Overall the number of UK marketers who slashed their ad budgets is the highest at any time since the nadir of the recession three years ago.
And with confidence rock-bottom only digital marketing budgets – including online and search – have been revised upwards.
It appears that high-profile events such as Euro 2012, the Queen’s diamond jubilee and the London Olympics had little effect, as budgets fell victim to companies controlling costs.
In terms of the numbers, direct marketing spend was down 6.2%, below the line 16.1% and sales promotion 2.9%; meanwhile Internet was up 7.1% and search 5.2%.
Eclipse Marketing director of commercial operations, Mark Osman said: “It is no real surprise to see that the tough economic conditions that companies find themselves in has seen marketing budgets continue to struggle. However, it is particularly disappointing to see that direct marketing is suffering more than most when it comes to reaching consumers.
“It can be highly targeted and measurable – vital in a downturn. The time and cost effectiveness that digital offers in comparison to other channels means that digital now accounts for the lion share of direct marketing, although we still see a notable increase in response rates when multiple channels are combined as part of an integrated campaign.”
However, Pulse Group chief executive Mike Spicer maintains that the obsession with channels is something of a red herring.
He commented: “What we can’t lose sight of is the importance of delivering the right message through the right medium. Although it might sometimes seem that budgets dictate that spend has to go online, there is always scope to standout and trigger action through offline innovation and doing things a little differently. At the heart of every successful campaign is a simple idea that is created through genuine insight, what channel that is delivered through should be dictated by the individual not the budget.”
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