Study: Canadian marketers optimistic, adapting to new landscape

June 25, 2012  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

Canadian marketers are “moderately optimistic” in the face of continued global economic uncertainty and consumer unease, a new survey has found.

The second iteration of the Association of Canadian Advertisers’ (ACA) “Marketer’s Pulse” study surveyed 54 senior-level marketing executives about factors including revenue/sales expectations, marketing budgets and perspectives on consumer confidence.

The study found the majority of respondents (56.6%) expect their company’s sales/revenues to increase over the next six months, down slightly from 57.7% in the first “Marketer’s Pulse” survey in March. In addition, 37.7% of respondents predicted their company’s sales and revenues would remain the same.

However, there was almost an exact three-way split between respondents when asked about marketing budgets, with 35.2% indicating a stable budget, 33.3% indicating an increased budget and 31.5% a decreased budget.

The report also suggests a perception of improved consumer confidence among respondents, with 22% indicating they expected their consumers’ confidence would increase in the next six months – up from 13.3% in the March study.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a trend, but it’s an interesting note,” said Susan Charles, vice-president of membership services for the ACA.

The study also found that almost 60% of respondent organizations are in the process of adapting their marketing structure to the current landscape. “There’s some evolution taking place,” said Charles. “Even though business seems to be stable to improving internally, there is an understanding that this evolution needs to continue.”

Interestingly, two-thirds of respondents described their digital marketing acumen as average or below average, while almost 90% said they are currently looking to add digital resources – either in-house or externally.

While 60% of respondents said they were not planning to make any changes to their agency roster, the remaining 40% were almost evenly split between clients planning to increase or decrease the number of agency partners.

The primary reasons respondents provided for increasing the size of their agency roster was bringing in more specialized agencies in digital/social marketing services, while the primary reason for reducing the number of agency partners was to find efficiencies in cost and management processes.

While Charles stressed that it is not indicative of any trend, one respondent also indicated their intention to bring digital expertise in-house. “We do know there is an issue with clients trying to manage this amazing matrix of all these different marcom partners,” said Charles.

A majority of respondents (57.4%) also indicated their company’s procurement department is working with the marketing department to manage agency relationships, though in the majority of cases the procurement department’s involvement was company mandated rather than requested by the marketing department.

Is your company also bringing in more agencies that specialize in digital? Does your procurement department now work more closely with your marketing department? Tell us how your group is changing in our comments section.

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