Marketers are less glum now than they were a year ago about their business prospects and the economy, according to a new survey from the Association of National Advertisers. The organization polled 143 of its marketer members in January for this latest survey.
The survey indicates that while marketers are still cutting budgets, planned reductions are less drastic than ones made over the past 18 months.
Eighty-three percent of survey respondents report that they continue to identify cost savings and reductions in their current marketing and advertising efforts. While that represents a high percentage of respondents, this is improved from six months ago (87 percent), one year ago (93 percent) and 18 months ago (87 percent).
"Though a vast majority of marketers continue to identify cost savings and reductions, the industry is finally beginning to show more optimism," said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA. "While it appears as though cutting costs may be the new reality, even when times are good, our series of surveys suggest that the deepest cuts may have already been made."
Only seven percent of those surveyed said they were planning reductions greater than 20 percent, compared to 30 percent who said they were planning cuts that big last summer. And a little over 40 percent of respondents reported planning to reduce marketing budgets by up to 5 percent versus the 22 percent who said they were planning cuts that small last summer.
Looking ahead, a majority of those polled said they didn't anticipate marketing budget cutbacks in the next six months, with 59 percent indicating they expected no change and 19 percent expecting an increase.
Based on the January results, the ANA concluded: "The recession may be officially over, but it appears that marketers have reset their expectations and a greater degree of frugality has set in. Cost savings and reductions may be the "new normal" even as the economy improves. However, the deepest cuts are likely to have already been made."