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Modest increase in marketing budgets recorded by latest Bellwether report

Marketing budgets have seen a small increase in recent months a new survey has found.

The latest IPA/BDO Bellweather survey has revealed that marginal increases were recorded in marketing budgets, following a recent downgrade on spend in the previous quarter.

A similar proportion of companies reported an increase as did a decline, which resulted in a net balance of 0.5 percent.

Optimism has apparently declined over the financial prospects of companies for their industries, however marketing spend seems to be improving with internet advertising seeing the fastest rate of budget growth, which has meant an impact has been recorded on media budgets, while direct marketing has seen its largest growth rate in four years.

Meanwhile, below-the-line routes such as PR and events, alongside sales promotion, has been revised down.

Rory Sutherland, IPA President and vice-Chairman of Ogilvy Group UK, commented: “Though these latest figures suggest hesitancy they don’t indicate absolute pessimism. In these times of uncertainty around Government spending and the sustainability of an economic recovery it is not surprising that businesses remain cautious. And even though the upward revisions to marketing budgets are only slight, marketing budgets have stabilised nevertheless.”

Andy Viner, head of media for BDO LLP added: "The upwards revision to marketing budgets, albeit marginal, is a welcome sign of optimism and we expect to see marketing expenditure as a whole rise in 2010. Internet advertising continues to exhibit the fastest rate of growth, as firms recognise the importance of a greater on-line presence and look for increasing return on investment through technology-led marketing solutions, while maintaining a flexible business model.

"However, the overall outlook is one of caution with companies having to respond operationally to the changing commercial landscape. We are seeing them take a tentative approach to the commitment of non-essential expenditure against a continued backdrop of looming public sector cuts and general economic uncertainty."

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