As someone whose livelihood is inextricably linked to marketing expenditure, it’s greatly heartening for me to read that confidence among business-to-business marketers has increased again.
The findings of the new B2B Barometer Report by the Business Marketing Collective broadly mirror that of the wider marketing community (the latest IPA Bellwether Report shows the largest increase of marketing budgets in 14 years, and 30 percent of companies are seeing their budgets rise in Q1), findings which are congruent with the now official recovery in the UK economy.
Households are still 10 percent worse off than before the recession, meaning that wage growth will need to outstrip price inflation to return us to the pre-recession watermark.
It is, however, confidence that is helping to drive recovery and, similarly, within the B2B marketing community. The good news is that higher confidence is now translating into behaviour to a greater extent than it was previously, with anticipated uplifts in businesses’ marketing commitments. This catch-up effect will no doubt be due to a combination of business conservatism (following such a sustained and savage downturn) and the annual budgeting cycle.
There will be winners, to a greater extent, in areas that suffered worse with pent-up demand being released in, for example, mainstream media where spending is growing by 11.7 percent and events growing by 6.2 percent. Both are areas where many businesses have disinvested and now need to sharpen their axes.
I’ve been particularly interested in recent months to observe what can only be described as a sea change in marketing’s agenda. For the past five years, marketing has been dominated by several themes, including ROMI, marketing automation, digital media, and content. However, as more and more businesses are looking to their CMO to drive their business forward, they are increasingly recognising that these are just “table stakes,” and that it is marketing’s role to make brand and businesses stand out by doing things differently. Connecting with savvy, post-recessionary digital consumers who are time-stretched and information-discerning is a job that can only be done through engaging creativity that connects with individuals. In short, I’m delighted to say that’s a role that agencies exist for.
Having spent decades in this industry, I’ve always felt B2B was a barometer for the wider marketing community. Insofar as, sadly, that we tend to lead the industry into downturn. I feel exceptionally fortunate to have worked with many clients who decided to market their way through and out of this downtown.
To download the full B2B Barometer Report, click here.
Danny Turnbull – Managing Director, gyro Manchester
Part of gyro’s global leadership team, Danny Turnbull runs the Manchester operation in the UK. He has spent almost 20 years in agencies both B2B and B2C, and has worked on a large number of household brands from DAF to Granda, from Smithkline Beecham to British Gas. Much of his experience is related to branding and corporate identity; however, he retains his strongest passion for the broader subject of creative work that really works.