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Bellwether Report Q3 2015

November 20, 2015 | Clare Farthing

According to the latest Bellwether Report for Q3 2015, marketing budgets increased for the third successive year, but to the weakest degree since Q1 2013. The reduction in Q3 indicated a heightened caution amongst companies regarding the slowdown in some UK economic sectors and an easing in confidence surrounding the wider global outlook.

marketing budgets are increasing but only marginally

Marketing budgets are increasing but only marginally

Upward revisions

Although 20% of those surveyed indicated an upward revision to their marketing budgets in Q3, almost 16% registered a downward adjustment. The result was a net balance of +4.4%, down significantly on Q2’s +12.2% and the lowest reading recorded since the opening quarter of 2013.

However, it should be noted that there still remains willingness amongst companies to expand and support sales efforts, even though optimism regarding industry financial prospects eased off slightly.

bellwether chart

Snap shot of marketing budgets over Q3 2015

Winners and losers

There were upward revisions to the internet, events and main media advertising budgets in Q3. Online marketing budgets increased slightly this quarter from a net balance of +7.8%, up from two and a half year low of +6.8% in Q2 2015, the internet seemed to gain the most from the wider upward revision to marketing budgets within this quarter. This is a fairly typical trend, when growth slows down budgets are switched over to channels that seem to afford better measurement and immediacy.

Events saw some growth of +2.6% while main media advertising faired less well, recording a net balance of 0.5%, the lowest recorded in the current growth sequence. Declines were seen elsewhere as PR (-5.8%) and Market Research (-4.7%) recorded the greatest falls, followed by sales promotion (-3.4%) and direct marketing (-2.7%).

Overall, confidence in the financial and economic outlook has waned over the past year but marketing budgets have continued to increase – at a moderate pace – which should be encouraging as marketers become more prudent and targeted in their approach to marketing strategies.

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