Marketers Confident in Economy Despite Recession Fears

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Key Takeaways

What? The first quarterly Marketers Confidence Index reveals that marketers are optimistic about customer spending and the growth of marketing budgets over the next six months. 

So What? Despite reported fears about an economic slowdown, the overall Marketer Confidence Index came in at 121, where 100 is neutral.

Now What? Russ Klein, the AMA’s CEO, says: “Customer-centric firms, when also displaying high levels of marketing confidence, are poised for growth." Now’s time for marketers to push ahead.

Inaugural Marketer Confidence Index survey reveals U.S. marketing professionals are bullish on their firms’ prospects over the next six months and hopeful about marketing investment opportunities and budgets.

The next six months hold promise for companies to invest in growth, according to the majority of U.S. marketers surveyed for the quarterly Marketers Confidence Index​. The survey, conducted by the American Marketing Association (AMA) in partnership with Millward Brown Vermeer, found marketers similarly optimistic about customer spending and the growth of marketing budgets over the next six months. 

Overall, marketers across a wide range of for-profit and non-profit industries—including manufacturing, technology, healthcare and education—shared this viewpoint, contrasting markedly with widely reported fears about an economic slowdown. The overall Marketer Confidence Index came in at 121, where 100 is neutral. 

Sixty percent of marketers say that the​y are in a positive investment climate. Forty percent indicate that they’ve seen increased customer spending over the past six months, and 39% predict another increase in the next six months. One-third of marketers expect marketing budgets to rise. 

When asked how they would allocate an increased marketing budget, marketers showed a preference for media placement, innovation, creative, insights and analytics. Budget reductions, most said, would spare funding cuts in analytics, innovation and market insights. 

Additionally, marketers feel their influence within their organizations is growing, with 64% predicting that the power and influence of the marketing function will increase over the next few years. This optimism seems to be fueled by the increasing use of technology innovations and analytics that enable closer customer relationships, micro-targeting and improved measurement capabilities. 

Marketers are excited about advances in data and analytics, specifically pointing to opportunities for Big Data to drive personalized marketing, automation, data integration, omni-channel interactions and micro-targeting. 

 “Though market volatility is the new normal, marketers are now more confident about leading their organizations through change,” said Marc de Swaan Arons, Chief Marketing Officer, Millward Brown Vermeer. “This confidence is supported by new and evolving opportunities to leverage insights across marketing investments to drive ROI. At the same time, the pace of innovation is challenging marketers to align strategy and talent in a more agile way, and as we track the index over time it will be interesting to see how marketers manage this challenge.” 

Russ Klein, CEO of the AMA added, "We know that organizational confidence is a strong predictor of performance. The results of this inaugural release, combined with other learnings, would suggest that customer-centric firms, when also displaying high levels of marketing confidence, are poised for growth."

 

 Detailed Survey Findings

 


The study identified a number of challenges marketers are facing, among them proving and determining optimal ROI amid an ever-increasing number of channels, not being able to use all the firm’s customer data and the growing level of complexity of technology integration. Challenges are structural as well, for example:

Only one in three marketers feels confident that his firm has the right operating model to be competitive. 

Thirty-four percent say that their company has the right people, structure, processes and tools to be competitive. 

Forty-one percent believe that their marketing organization has a clear and well-understood strategy in place to be competitive. 

Forty-three percent say that the group understands the ROI of marketing plans.

Millward Brown Vermeer is a global consultancy focused on unleashing purpose-led growth through the development and embedding of consumer insight-led marketing strategy, structure and capability. 

The American Marketing Association is the essential community for marketers, striving to be the most relevant force and voice shaping marketing practice and research. 


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