns pay for themselves in terms of long-term savings from behaviour changes which save the taxpayer money, as well as improving quality of life for the individuals touched.

The consequence of this is that marketing has to justify its budget, and prove that it delivers results including, S of politics. The sorts of behaviour change that government marketing can effect are not always evident within an election cycle, perhaps not even within a decade.

For example, Change4Life, a campaign aimed at reducing obesity, was awarded a pounds 75m budget and has already seen 20% of mothers with young children make lifestyle changes as a result of the campaign.

Obesity is a pounds 4.2bn a year problem. …