Tough year expected for marketers

Nearly half of marketers in the manufacturing and engineering sectors expect the economy and their own company’s business prospects to improve over the next year, despite a drop in anticipated sales figures.

This is according to The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s latest Marketing Trends Survey (Autumn 2009), which was published this month.

The survey indicated that 47 per cent of marketers in the manufacturing and engineering sectors now expect the economy to improve over the next year – only 11 per cent of marketers from these sectors expected the economy to improve this time last year. 

It also revealed that 48 per cent of marketers in the manufacturing and engineering sectors believe that business for their own organisation will improve in the next 12 months, a 12-point increase from six months ago.

Anticipated sales figures for this financial year show an average predicted figure of -0.3 per cent, which is a decline from spring 2009, when it was +0.1 per cent, and a significant drop from the expected growth of +2.5 per cent 12 months ago.

This compares with an expected sales growth of +1.9 per cent across all UK sectors.

The views about sales plans have remained unchanged, according to the survey.

About 59 per cent consider their sales plan to be ‘challenging’ (similar to spring 2009) and just a tenth said that their sales plan will be ‘overachieved’.

Commenting on the findings, David Thorp, director of research and professional development at The Chartered Institute of Marketing, said: ‘2010 will be a challenging year for manufacturing-sector marketers, with the slow progress of the economic recovery, the UK general election and a growing presence of digital and social media.

‘It is good to see that marketers in the manufacturing and engineering sectors have an improved positive outlook, but they need to respond to customer needs by modifying their products and services.

‘For now, marketers are wisely concentrating their hard-won budgets in the most effective activities and still see the need to invest in training.

‘As we move into the New Year, I’m convinced this more professional approach will stand them in good stead when the economy fully recovers.’

The survey also found that most companies in the manufacturing and engineering sectors see marketing as high priority, but issues remain about securing marketing budget.

About 61 per cent of marketers in the manufacturing and engineering sectors felt that marketing is viewed as a ‘high priority’ within their company’s business strategy.

Yet the same percentage of survey participants said that securing budget for marketing activities was ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ difficult, up five percentage points from spring 2009, when it was 56 per cent.

A total of 1,198 marketing professionals completed the online questionnaire, which was hosted by the independent market research organisation Ipsos MORI, between 1 and 26 October 2009.

Of these, 193 were marketers working in the manufacturing or engineering and infrastructure sectors.