For the eleventh successive quarter, marketing budgets are on the increase, as reported by the survey panel. Despite some respondents reporting a decline, overall budgets were increased by 12.2%, steadily growing over the last 3 years or so. Although budgets continue to increase, this growth in comparison, relatively modest.
So which category demonstrated the best performance during Q2 2015?
For the first time in the last three quarters, ‘Events’ was the category that reported the largest increase to marketing budgets, at 22%, though the net increase was in fact 7.4%. Spend in this area includes exhibitions, conferences, event marketing and sponsorship, product samples, corporate hospitality and entertainment.
‘Internet’, was the second best performing category, reporting an increase of 6.8%, the lowest recorded increase in ten successive quarters. This is the first quarter for which internet marketing spend has not been reported as the best performing category. 19% of respondents confirmed an increase, whilst almost 12% reported a decrease in spend in this area. The net increase was down by 8.4% on Q1 2015.
In tandem, spend related to ‘Internet Search/SEO’ slipped a couple of percentage points from 8.5% to 6.5%, the lowest net balance recorded for over 18 months.
‘Direct marketing’ reported the most modest of increases, a mere net balance of +0.5%. This category includes direct mail, email, telemarketing, SMS, and more traditional forms of marketing such as door-to-door and printed materials. The modest increase in budgets reported by the panel is unsurprising. With the new Data Protection regulations now underway, direct marketers have challenges ahead, ensuring that their direct marketing initiatives adhere to the new opt-in laws.
‘Public Relations’ spend increased during Q2 2015, to +1.1% increase. This is from a position of -1.8% decrease, as reported in Q1 2015. Despite the increase being modest, an increase has been reported for 5 out of the last 6 quarters.
The economic outlook during Q2 2015 appears to have had an effect on marketing budgets as well as the general optimism surrounding companies’ financial prospects. The General Election during Q2 2015 created uncertainty, and although the outcome is now known, the strength of the UK currency, the potential for interest rates to increase and conjecture around the UK’s position in Europe, all continue to have a bearing on the general outlook of the survey’s respondents. However, it’s not all doom and gloom as businesses meet the challenge of this uncertainty with an increase in marketing activity.
How can you maximise your marketing spend without radically increasing your budgets?
- Great content is always reusable! You’ll have created some great content but it needs to be published. Existing content may need updating a little, but can be reused. Maximise your initial spend by utilising social media; targeted advertising is relatively inexpensive and can provide a great return on your initial investment.
- Look at activity to complement your existing spend. Use social media for a less formal approach, in partnership with your existing email marketing activities.
- Leverage those leads! The whole point of marketing is to generate leads but any effort is futile if those leads are not followed up.
- Turn the new Data Protection Legislation into a competitive advantage and switch to opt-in/inbound marketing.
What will Q3 have in store for marketers?
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