“Today’s marketers are ‘veterans in disruption’ having navigated the gnawing uncertainties of Brexit, Covid, Ukraine and rampant inflation”.
Following the IPA’s rather muted adspend report for the UK, Richard Exon, Founder Of Joint (quoted above) was among the 35 marketing experts we spoke to about the actions marketers need to take to navigate a year ahead likely to be dominated by inflation, geopolitical crisis… and generative AI.
Some of the key quotes from our panel include:
“In challenging times, marketers seek reassurance in the data”
“ITVX and All 4 are transforming TV from a top of funnel tactic into a full funnel channel by building a compelling, closed loop measurement story”
“Sainsbury’s becoming the latest retailer to extend its loyalty initiative to rival Tesco Clubcard, price has become a key battleground”
“[This report] doesn't chime with the reality of what Out of Home is seeing on the ground”.
“The worst thing marketers can do right now is think they are out of the woods”
“The key question this survey poses for marketers is “how to avoid the threat of becoming non-essential?
Read comments from all our panellists below, and view our analysis of all the key data points here.
“The worry for me is that brands forget what they’re for. Brands are essentially designed to defend price premium"
Elliott Millard, Chief Strategy and Planning Officer at Wavemaker UK
"The worry for me is that brands forget what they’re for. Brands are essentially designed to defend price premium, and everything we’ve seen in our own research suggests that people (47% - as of April 2023) are more inclined to choose brands they know and trust in a cost-of-living crisis. This isn’t the old argument about brand and performance (although that is true); it’s about marketing being a way to defend price sensitivity.
“In the current climate, a brand that invests in its own proposition and can avoid discounting is likely to be more successful than a brand that chases volume over value. Obviously, there is nuance here - brands need to think about their own cost base, their demand pool and their supply chain. However, we need to remember the power of marketing not only to shift bottom line numbers but also to defend price increases."
Sales offers show that your company understands customers' current challenges
Camille Flores-Kilfoyle, Head of Marketing, EMEA at Reputation
“We have been talking to many of our clients about the importance of investing in brand loyalty during these turbulent times, so I’m pleased to see this spike in sales promotion activity reflected in the latest IPA Bellwether report. The cost of living crisis has meant consumers are having to really think about every penny they spend. Sales offers show that your company understands customers' current challenges and prioritises loyalty. In turn this leads to a positive brand reputation and enhanced retention.”
"Not only will these significant events deliver really engaged audiences, they also have the ability to truly shift the mood of the nation"
Emma Cranston, Client Services Director at Ozone
“The increase in main media advertising spend seems reflective of marketers’ taking a long-term view of their brands’ health, while a rise in sales promotions points to consumer help in the here and now. For the former, the continued growth of video (+7.9%) and online (+10.5%) reflects the positive trends Ozone has seen in the past quarter.
“Looking forward to the second quarter, we’re expecting bumper interest in content around the King’s Coronation, a home-crowd Eurovision, and the lead up to major sporting events like the FIFA Women’s World Cup kick-starting in mid-July. Not only will these significant events deliver really engaged audiences, they also have the ability to truly shift the mood of the nation, and savvy brands are already aligned with them. We are hopeful the shift of seasons will lead to a further improved outlook – with the cost of living crisis dominating the winter, it’s great to have some reasons to be optimistic in the months ahead.”
“There continues to be healthy investment in typically shorter term channels too”
Matt Andrew, UK MD & Partner, Ekimetrics
“The expansion of main media advertising is perhaps indicative that brands have acknowledged the message on the importance of brand marketing, particularly in the face of economic uncertainty. There continues to be healthy investment in typically shorter term channels too, though increasingly, digital has an important role to play in brand.
“While the cost of living crisis makes capturing the consumer pound harder than ever, the accompanying increase in promotions and short-term sales could be cause for concern. With the resurgence of MMM methodologies, it’s essential brands continue to focus on incrementality, using econometrics as an integration point for other methods, such as attribution and test and control. In particular, MMM that is fit for purpose today needs to be more granular and forward-looking than its origins, ensuring the effects of promotions is well understood to avoid waste and optimise decision making – of budget, margin and even planetary resources.
“Marketers should be using technology to automate and scale highly personalised, privacy-first programs to free up human capacity on their lean teams”
Cory Munchbach, CEO, BlueConic:
“During economic slowdowns, companies that increase marketing spend tend to outperform their competitors. As Burberry’s CEO Angela Ahrendts once said, “Never waste a good recession.” Based on the latest IPA Bellwether figures, it looks like that message for some is getting through. But for many others, marketers are going to have to try to do more with the same budgets – a clear call for finding operational efficiencies to make the most of the budgets they have available.
“In this environment, marketers should be using technology to automate and scale highly personalised, privacy-first programs to free up human capacity on their lean teams who can stretch budgets further and use each dollar more creatively to stand out to consumers. In so doing, marketing will deliver results on the near term during uncertain times while earning consumers’ long-term brand loyalty to grow the business for the future.”
“It’s no surprise to see brands flex their approach to support customers during the cost-of-living crisis.”
Richard Kelly, Chief Solutions Officer, Mindshare UK:
“We’ve become used to talking about cautious optimism and in that respect, this report suggests it’s more of the same. It’s no surprise to see brands flex their approach to support customers during the cost-of-living crisis. Both advertisers and agencies have adapted well to operating in uncertain times and there’s growing evidence that brands are increasingly confident about their financial prospects and advertising and marketing expenditure.
“Of course, the economic outlook isn’t the only challenge out there. With consumer behaviour changing and new technology continuing to bring both opportunities and disruption to the market, agencies need to re-double our efforts to deliver positive growth for our clients in the short-term while making sure we have the right technology, the right systems, and the right skills in place to drive their future growth.”
“Brands can take this opportunity to help restore customer confidence and instil loyalty at a time when it matters most.”
Niyi Duro- Emanuel, SVP, UK Strategy Lead, Merkle EMEA
“Brands are still not only seeking to understand their audiences better with firms expanding their marketing budgets to support their clients through the downturn, but they are also trying to actively provide help to customers through tougher economic periods – with a spike in sales promotion activity this quarter.
“Brands can take this opportunity to help restore customer confidence and instil loyalty at a time when it matters most. With budgets increasing – the most adaptive and therefore successful brands will be those investing in longer term brand building strategies such as customer experience (CX) as a way of driving them forwards. This strategy builds deeper, personal connections with customers – helping them to understand the challenges they are facing as we continue to grapple with a difficult economic backdrop.
