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Rob Shaw, CEO UK & Australia

The author

Rob Shaw

CEO UK & Australia

Q1 2016 IPA Bellwether sees modest growth in marketing spend

As spend encouragingly rises again but confidence is suppressed, thus the theme of measurability, predictive analytics and capitalising on big data remain true to drive value from marketing activity.  The continued growth in digital and search can be fuelled through better use of data and greater sophistication in how we connect online and offline data from multiple sources to show consumers we get what they want and need.  From our point of view, this is becoming increasingly evident amongst our clients.

However, there is still room for improvement.  For example, a study by The Internet Advertising Bureau found that marketers in the UK waste £485m on unseen online ads each year. This may be driven by poor media choices, but also poor creative choices as consumers have more power than ever to ‘switch off’.

The more creative aspects of marketing are where data science and scientific methodology is considerably underused, and this may go some way to explaining the dip in research.  With adspend and main media also up, the challenge now is to provide the same level of confidence in creative marketing decisions as we are increasingly seeing in more sophisticated media decisions.  Understanding attitudes and emotions as well as hard facts from browsing and purchasing behaviour is the marketing holy grail; emotion tracking is high on the agenda for agencies right now, but it is crucial that clients are confident it is objective, scientific and meaningful. That’s why our own work here is conducted with one of the World’s leading universities, Imperial College London.  If we can crack all of this holistically, we truly are on a path to a richer and more exciting time for all.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Marketing budgets were revised marginally higher in Q1 2016 marking a 14th successive period of growth.
  • Growth in spend is led by digital (+9.8%), then events (+9.8%)
  • Sales promotion sees the biggest drop in spend (-8.9%) followed by direct marketing (-4.9%)