Questions are as crucial as answers in this new world
A view from Maisie McCabe

Questions are as crucial as answers in this new world

If you're the sort of person who spends the small hours worrying about the future, the latest Bellwether Report might give you some solace.

The proportion of marketers planning to increase their budgets outweighs those planning to cut by 12.2 per cent – a three-quarter high, no less. Hurrah. Yes, much of the growth is in events, the internet (whatever that is or isn’t) and sales promotion, but main media is in positive territory too. 

The figures corroborate Group M’s forecast for the UK earlier this month, which predicted the fastest growth of any major mature economy this year. It expects UK adspend to reach £15.9 billion in 2015, up 6.3 per cent year on year. Good news and also an improvement from the forecast published in December, which suggested adspend would increase 5.7 per cent year on year to reach £15.7 billion. To much surprise at the Financial Times, if not to people who actually work in media, TV is driving the charge, up 8.8 per cent this year.

Group M had less welcome news for the newspaper industry, with physical press adspend down 9.5 per cent. But, as the interview with The Mail on Sunday’s Geordie Greig and the free future of NME show, there is plenty of fight left in print. But yesterday it emerged that another print stalwart, Rosemary Gorman, is leaving her role at Mail Newspapers as DMG Media integrates its print and digital sales team, giving the top job to MailOnline’s Mel Scott

There is a definite atmosphere of companies looking hard at their business plans. And the Bellwether also had reasons to be cautious, particularly in terms of how marketers feel about their employers and their industries. While 51 per cent of those surveyed were optimistic about their companies three months ago, just 39 per cent said so this time. And the proportion of marketers confident about their industries has also declined.

At times of uncertainty, brave executives need new answers to old questions. Does the former Havas chief David Jones have them? In Kate Magee’s piece on You & Mr Jones, Jones is full of criticism for "slow, grumpy creative" people and enthusiasm for what he’s calling "people-powered" marketing. But bar rare highlights such as Mofilm’s "office hottie daydream" for Rolo, briefing the world rather than a creative agency has hardly been a shortcut to brilliance so far. 

George Osborne echoed Group M’s comments about the UK growing faster than other major economies last week. But as companies restructure and marketers worry about the future, we should be thinking up fresh questions as well as providing innovative solutions to existing ones. Lest Jones is right and we do go the way of Kodak.

Claire Beale is away.