“Brands are embracing the creative and technical possibilities of Out of Home”
John Davidson, Chief Operations Officer, Kinetic Worldwide
“Today’s IPA report doesn't chime with the reality of what Out of Home is seeing “on the ground”. The sector saw double-digit growth year on year and this momentum has continued into 2023.
“What’s really exciting about Out of Home at the moment is not just that we are experiencing growth, but the way advertisers are using the medium. This week we are running the largest 3D Out of Home campaign that has ever taken place in terms of scale for Maybelline and a fantastic data-driven campaign for Tesco which adapts content around time of day during Ramadan and Eid. These are just two examples, but they reflect how brands are embracing the creative and technical possibilities and of Out of Home and why we continue to see the sector grow, despite a complex economic outlook.”
"The industry is seeing greater experimentation as brands invest in new channels like audio"
Maor Sadra, CEO and Founder at INCRMNTAL:
“Despite the downbeat economy meaning 8 in 10 (79%) of marketers are working with static or reduced budgets, what the stats positively highlight is how marketers are getting more creative with their money. The industry is seeing greater experimentation as brands invest in new channels like audio and increase spending in areas such as sales promotions and direct marketing to help engage audiences during these difficult times.
“It’s clear advertisers are doing what they can to ensure they remain relevant and appealing to consumers, but one issue many brands face is knowing how much value to attribute to each marketing tactic. Continuing to rely on legacy user-level tracking as a method of measurement, particularly in light of cookie depreciation, makes it impossible for many marketers to know how well their strategy is really performing. During these tough times, it’s more important than ever that brands invest in privacy-centric solutions that can measure the true incremental value of any activity impacting their marketing KPIs, online or offline. Only then can marketers ensure their budgets are truly delivering for the business.”
“70% of brands sell products directly via social media”
Julie Lock, Marketing Director UK&I at HubSpot:
“As budgets expand, businesses should look to hone in on the benefits of social media marketing and online advertising, as platforms such as TikTok lead the race to success among innovative marketers. Already, 70% of brands sell products directly via social media [Hubspot 2023 data], and nearly 80% buy advertising on the big four platforms, so there is plenty of appetite for the convenience and efficiency this brings.
“It is certainly worth the investment to grow brand awareness and engagement among new audiences, and, as always, it is essential to put the customer first. Understanding what people want and how they use social media platforms will put any brand a step ahead of its competitor. It is all about being savvy with decisions. Ultimately, prioritising a presence on social media and standing out in the crowd.”
“ITVX and All 4 are transforming TV from a top of funnel tactic into a full funnel channel by building a compelling, closed loop measurement story”
Marc Fischli, Executive Managing Director, EMEA at Criteo:
“We’ve certainly noticed a trend among advertisers doubling down on performance in recent months. This is particularly true of the retail media space where commerce outcomes are easy to prove. While it’s great to see budgets increasing, a continued over-emphasis on ROAS hampers the building of true understanding into what is driving positive consumer behaviour, ultimately to the detriment of audience growth and incremental revenue.
“Looking ahead, it’s clear to see the importance of channels like CTV in directing advertisers towards full funnel, commerce led campaigns. There’s been a huge effort among key players including ITVX and All 4 to transform TV from a top of funnel tactic into a full funnel channel by building a compelling, closed loop measurement story through retailers like Tesco, Boots and Sainsbury’s. As the commerce media trend continues to gather momentum, it will be the brands and media owners that truly embrace this full funnel thinking that thrive.
“Nearly a third of people watching television search online for things they’ve seen advertised there”
Sarah Sanderson, Managing Director, TGI at Kantar Media:
“These are positive signals from the industry around marketing spend. We know the way people consume media is ever changing, but online marketing continues to play an increasingly important role as it evolves and adapts to new trends and cultural shifts. For instance, nearly a third of people watching television search online for things they’ve seen advertised there – it shows that not only does making a splash matter for brands, but also the importance of having a strong online presence to back it up.
“Marketers are becoming more and more alert to the need to build campaigns that adapt to evolving behaviours and consumption patterns. There’s still more to learn though, as contrary to spending intentions, we’ve seen out of home advertising become a growing channel for advertisers to improve brand perception with consumers in recent years.”
“Marketers are committing spends later than usual, likely due to rapidly changing audience behaviours”
Liz Duff, Head of Commercial & Operations, Total Media:
“This growth demonstrates marketers' commitment to continuing to support brand activity, but coupling this with short-term measures with the expansion of sales promotion budgets. Despite some volatility, we can expect to see further increases in marketing spend over the coming quarters, especially with the more positive economic forecast predicting that the UK is on track to avoid a recession.
“It's interesting to note that marketers are committing spends later than usual, likely due to rapidly changing audience behaviours, making forecasting for the rest of the year challenging. However, the growth in main media marketing shows that marketers are continuing to support brand activity, and the expansion of sales promotion budgets demonstrates a commitment to using short-term measures to achieve success. Overall, these findings bode well for the marketing industry in the UK, and we can anticipate further developments as the year progresses.
“Now, more than ever, is the time to truly offer something useful to consumers”
Sophie Wooller, Director of Digital Transformation, Croud:
“It’s positive to see UK companies continue to invest in marketing activities, with a marked rise in sales promotion budgets showing that they are prioritising the customer. Against a backdrop of higher than expected inflation, the trend of sales promotion expenditure rising (at the strongest pace in nearly two decades) is likely to continue.”
“Now, more than ever, is the time to truly offer something useful to consumers - not just to maintain brand recognition and loyalty but also to practically support them through the cost-of-living crisis.”
“It will be the marketers that continue to bet on these burgeoning digital channels that will find they have greater cause for celebration in the long run”
Ryan Storrar, CEO, EssenceMediacomX:
“Cautious optimism is a key phrase here, and echoes what we’ve seen in our own predictions for the year ahead. While it’s clear that many brands have had to prioritise their marketing tactics and cut back in many areas, the fact that many still plan to expand their marketing budgets shows that advertising plays a prominent role in their futureproofing efforts.
“It’s encouraging to see growth in digital as the online investment is bolstered, showing that marketers continue to recognise the power of this investment, alongside traditional channels. And with fast growing sections like Retail Media, which we forecast to reach a valuation of £6.5bn by 2027, it will be the marketers that continue to bet on these burgeoning digital channels that will find they have greater cause for celebration in the long run.”
“It’s important for marketers to consider 2023 as being the “year of retention” - focus on delighting and retaining consumers.”
