Investing through Tough Times: Industry Responds to IPA Bellwether Report for Q4 2023

MSQ’s CEO Pete Reid spoke with LBB about his cautiously positive response to the news that UK marketing budgets were revised up to their strongest level in almost a decade in Q4 2023.

This week’s IPA Bellwether Report reflects a marked improvement in the prospects of the UK’s marketing sector, even while the economic climate is less rosy. The quarterly survey of UK marketing professionals from the nation’s top companies showed total UK marketing budgets revised up to their strongest level in almost a decade in Q4 2023, suggesting that despite a rough backdrop for UK businesses, many companies opted to remain proactive in the market, instead of withdrawing into cost-saving mode.

Looking back on Q4 2023 and ahead to Q1 2024, LBB collected the following reactions from UK business leaders.

Peter ReidGlobal chief executive officer at MSQ Partners

There are definitely some positives to take. It’s showing that businesses are recognising the importance of the need to continue investing through tough times – and the role that marketing as a whole can play in that. 

But despite the positive headlines I think it’s really important to have a reality check and recognise that things will remain fairly choppy for a good while yet. 

On the ground, the reality is that budgets are being shifted, if not cut. They’re being shifted into short-term media such as direct response, at the expense of longer-term media channels. 

For a sustained upturn, you need those businesses committing to long-term projects and wider brand-building activity. Which, depending on the sector and individual company performance, may take time. 

From an agency perspective, that means having the agility to be able to shift between approaches as required by clients, as well as the maturity and ability to guide them along the journey and allow them to take both short and long-term action.

This article first appeared on LBB here.

J.