Q3 2022 Bellwether Report

Total UK marketing budget growth slows as cost-of-living crisis dents UK economy.

The IPA Bellwether Report is a quarterly survey outlining companies’ marketing spend intentions and financial confidence.

The Bellwether Report is researched and published by S&P Global on behalf of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising. The report features original data drawn from a panel of around 300 UK marketing professionals and provides a key indicator of the health of the economy. The survey panel has been carefully selected to represent all key business sectors, drawn primarily from the nation’s top 1000 companies.

Key findings from the Q3 2022 IPA Bellwether Report:

  • Total marketing budgets increase by a net balance of +2.1% - the slowest pace since Q1 2021
  • Events remain a key avenue of marketing growth but budget cuts seen elsewhere
  • Financial outlook at its most downbeat since the start of the pandemic
  • Adspend forecast for 2022 revised higher to 3.7% as UK government's energy support package provides relief for households and firms

Commenting on the latest survey, Paul Bainsfair, IPA Director General said:

"We know from analysis of additional S&P500 data and new data from the FTSE 100 benchmarks that strong brands are a critical strategic asset that deliver value and that their budgets are an investment not a cost. Furthermore, we see from this data that strongly branded companies recover quickly after a crisis and retain their performance. We appreciate, however, that while increasing or maintaining investment in marketing during these tough economic times is generally the ideal thing for companies to do, it is not necessarily the easiest thing to do – as these latest Bellwether results imply. But there are ways around this.

"Instead of slashing budgets that can lose brands their customers’ awareness and subsequent market share, our experts would advise that after optimising their pricing and promotions strategy, which would usually include supporting with brand advertising, companies tweak their brands’ marketing budgets subject to their geography, portfolio, channels and media – all of which will have variations that can also be optimised accordingly. Equally, we’d advocate a longer-term approach that steers away from heavy sales activations which can erode brand loyalty and lose companies profit."