Tough economy takes its toll on marketing spend

PESSIMISTIC companies spent less on marketing in the last three months of 2010 as a tough economy and uncertain outlook hit confidence, a new survey showed today.

More than a fifth of firms lowered their advertising budgets as 32 per cent of respondents said their company’s financial prospects deteriorated, according to the Bellwether report from the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and accountant BDO.

The results finish a mixed year in which ad spend was revised up and down quarterly as firms struggled to predict market conditions, the data compiled by Markit showed.

“Companies report that the financial outlook is the toughest for a year-and-a-half,” said report author Chris Williamson, Markit chief economist.

But Advertising Association data showed 6.6 per cent growth in ad spend in 2010, and firms told the Bellwether report that this year’s budgets are set higher than last year’s actual spend.

“This bullish message should not be overlooked,” Williamson said.

Companies spent more on internet adverts but cut spend in main media – such as press, television and radio – in the last quarter of 2010.