Oscar Wall, General Manager EMEA at Recurly:
“Not only has overall marketing spend increased, promotional advertising and big-ticket TV campaigns have seen a boost as brands are driving impactful campaigns to high intent consumers looking for a discount. While DOOH spend has decreased, brands are more likely to drive campaigns to platforms based closer to home. This is ideal for streaming media subscription services, who recently reported great success in ad-tiered subscription models.
“As the cost of living crisis continues, it’s important for marketers to consider 2023 as being the “year of retention” - focus on delighting and retaining consumers. While campaigns to drive discounts grow, offering variable services, exclusive content and brand loyalty incentives are still powerful options to leverage as consumers justify the price and value received from their subscriptions.”
“Programmatic is democratising the big screen and giving opportunities for new brands delving into the CTV environment”
Josh Partridge, Head of EMEA at Yahoo:
“Sales promotions being the top performer as marketers drive content to high-intent consumers looking to ease inflation should be no surprise, which is also reflected in the decrease in digital out-of-home (DOOH) campaigns and footfall on the high street. Marketers need to be wary of tunnel-vision during tough economic times though and not lose sight of the power of great creative to drive consumer preference. Combining great creative with digital formats and technology that can provide direct call to action and adapt channels by performance in real-time means advertisers don't need to compromise on brand creative.”
“The increased spend across main media marketing, including digital and TV, is testament to how programmatic is democratising the big screen and giving opportunities for new brands delving into the Connected TV environment. Interestingly, live event-based marketing is growing significantly as consumers look for more engaging in-person experiences, so I'd bet that DOOH will grow as new screens come online in areas like point of sale and other interactive opportunities to engage live audiences.”
“The search wars have led us into the ‘third era of search’ and brands advertising online are among the primary beneficiaries of this progress."
Gustav Westman, BrightBid CEO:
“With marketing budgets showing an increase compared to this time last year, it's clear that marketers and brands are feeling more confident and reassured about the future, even amidst economic uncertainty. This renewed confidence can most likely be attributed to the ongoing advancements of generative AI solutions in the past year, providing brands with powerful tools for online advertising.
“The search wars have led us into the "third era of search" and brands advertising online are among the primary beneficiaries of this progress. Global advertising spend has increased by a remarkable 313% over the last 10 years (as reported by WARC Media) with the potential of AI solutions now coming into the mix, we can expect to see even better results in the years to come. The addition of multimodal search functionalities, including audio and video, will enhance the overall experience for consumers and increase reach to a larger target audience.
“Layering programmatic ad technology with audio enables targeted and relevant advertising to reach the right users”
Ollie Chadwick, UK Regional Director at AdsWizz:
“The IPA Bellwether report highlights the significant increase in audio advertising spend compared to last year. It’s positive to see more brands understanding the value, potential, and reach of including audio advertising strategies in their advertising campaigns. The fact that audio is an ever-present medium – one that can be accessed by consumers while doing virtually anything – makes it crucial for marketers to tap into its advertising capabilities.
“Layering programmatic ad technology with audio enables targeted and relevant advertising to reach the right users, making it an even more effective marketing tool. Advertisers who aim to make the most impact from their campaigns should adopt technology that ensures their audio advertising campaigns are easy, simple, and accessible at scale. The renewed upturn in audio advertising spend shows that businesses are waking up to the power of audio and know that including it in their marketing strategies can help to achieve the best results.”
“This is the time to consider how relationships with premium publishers can help“
Elizabeth Brennan, GM for advertisers at Permutive:
“It is great to see that marketing spend by brands has increased, despite there being a wider concern for future economic uncertainty moving forward. The optimism being seen across the industry is a great sign of what we can expect to see in the next quarter. Brands must use these budget increases to maximise the quality of the audiences they are appealing to.
“This is the time to consider how relationships with premium publishers can help with this. The privacy-compliant data that publishers can provide will give brands access to audience interests, behaviours and trends, as well as what they are engaging with online, all without compromising consumer privacy. If they commit to this strategy, advertisers can capitalise on campaign success, which is vital in this economic climate.”
“Conversations around AI have excelled lately… these can overshadow the potential the technology can truly have in helping brands achieve ROI”
Tim Geenen, co-founder and CEO at Rayn:
“What stands out for me in the latest IPA Bellwether report is that technology was considered a key opportunity, particularly with regards to marketing strategies. It signals positive investment intentions in this space over the next 12 months, which couldn’t come at a more important time.
“Conversations around AI have excelled lately, sparking debate around innovation, regulation and fear about replacing human efforts. These can overshadow the potential the technology can truly have in helping brands achieve return on their investment and bring more value and convenience to consumers. The positives should outweigh the negatives, so it’s promising to read that marketers are realising the opportunities technology can present in supporting business growth, especially at this crucial time.”
“The worst thing marketers can do right now is think they are out of the woods”
Paul Coggins, CEO and Co-Founder at Adludio:
“After so much post-pandemic doom and gloom, the fact that advertising has recorded its strongest expansion since Q1 2022 indicates that marketers are, at last, preparing for the bounce back. Nevertheless, with only the true innovators in adtech in hiring mode, it is clearly still tough out there, and the worst thing marketers can do right now is think they are out of the woods.
“Those that truly understand the relationship between their creative, and the levels of consumer attention that this can sustain, will be the ones that prosper. More than this, brands will need to understand in detail exactly how, where and when users are engaging with their ads, so they can make more informed decisions to increase engagement. Marketers that prepare their ad stack now, focusing on delivering exceptional value, brilliant creative and innovative technology, including AI, will best prepare themselves for the economic rebound.”
“There has never been a better time to utilise [AI] technology that can provide hyper-targeted, yet specifically tailored ads in a way that goes far beyond the capabilities of a human alone.”
Julia Bielecka-Dąbrowska, Head of Sales Development & Efficiency at RTB House:
“Despite wider concerns about the economic challenges facing the industry this year, marketers are feeling optimistic about this quarter. With budgets starting to grow, and marketing activities on the rise, now is the time for brands to focus on opportunities where they can strongly engage with customers.
“The report indicated the role that AI in particular will continue to have, as many look to make investment in the technology over the coming year. There has never been a better time to utilise technology that can provide hyper-targeted, yet specifically tailored ads in a way that goes far beyond the capabilities of a human alone. The power of these tools can ensure that this optimism continues, as budgets are used effectively to enhance efficiency and results across the board.”
“It's important for brands to continue to invest in brand building to further cement customer loyalty”
Amy Norton, Growth Director at Incubeta:
“It’s reassuring to see that the advertising industry has somewhat survived the current economic difficulties as the main media marketing budget grew in the first quarter of 2023. With this comes opportunities for companies to incorporate more digital marketing methods into their own budgets to support growth over the coming year.
