Bellwether: Event industry leads growth in marketing budgets

The event industry led the way in marketing expenditure during the second quarter of 2015, reveals the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's (IPA) latest Bellwether Report.

Event marketing budget growth was the highest of all categories during the second quarter of 2015
Event marketing budget growth was the highest of all categories during the second quarter of 2015

A net balance of +7.4% of event companies recorded growth in their marketing budgets over the period, which represents a three-quarter high. 

Internet budgets came in second - they were revised higher, however the net balance of +6.8% represented a two-and-a-half year low. Sales promotion recorded a net balance of +6.0%, the highest since the first quarter of 2004.

All other categories apart from ‘other’ (-5.1%) recorded marginal growth, including main media advertising (+1.7%); PR (+1.1%); market research (0.6%) and direct marketing (0.5%).

The report pointed to an overall trend in the rise of marketing budgets, with a net balance of +12.2% of companies registering an increase in budgets.

This figure is the highest it has been in the last three quarters, with budgets increasing from +11.8% in quarter one and +6.1% in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The survey also revealed a net balance of +15.1% of marketers indicated an increase in total marketing budgets during 2014/15.

While the report noted a strong start to the 2015/16 financial year, a reflection of marketers’ positive projections in quarter one, optimism regarding companies’ own financial prospects declined to a nine-quarter low of +25.3%, down form +37.8% in quarter one.  

Bellwether’s overall UK adspend growth predictions remain unchanged since quarter one. The body forecasts a real-term increase of +4.2%, which it notes is dependent on an acceleration of economic growth in the second half of the year. 

Paul Simonet, creative strategy director at Imagination, said: "There are no surprises in the continued rise in the importance of events and experiences. Brands live in an experience economy, particularly for millennials. Consumers care less about what you say than what you events and experiences, combined with sophisticated social sharing of content are at the heart of brand marketing.

"That is not going to change. Whatever happens to overall budgets, the importance of experiences is destined to grow. Look at the election. Look how set piece events/experiences have overtaken advertising in their ability to influence."

Paul Bainsfair, director general, IPA, added: "With eleven quarters of successive growth in marketing budgets and a strong start to the financial year, this latest Bellwether is generally positive.

"With confidence on the wane, however, it is worth reminding marketers - as our effectiveness databank evidence attests - you won't produce profits over time without maintaining brand-building adspend. So while it is good to see sales promotion activity is on the increase, the industry must guard against short-termism."

More: Bellwether: Event budgets rise by +5.7%

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