Global marketing industry now in recovery mode

Jodie Sangster

Jodie Sangster has been the CEO of the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) since 2011 and is also chairperson for the International Federation of Direct Marketing Associations (IFDMA). She has worked across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific for 14 years with a focus on data-driven marketing and privacy, and began her career as a lawyer in London specialising in data protection. Her resume includes senior positions at Acxiom Asia-Pacific and the Direct Marketing Association in New York.

In the last five years, marketing budgets have been reduced and marketers have been held increasingly accountable for demonstrating return on investment.

But since the global financial crisis took hold, we have seen the growth of new, cheaper digital engagement channels, and the rise of social media and mobile marketing. Thanks to these things, marketers around the globe are feeling more optimistic about the future, according to a new international survey which will track marketing trends, spend and effectiveness around the globe over the next five years.

As chair of the International Federation of DMAs (IFDMA), a global group representing over 30 marketing associations around the world, I have been anxious to know how global marketing is faring and what its future prospects are. Together with the US-based CMO Council, we commissioned the Marketing Mix 2013 survey of 11 countries asking local marketing associations to glean information from their members about how their respective marketing industries are doing.

We received responses from marketers in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States to get the global snapshot. Here are some of the topline findings:

Budgets rising…for the most part

The majority of respondents (39%) reported that their budgets in 2013 were on the way up, the first year when budgets previously flat or falling, had leveled off and even begun to grow. The UK and the US had the best news to impart with 55% of UK marketers and 50% of US marketers saying their budgets were on the up. Not surprisingly, Italy, still faring poorly on the economic front, had the most pessimistic outlook on budgets with 46% reporting their budgets had decreased year over year.

A majority of marketers (45%) felt the budget upturn would continue into 2014 while just 12% felt budgets would decrease. Italy (22%) and Sweden (21%) were the less optimistic, anticipating budget cuts. The UK (60%) and India (64%) were the most bullish about budget increases.

Australia, cushioned from the GFC for the most part, has not seen budgets diminished to the same extent as other countries. Only 10% felt that their budgets would decrease in the next year while 42% were confident of an increase.

A shift to digital channels

Digital investment is driving the budget increases with social, email marketing and search being the most popular. Social was seen as having the highest level of budget increases according to 17% of respondents while 16% indicated email and search would also see increased investment.

Interestingly, the US, widely perceived as leading early adoption and investments in social media marketing and advertising, will level off in social spend to boost marketing efforts into mobile channels and app development.

Digital media, including online display, online re-targeting, mobile and app development, represented the top areas of increased investment.

Revenue is the critical measurement

Marketers also said they were tying marketing campaigns to revenue. According to nearly half of respondents, revenues had increased thanks to marketing campaign efforts. But interestingly, 37% said their marketing actions had little to no positive impact on the bottom line.

What was different between those who had made a difference to the bottom line and those who didn’t was investment in marketing from the start. Thirty-two percent of those marketers who didn’t impact on the yearly turnover, had decreased budgets and felt their 2014 budgets were likely to remain flat as well.

What is clear from this first global study is that digital will continue to drive the industry forward. The hope for 2014 not only rests on the promise of increased budgets that will allow marketers to expand on experiences and develop more robust campaigns, but also in the growing ability to measure performance in real return on investment.

To download the IFDMA study, visit

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