“Coming out strong off the back of economic challenges suggests marketers have developed innovative ways to drive efficiencies in insights and measurement. Approaching the future with cautious optimism, it's important for brands to continue to invest in brand building to further cement customer loyalty.”
“Companies are making positive investment intentions in relation to technology, and in particular AI
Matt Nash, UK MD, Scibids:
“The UK digital ad market continues to be the biggest in Europe, and we can expect UK programmatic ad spend to comfortably exceed £26 billion this year. For us, however, a key takeout from the report is that companies are making positive investment intentions in relation to technology, and in particular AI and its numerous capabilities. In fact, our latest research revealed that 87% of UK brand-side marketers see AI as being an important part of marketing in 2023. This includes both Generative AI, such as ChatGPT, which generates new content or data based on information learned from previous data, and Predictive AI, which predicts future outcomes using past data.
“AI is a transformative force for the future as it can enable brands to see growth in sales and brand equity, driving ROI across programmatically-bought media. And at a time when budgets are constantly being scrutinised, this has never been more important.”
“Both online advertising activity and big-ticket campaigns on TV are on an upward trajectory for the first time in a year”
Clara De Rosa, Head of Customer Success, Adform:
“Both online advertising activity and big-ticket campaigns on TV are on an upward trajectory for the first time in a year, which is encouraging to see. However, with the cost-of-living crisis still ongoing, both advertisers and consumers are more meticulous about where, and how, their money is spent.
“So for marketers to truly see a return on their ad spend in the current economic climate, it’s increasingly important to work with a partner with the ability to run coordinated omni-channel campaigns and target their audience in cookieless browsers when third-party cookies are phased out.”
“Marketers should be demanding more transparency, efficiency and performance from their partners”
Niki Stoker, SVP Global Demand, Onetag:
“To continue this growth trajectory, marketers should be demanding more transparency, efficiency and performance from their partners to drive toward a more effective and efficient programmatic ecosystem. Fortunately, new players are emerging in the market to do just that.
“By being agile, innovative and smart, they are able to create tailored packages that deliver higher KPIs for the same money and results with less ad waste. And at a time when reduced wastage and efficiency has never been more important, this will be a win-win for all.”
“There is now a realisation that marketers must still invest in their brand activity to ensure value perception isn’t compromised”
Naomi Gould, Data Science Consultant Manager at LiveRamp:
“Unlike during previous times of crisis where businesses paused marketing spend, there is now a realisation that marketers must still invest in their brand activity to ensure value perception isn’t compromised, especially as we move into recovery. What will be important however, is that marketers have the right measurement tools in place to truly understand how their campaigns are performing and ultimately providing the best performance and incremental impact.
“Measurements like econometrics are important to understand and track media spend on each channel, but with consumer behaviour in more flux than ever, marketers need to rebalance these models to take into account inflation effects we’ve not seen in 40 years. Now, marketers also need granular data to really understand why they are behaving that way. This high level view should be coupled with data on a campaign level to create a hybrid model of econometrics and data insights for better strategy, optimisation and ultimately performance. By collaborating with the right data partners in a privacy-centric way, marketers will be able to see a 360-view of their audiences to ensure their budgets are being spent most effectively.”
“Addressable audio will be a huge growth area”
Harry Williams, Senior Marketing Manager, AMA:
“Marketing spend for audio has seen an increase of +1.7%, which is the first growth since Q3 2021. After the economic uncertainty that dominated conversations in Q4 ‘22 there has been a renewed excitement for adtech in the first few months of this year, notably in the audio space.
“Advertisers are looking at ways to target individual listeners more effectively, whether that’s via creative that addresses individual listeners or technology that allows them to respond in real time. Technologies like dynamic audio are giving advertisers a simple way to create and serve thousands of iterations of an audio ad at a minimal cost. Despite the continued economic climate, we are optimistic about the future of audio and remain confident that addressable audio will be a huge growth area. Why? Because it allows advertisers to flexibly plan, buy and execute content across long periods whilst keeping production costs low and without compromising on effectiveness.”
“It will be imperative to collect as much data as possible to get that all important insight into how successful an event was”
Natasha Banjo, Director of Operations, News Live (News UK’s Events Team):
“While some budgets have decreased, it is excellent to see that event spending has increased for the fifth consecutive quarter, as marketing executives look to re-engage with new and prospective clients face-to-face. From our own experience, we’ve seen this is pertinent for B2B events as advertisers are wanting to deliver more innovative and relevant events that are closely aligned with what’s going on in the world today.
“With 14.5% of companies expecting events marketing spend to rise in 2023/4, the opportunities for advertisers are ripe. However, to succeed, they need to ensure their events are aligned with their brand messaging and audience interest to be able to deliver authentic and creative experiences. Even more so, with budgets being constantly scrutinised, it will be imperative to collect as much data as possible to get that all important insight into how successful an event was.”
“The role of context and suitability continues to grow in prominence”
Nick Reid, SVP & Managing Director, EMEA, DoubleVerify:
“As we embark on 2023, IPA’s findings show welcome optimism. Uncertainty still lingers, but brands continue to manage and drive responsible investment with the ambition of stronger returns.
“The role of context and suitability continues to grow in prominence, with brands cognisant of delivering a more relevant and personalised consumer experience. Attention is also at the forefront, not just as a tool for measurement, but as a means to optimise stronger returns on traditional business outcomes.
“Hybrid living has had a clear impact on consumer habits too, with the CTV market continuing to grow”
Matt White, VP EMEA at Quantcast:
“We’ve seen a degree of normalisation in consumer patterns of behaviour and a realignment of growth as people are returning to brick-and-mortar establishments and hospitality continues to rally. Hybrid living has had a clear impact on consumer habits too, with the CTV market continuing to grow in the UK, while linear TV declines, all alongside a continuous boom for audio and digital as a whole.
“Looking ahead to the rest of 2023 should give marketers reason to be hopeful for continued growth. Next month will see brands investing heavily in marketing around the King’s coronation, and there will undoubtedly be a spike in activity for the Rugby World Cup towards the end of 2023 as well. Despite the current landscape, there’s plenty of reason for marketing teams to remain positive.”
“If CFOs vote with their budgets, that’s a strong yes for marketing.”
Anastasia Leng, CEO and Founder at CreativeX:
“It’s a good day for marketers: despite the tumultuous environment outside, marketing budgets continue to grow, reflecting the value that marketers continue to deliver to the business bottom line. If CFOs vote with their budgets, that’s a strong yes for marketing.
