Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Keep Spend Up, or Suffer the Drop

Magazine article Marketing

Raymond Snoddy on Media: Keep Spend Up, or Suffer the Drop

Article excerpt

The lead sheep with the bell round its neck is always worth paying attention to, and this time is no exception.

The IPA's first-quarter Bellwether survey of marketing spend, published this week, contains predictably gloomy news. For Q2, running budgets have, on average, been revised downwards and initial budget setting for 2008 is also heading south.

Forget the Olympic effect - with or without Tibet demonstrations - if this were a report on the general economy, it would be time to officially declare a recession, which is defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth.

Naturally, the great and the good of the marketing world have been whistling to keep up their spirits amid the gloomy talk.

For Aegis chief executive Robert Lerwill, the important thing is not to lose sight of the fact that overall marketing spend will rise this year compared with last. Yet he stresses the importance of 'keeping a very watchful eye on our clients' spending for any signs of change'. Bonuses and jobs will depend on it.

Anthony Wreford, European president of DAS, likewise expresses little surprise that the reported levels of pessimism will 'inevitably have damaged confidence'. A tactical market will be the result, as companies keep a close watch on sales figures.

Yet isn't there something you are supposed to do when confidence and sales fall, rather than be mesmerised by the gloomy news? Aren't you supposed to market your way out of trouble by using advertising to stimulate demand, or is that too Keynesian an approach for modern tastes?

Should we simply stand back and watch, and allow the excesses of the financial services sector to run riot in the real economy?

Luckily Moray MacLennan, IPA president and European chairman of M&C Saatchi, remembers this great truth, after also failing to be surprised that budgets are being revised downwards in the current climate.

'It is, however,' he notes, 'a good moment to remind advertisers that those that maintain the strongest marketing spend will come out on top.' Indeed it is, although it sounds a somewhat tentative exposition of the theory in the present circumstances.

It should be shouted from the rooftops that those who see marketing budgets as the first thing to cut when hard times loom will suffer disproportionately as a result. …

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