Companies Loosening Purse Strings

Companies in the north are loosening their purse strings and setting aside more resources for marketing and advertising budgets as worries about the wider economy sub-side, a new report shows.

Findings in the latest Bellwether Report from the IPA, the professional body for UK advertising, media and marcomms agencies, reveal a strong upwards revision to budgets, marking the fifth quarter of consecutive growth and the second-highest rate of growth in the survey’s history. And the IPA’s regional spokesman Stephen Roycroft says it is a “positive sign”.

Roycroft, IPA northern Ireland chairman and deputy managing director of Ardmore advertising, said: “it is particularly encouraging that the advertising and marketing industry not only reflects the steady optimism in the market, but that it is a proven engine for growth.

“marketing budgets are investments not costs, and at the IPA there is an enormous body of case evidence to demonstrate the contribution our members make to client businesses surviving and then benefiting from an upturn.”

The Bellwether Report, which has been conducted quarterly since 2000, said 11 per cent of companies registered an increase in budgets during october, november and December.

Companies also remained highly confident about their own financial prospects, while more than a quarter of firms surveyed say they expect to see growth this year. Internet spending budgets again recorded the sharpest improvement (up 9.2 per cent), while there was also growth in sales promotion (up 1.9 per cent), events (1.8 per cent), and direct marketing (1.2 per cent). Main media advertising saw no change to budgets since the previous quarter, but falls were recorded elsewhere including PR (down 2.8 per cent), market research (2.5 per cent) and other paid-for marketing activity (2.3 per cent).