“But brands are significantly undermining their budgets, and their newfound trust from their CFO, by allocating as much as 55% of that budget to sub-par creative content. Our analysis of 2 million pieces of global online content from leading advertisers in 2022 found that the majority of brands were allocating more than half their budget to adverts that did not meet basic creative best practices, such as having upfront branding, being optimizing for sound-off consumption, or being properly sized for its ad slot. The rise of generative AI will massively accelerate content production, and thereby budget allocation towards content that’s not suited to succeed in a digital media environment.”
“Doing more with less has been the name of the game for marketers for a while now”
Phil Duffield, VP UK at The Trade Desk:
“Marketers currently face many of the same pressures as the consumers they advertise to, as costs have inevitably risen in all parts of the economy. Doing more with less has been the name of the game for marketers for a while now, and they need to protect their budgets whilst remaining sensitive to consumers’ needs. Serving ads that at best aren’t relevant, or at worst promote something a consumer can’t afford, will inevitably do more harm than good to long-term brand building.
“Precision is critical for the year ahead, and first-party data plays a pivotal role in helping marketers make good decisions and protect their bottom line. At The Trade Desk, we’ve seen that brands who effectively utilise their first-party data are growing their market share whilst also seeing strong ROI. But not all brands are in a position to do this. That’s why the introduction of retail data overlaid on campaigns can fill in the missing piece of the puzzle and allow marketers to take the blinkers off and provide increased value to consumers.”
“With bigger budgets comes bigger expectations, and it’s crucial that every penny is well-placed”
Andrew Stephenson, Director of Marketing EMEA at Treasure Data:
“Marketers will be welcoming the IPA Bellwether findings with open arms, but they must not lose sight of the macro-economic environment as spikes in consumer spending remain subdued.
“With bigger budgets comes bigger expectations, and it’s crucial that every penny is well-placed. Now is the time for marketers to think in two minds; invest to increase brand awareness in preparation for future spending uplift and act on what can be done to attract consumers today. The spotlight on sales promotions shows marketers are already thinking this way - but how can brands take it further?
“Making the most of marketing budgets in this context calls for robust efforts to understand the nuances behind consumer purchasing behaviour, as well as where and when they engage with adverts, and what message resonates. Actionable first-party data insights will be instrumental to marketers fully understanding their customers this year as their purchasing traits shift and change. Whilst for now they may be confident in their budgets, marketers must ensure they remain diligent in how they put them to work.”
“The benefit of all this [new} activity is that it’s measurable”
Andrew Last, Managing Director, Marketing at Harvard PR:
“As an industry, we’ve seen similar trends in the B2B tech space although we are slightly ahead of the curve. As with previous downturns including the pandemic, tech felt the economic impact early and then bounced back before many other industries. Big tech saw significant challenges in 2022 that continued into early this year, yet green shoots are already starting to emerge throughout this quarter, with market cap increasing $1.5trn in 2023.
“Whilst consumer brands are starting to see an increase in sales promotion activity, B2B tech brands are instead focusing their efforts on a combination of content and account-based marketing to help support their existing customers, with the added benefit of driving upsell opportunities. PR continues to be a staple communication channel, and clients are rapidly integrating this with SEO and digital content to drive inbound. The benefit of all this activity is that it’s measurable, enabling clients to be more accountable and demonstrate ROI back to the business – which is especially crucial at a time when budgets are under increased scrutiny. Looking to Q2 onwards, we expect brand-building and a bigger focus on creativity to re-emerge as part of the tech ‘bounceback’.”
“Investment in main media is increasing but so is investment in areas like Retail Media and automation”
Bhavin Balvantrai, Chief Market Analyst, Omnicom Media Group UK
“It is great to see advertiser sentiment improving as some of the headwinds in the wider economy begin to fade. But as margins are squeezed there is still pressure on advertising budgets and a renewed focus on measurement and accountability to ensure that campaigns are delivering the best outcomes.
“Whilst that involves efficiencies it can also foster innovation. Investment in main media is increasing but so is investment in areas like Retail Media and automation. Successful companies are increasing their data capabilities. That could be by matching their customer data with media owner data, or through using third-party data solutions in areas like geo-targeting to drive their campaign performance. A positive outlook should ensure that we continue to see innovation and adoption in these areas.“
“Continued investment within retail media could hold impressive potential for brands”
Kevin O’Farrell, Associate Vice President of Analytic Partners
“While the crisis remains, the expansion of sales promotion budgets tells us that brands are doing exactly as they should - supporting their customers during tough times. Main media marketing recorded its strongest spend increase in a year, which reflects the increased opportunities we’ve seen in digital media, and retail media in particular.
“In the last year Channel 4’s recent successful retail media trial, which saw a 29% boost in sales for the brands that took part, is a testament to this. Continued investment within this category could hold impressive potential for brands. Looking ahead, while there is initial optimism about rising marketing budgets, the report raises concerns about the prospect of an economic downturn later on in the year. With this in mind, many brands are investing in scenario planning - preparing for two, three or more potential future scenarios and creating data-led simulations to optimise marketing budgets. As trepidation for the future continues, scenario planning could be a company’s strongest asset.
“Sainsbury’s becoming the latest retailer to extend its loyalty initiative to rival Tesco Clubcard, price has become a key battleground”
David Balko, Chief Client Officer, Tribal Worldwide
“The expansion of sales promotion budgets during the cost-of-living crisis is a reflection of brands’ efforts to support customers during difficult times and rising prices. With Sainsbury’s becoming the latest retailer to extend its loyalty initiative to rival Tesco Clubcard, price has become a key battleground and way to grab shoppers’ attention. But converting those tempted by promotions into retained customers will be another story and brands must also consider their broader customer experience strategy.
“While keeping prices low, brands need to focus on engaging with customers and creating a memorable experience, both in-store and online. People want to be part of a story where brand values and missions are aligned with their own – which helps leave a lasting impression and creates a retained customer base. Employee experience should also play a key part in creating loyal customers – a connected employee helps a business stay connected to its customers. Teams at all levels should feel empowered and valued by their organisation to create a successful Total Experience. As this Bellwether report shows marketing investment is holding up, even amid difficult economic times, companies should ensure their brand investment cuts across all aspects of that brand experience.”
“Today’s marketers are ‘veterans in disruption’ having navigated the gnawing uncertainties of Brexit, Covid, Ukraine and rampant inflation”
Richard Exon, Founder, Joint:
“Quarter-on-quarter growth of marketing budgets shows us that in the face of cost increase and UK-wide struggles, the outlook remains positive for the rest of 2023. Perhaps that is because today’s marketers are ‘veterans in disruption’ having navigated the gnawing uncertainties of Brexit, Covid, Ukraine and rampant inflation.
