Eighty percent of today's investment analysts examine marketing expenditure in the companies they cover. More analysts also cite the strength of a company's brands and marketing as an important factor for their appraisal of stock exchange listed businesses than the quality of their leadership or record of technological innovation.
Yet when businesses are under-performing, marketing budgets are some of the first to be cut. The resulting reductions in marketing expenditure are often viewed in financial markets as a positive short-term cost saving with less attention paid to their impact on the future performance of brands and businesses.
'Marketing is an investment', the IPA's new publication, examines why marketing budgets continue to be vulnerable to short-term cuts despite increased understanding of how brands and marketing contribute to the bottom line. Written by former City analyst Ian Whittaker, Founder and Managing Director of Liberty Sky Advisors consultancy, and expanded from his presentation at EffWorks Global 2023, the report presents evidence and arguments about why marketing expenditure is still too often seen as a cost to be managed in line with a company's near-term outlook when brand-building marketing is really an investment in its future.
Building on IPA/Brand Finance data showing analysts who engage more with companies' marketing strategies and their communications about financial results tend to have more positive views about marketing spend, the report encourages corporate client marketers to reach out more to analysts and broader financial audiences and to make a more convincing case that brand building marketing is an investment through action in five suggested areas.
We are conscious that changing attitudes to marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. The messages and recommendations in this report will need to be continually reinforced and supported by the right research and communication. However, when it succeeds, this journey could cement understanding of the central role of marketing investment in generating long-term value for businesses.