“The most successful brands in 2023 recognise that different consumer segments have wildly different experiences of the cost-of-living crisis. The over 55s are generally the best insulated. As homeowners with smaller mortgages or none at all, they enjoy impressive spending power and have fewer dependents. They want quality and choice from the brands in their lives. The squeezed-middle are having it tough. Millennials in the eye of the storm of growing families, steep rent or mortgage rates, they need meaningful help and guidance from brands. And of course keen value for money.
“Meanwhile Gen Z are impressively unphased. Aged 3-19 when Brexit split the country and educated through lock-down, they are hugely resilient and very demanding of the brands they let into their lives. Marketers and their creative agencies have learned hard lessons recently and are now well placed to understand how best to address their various audiences.”
“In challenging times, marketers seek reassurance in the data”
Neil Cunningham, Co-Owner and CEO, Cream
“Despite the UK averting a full-blown recession in the initial half of 2023, the Bellwether report still shows a rumbling of apprehension regarding a possible economic downturn in the latter part of the year. So, while businesses are increasingly acknowledging the importance of investing in marketing and branding during an economic downturn, it is unsurprising that we are seeing this residual caution lead to an emphasis on forecasting and measurement. There’s also been a clear trend toward tactical creative testing through social content. In challenging times, marketers seek reassurance in the data.
“This report also reflects on the opportunity for business growth from sustainability in the coming years – and again, we are having more ESG focused conversations with clients and the broader impact of marketing decisions. Brands are now looking beyond short term responses. To avoid being left behind, businesses must think past sustainability as a buzzword, and instead make it integral to their business and marketing strategy.
“The key question this survey poses for marketers is “how to avoid the threat of becoming non-essential?”
Rik Moore, Managing Partner Strategy, The Kite Factory
“The understandable continued pessimism about the current financial outlook, is now being kept in check by a renewed optimism. This optimism is coming from a sense that whilst the cost of living crisis is very much real in the here and now, wider factors are slowly improving, giving a greater feeling there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we will get there sooner rather than later. This increased balance is best reflected in the weakest degree of negativity recorded in over a year, shifting from -33.2% previously to -7.1% in this quarter.
“I think the key question this survey poses for marketers is “how to avoid the threat of becoming non-essential?” The survey shows that the biggest revision to current budgets is an 8.2% increase in sales promotions. Investment in sales promotions is smart – crucially it supports your existing customers at a key time (they will appreciate this), whilst it opens up new opportunities to steal share or even open up new audiences as people shop around to maximise budgets. This is particularly key when there is low consumer confidence on Household expenditure, so a good time to offer alternative products and services.”
“For far too long, organisations have relied on last year's campaign or the 'tried and tested' approach”
James Turner, Founder & CEO at Delineate:
"With so much economic uncertainty, it's encouraging to see brands double down in online advertising as a way to connect and build relationships on the platforms where audiences spend most of their time. It goes to show how important audience insights are in a world that is in constant flux, be it the cost-of-living crisis, political uncertainty or the depreciation of third-party cookies that is forcing organisations to develop a strategy based on personal details. Brands that understand how customers' preferences and needs change will be best placed to guide spend and maximise the impact of their products and campaigns.
"For far too long, organisations have relied on last year's campaign or the 'tried and tested' approach. And it’s the lack of quality in consumer data that continues to be a major concern for brands, as inaccuracies will result in misguided campaigns and wasted resources. It is now critical to demonstrate genuine empathy and support, such as Ikea promoting the small joys of saving money by reimaging cult classic, MTV Cribs. These are creative and engaging and show compassion for what consumers are experiencing right now. Often, the thin line between success and failure can be as simple as showing empathy and understanding towards consumers.”
“Reaching consumers at the moment of inspiration removes the journey entirely”
Nick Morgan, Founder & CEO, Vudoo:
"Video content encompassing in-stream checkout experiences are the future. Reaching consumers at the moment of inspiration removes the journey entirely negating the need for the customer having to visit a separate page. And with the right tools in place to plan and measure campaigns, publishers and brands that get it right will reap the rewards."
“Brands realise [video’s] ability to drive performance during times of uncertainty”
Raphaelle Tripet, Managing Director, Demand International, TripleLift:
“It’s no surprise to see investment in video increase as brands realise its ability to drive performance during times of uncertainty, while offering a quality, brand-safe channel to reach consumers. This growth can also be linked to advancements in video advertising technology; providing innovative ways to drive campaign performance through creative.
“It’s positive to see that the report highlights sustainability as an opportunity for growth. For brands investing in video there are already ad packages that allow them to run campaigns across different formats – from native to streaming – as a way to ensure ad spend goes to support publisher sites that focus on sustainable products and initiatives.”
“As conversations around the potential dangers of generative AI grow more heated and third-party cookies become a thing of the past, publishers must prioritise quality and reliability to remain attractive to advertisers”
Sivan Tafla, CEO Total Media Solutions:
“While firms feel positive about their own prospects, they continue to be cautious at an industry-wide level. While overall marketing spend is predicted to expand in the year ahead, budgets for online and print publisher advertising decreased in Q1 this year, representing a downgrade for the fourth consecutive quarter.
“As technological advances present new marketing opportunities, publishers competing for limited ad spend must continue to present demonstrable value to brands advertising online. As conversations around the potential dangers of generative AI grow more heated and third-party cookies become a thing of the past, publishers must prioritise quality and reliability to remain attractive to advertisers.”
"Successful campaigns rely on marketers being agile and course correcting budget allocation when required"
Bridget Arik, Chief Operations Officer, Redmill Solutions:
“During the last quarter, we found global advertisers were increasingly bullish on their spending, but the rising budget allocated to sales promotions betrays an underlying understanding of the continuing impact of economic uncertainty on consumers.
“Successful campaigns rely on marketers being agile and course correcting budget allocation when required, and to do this effectively, analysis and control of the full marketing mix in a single, unified view needs to be prioritised. This will be vital for continuing to build close customer relationships until growth takes a firmer hold.”
“Programmatic display, for example, can be effectively activated to drive branding or campaign performance.”
Toby McAra, CRO, Making Science:
“Feedback from our own clients and prospects mirrors the findings of the report, and indicates that the period of bouncing along the bottom appears to be over. We know traditional TV advertising can be expensive and to see the continuation of increased video advertising budgets shows us that confidence is returning.
“That said, mathematical rigour should still apply. Digital is incredibly powerful and programmatic display, for example, can be effectively activated to drive branding or campaign performance. Brands that combine this approach with a strategic use of their first-party data and a correct attribution model will be amongst those delivering the best return on their increased advertising spend.
“Embracing AI-driven multimedia classification tools on these platforms will be vital”
Csaba Szabo, Managing Director, Integral Ad Science (IAS):
“It’s no surprise to see video budgets once again increasing, despite the economic headwinds still buffeting consumers and brands alike. The increasing reach and scale of this format, thanks to the rapid growth of connected TV (CTV) and popularity of video-based social platforms, makes it a no-brainer for marketers as they look to reach UK consumers.
“In order to stand out from the pack in these video environments, marketers must ensure every penny of their ad budgets is being spent effectively. By harnessing the power of contextual targeting they can grab audience attention across social media platforms, CTV channels, and web sites. Embracing AI-driven multimedia classification tools on these platforms will be vital to ensure both effective campaigns and an enjoyable consumer experience away from any harmful content. Taking this a step further, marketers should also utilise attention metrics to enable a truer insight into the impact of ads on consumers.”
“There continues to be a laser focus on the need to prioritise efficiency and expect every penny invested to boost performance”
Zuzanna Gierlinska, Chief Growth Officer UK, GroupM Nexus:
“Marketer optimism is on the rise in 2023 as demonstrated by the significant uplifts to online video and audio budgets, however there continues to be a laser focus on the need to prioritise efficiency and expect every penny invested to boost performance. Effective cross channel strategies are paramount for maximising value across all advertising mediums and ensuring that each channel works in tandem to deliver against brand-specific KPIs.
“To fully harness the opportunity of cross channel media buying requires intelligent and innovative automation to streamline the complexities of fragmented environments and enable marketers to optimise spend for the channels that drive the best business outcomes.”
“Viewers will reduce their subscriptions and instead utilise ad-supported offerings from the likes of Netflix and Disney+.”
Edward Wale, VP Europe, LG Ad Solutions:
“The continuing growth of video advertising budgets reflects the increasing popularity of CTV, and the success of ad-supported CTV channels. As forecast by the report, consumer purchasing power will likely remain squeezed until 2024, prompting viewers to reduce their subscriptions and instead utilise ad-supported offerings from the likes of Netflix and Disney+. This increased consumer interest in free, ad-supported television (FAST) will further fuel its attractiveness to marketers.
“To ensure a successful impact across CTV channels however, marketers should make sure every advertising decision is driven by audience preferences and habits – and for that, granular data is vital. The ability to monitor audience data across channels and devices, through technology such as automatic content recognition (ACR), allows marketers to accurately target their audience effectively for a streamlined TV campaign.
“Cost pressures have disrupted brand consumer loyalties, so marketers must remain proactive in securing insights beyond their first-party data”
Alison Harding, VP of Data Solutions, Lotame:
“We’ve seen a good lift in data sales in Q1 2023 over last year and nearly on par with the highs of 2021, which tells us that marketers aren’t only spending more, they’re spending smarter. Cost pressures have disrupted brand consumer loyalties, so marketers must remain proactive in securing insights beyond their first-party data that can reveal which channels provide an opportunity to make an impression on price-conscious customers keen to jump ship. This might explain the surprise surge in investment on events, which offer a rare chance to get face time with customers and prospects, as well as the expected boost in sales promotions.”
“These initial signs could bode well for stronger fourth-quarter/holiday campaigns”
Evgeny Popov, EVP, GM International, Verve Group:
“The continued shift to digital comes as no surprise in the current environment where being able to measure ROI is more important than ever. However, the upcoming loss of cookies and identifiers means the biggest growth opportunities will come to those who invest in privacy-centric solutions that can leverage non-personal data to enable accurate targeting and performance measurement.
“With more positive financial prospects ahead, smart marketers will allocate budgets to new technologies and marketing partners that can deliver on this. I expect we will see these allocations grow as brands and merchants plan ahead to later in 2024. These initial signs could bode well for stronger fourth-quarter/holiday campaigns to capture even more revenues than initially planned.”
“One exciting development is the uptick in audio advertising - with podcasts hailed to be one of the biggest growth opportunities in 2023”
Dan Pike, Chief Product Officer, Covatic:
“The results from Q1 2023 show that long-term brand-building goals have not been forsaken despite tough conditions, and the investment in main media marketing alongside sales promotions bodes well for future resilience. One exciting development is the uptick in audio advertising, demonstrating renewed (and well-deserved) confidence in a medium known for its popularity with consumers – with podcasts hailed to be one of the biggest growth opportunities in 2023 [YouGov data, 2023] .
“Nevertheless, ongoing economic uncertainty and closer scrutiny of environmental efforts highlight the need to advance on both of these fronts. Companies can build trust with key audiences and strengthen their business credentials by integrating a sustainable and flexible approach to planning and strategy to meet market and consumer demands.”
“Bringing together fragmented data from multiple platforms and technology solutions will be key”
Lucia Mastromauro, Managing Director, Acceleration UK
“With budgets set to increase, It's vital that marketers are in a position to accurately target and measure their campaigns in a complex privacy and regulatory landscape. Bringing together fragmented data from multiple platforms and technology solutions will be key for businesses that want to reach customers across multiple channels.
“Organisations must prioritise innovation, adopting the latest privacy centric solutions, while experimenting with maturing technologies such as generative AI in order to drive automation and boost efficiency. But only by ignoring the buzz and taking an objective-led approach to testing out technology can they determine which solutions bring genuine business value.”
“Driving loyalty and maintaining a presence is vital to retaining and taking market share”
Paul Thompson, Country Manager, Seedtag:
“Despite the growth of sales promotions during the last quarter, according to the report, it's no surprise to see marketers continuing to invest on the essentials of brand building. Driving loyalty and maintaining a presence is vital to retaining and taking market share, but these promotions provide essential cut through and reward consumers with lower prices .
“As economic and political instability recedes further into the rearview mirror, advertisers who are bold and hold their nerve will find themselves coming out ahead of the competition in the near future.“
“The environmental impact of digital advertising has gone unaddressed for too long”
Vincent Villaret, CEO, IMPACT+:
“The environmental impact of digital advertising has gone unaddressed for too long. The growth of marketing spend in the first quarter of 2023 continues the industry’s upward spending trend, with sales remaining the top priority for brands. However, there’s also an opportunity for advertisers to shift their focus towards sustainable practices, as we continue battling climate change.
“Sustainability is set to play a major role in the near future, a refreshing projection that aligns with the UK government’s increasingly tighter climate regulations. With ESG reporting high on every C-suite’s list of priorities, budgets are expected to move towards sustainable solutions and technologies that support the industry’s expected growth, without further deepening its environmental impact. Reduction of digital advertising impacts should become a guiding rule for any future investments, projects, and partnerships, as more industry players prioritise the environment over dysregulated growth at the planet’s expense.”
“We’re seeing agencies and brands looking for solutions to help balance cost and performance with the need for safe and suitable video inventory”
Emma Lacey, SVP EMEA, Zefr:
“With video advertising budgets rising once again – up by +7.9% – this reinforces the value the format offers to brands looking to enhance their campaigns. While the cost of living crisis is ongoing, the persistent growth and expansion of video over the last quarter is encouraging to see and shows that marketers are seeing the value in investing in this engaging medium.
“It’s key that brands are maximising this video spend by ensuring suitable ad placements. More and more, we’re seeing agencies and brands looking for solutions to help balance cost and performance with the need for safe and suitable video inventory. The digital platforms are also developing tools to help navigate this, and are partnering with third-party verification solutions to provide greater trust and transparency for advertisers.
“With the increase of generative AI tools, and the challenge of deep fakes and misinformation, brand suitability will be under even more scrutiny moving forward.”
“Most CMOs are facing searching questions about return ratios on every outgoing — including not just ad spend, but also ever-climbing technology investment”
Harriet Durnford-Smith, CMO, Adverity:
“Even as budgets keep rising, most CMOs are facing searching questions about return ratios on every outgoing — including not just ad spend, but also ever-climbing technology investment. CMOs will be scrutinised more heavily now than ever, meaning they’ll need crystal-clear results to justify spend.
“Those able to give CFOs and CEOs the most detailed, and accurate, breakdowns will have the best chance of both proving their value and unlocking greater resources by using granular insights to their advantage. Also as tempting as it might be to stick with what feels like safe bets for steady results, there is a high risk that favoured approaches and channels are eventually going to plateau.”
“Extreme spikes driven by pandemic-amplified online interaction were always unsustainable”
Alex Khan, EVP Global Partnerships, Amplified Intelligence:
“While constantly rising digital media spend is now a quarterly expectation, the rate of flow is slowing. Part of this shift is due to inevitable deflation: extreme spikes driven by pandemic-amplified online interaction were always unsustainable. But an equally important factor is unreliable measurement.
“As diminishing cookie viability combines with continued reliance on limited time-in-view insights, marketers are struggling to accurately evidence their impact and make the case for budget increases. To optimise and enhance advertising investments, gaining a precise view of the true human attention campaigns yield across online environments and how that affects short term outcomes and long term objectives will be critical.”
“CTV and retail media opportunities, in particular, are providing new avenues to access consumers”
Pierce Cook-Anderson, Managing Director, UK and Northern Europe, Equativ:
“Given the continued inflationary pressures affecting marketer and consumer budgets alike, it’s no surprise growth in ad spend has slowed. But slowing growth is not the same as no growth, and there are still hotspots of activity for marketers to take advantage of.
“CTV and retail media opportunities, in particular, are providing new avenues to access consumers and though their somewhat nascent nature may require more effort to get to grips with than long established channels. Both provide savvy marketers with an opportunity to secure a first-mover advantage at a time when competitors might prefer to play it safe.”
“Whether using generative AI to power creativity, or decentralised ad exchanges to build radical transparency into operations, the tool kit available to marketers is expanding all the time.”
Ben Putley, CEO and Co Founder, Alkimi:
“Though we’re not yet out of the woods, the tentative optimism we’re seeing this year is a relief compared to the gloom of 2022. The narrowly missed recession and alleviating pressure on consumers have certainly been a major driver of positivity, but it's also hard to ignore the ground-breaking tech that is revolutionising the industry.
“Whether using generative AI to power creativity, or decentralised ad exchanges to build radical transparency into operations, the tool kit available to marketers is expanding all the time. Those who grasp these opportunities with both hands will find themselves ahead of the pack as the economy strengthens.”
“Implementing technological changes that provide greater governance, transparency and efficiency, especially those leveraging AI and automation, is critical for marketing strategies.”
Pierre Naggar, Director of Sales, UK, MINT:
“The current economic climate calls for a need to balance immediate pressures with longer-term brand building goals, without burdening customers with additional costs. With strong investment signals, it’s encouraging to see businesses still believe in marketing to get them through the turbulence.
“To cope with these demands however, brands need to ensure that their campaigns are as effective as can be. To this end, implementing technological changes that provide greater governance, transparency and efficiency, especially those leveraging AI and automation, is critical for marketing strategies.”
“The challenges of becoming more green and continuing to put customers first are not mutually exclusive”
Rob Sewell, CEO, SmartFrame Technologies:
“It is encouraging to see sustainability gaining ground as an opportunity, although this doesn’t come without its challenges – especially at a time when economic pressure remains high. Tighter regulations around sustainability efforts require a change of mindset to meet climate targets.
“Fortunately, the challenges of becoming more green and continuing to put customers first are not mutually exclusive. Smart decisions about tools and sustainable suppliers can help meet demand and limit waste while also opening up avenues for future growth.”
“High inflation and borrowing costs are likely to be with us for some time, so brands can't be complacent”
Ben Cicchetti, VP, Corporate Marketing, InfoSum:
“While it's encouraging to see optimism among UK companies growing, it's important to consider the bigger picture. High inflation and borrowing costs are likely to be with us for some time, so brands can't be complacent. Consumers are becoming increasingly selective about who they spend their money with, so maintaining strong relationships with customers is key. Insufficient data security and privacy practices could cost businesses dearly; both through regulatory sanctions and loss of reputation.
“As the report notes, the surge in main media advertising budgets for the 2023/24 period suggests that brands will be investing in and utilising marketing tools that allow them to reach their audience with relevant and timely advertising. Technology investments need to pay off over the long term, so organisations must assess which platforms and providers can best help them future-proof their targeting, activation and measurement activities. Brands must make the most of their first-party data, while ensuring collaborations with media and data partners are both fruitful and secure.”
“Companies must ensure they blend the traditional disciplines of brand and performance marketing if they are to maximise the value of every campaign”
Anna Forbes, UK Country Director, Azerion UK:
"The results can be welcomed with cautious optimism and it's encouraging to see a growing appetite for marketing activities despite the cost-of-living challenges. However, companies must ensure they blend the traditional disciplines of brand and performance marketing if they are to maximise the value of every campaign for both short-term sales promotions and long-term brand equity"