The Q1 report found that there was a strong upward revision to marketing budgets related to events, with a net balance of +6.3% revising their budgets up, compared with +0.6% in the last quarter. It represented the highest reading since Q2 2015.
Around 22% of the survey panel signalled an upward revision, compared to just under 16% that recorded a downward revision.
Patrick Reid, CEO EMEA of Imagination, attributed the healthier growth in event budgets to changing market demands. "We believe that the strong growth in this category signals that experiences are becoming increasingly powerful; meaningfully reaching more people than ever before, as well as being truly measurable, through social media and smart technology. This combination means marketers are turning to experiences to deliver the results they want."
For marketing budgets as a whole, The Bellwether survey indicated a slower growth, with 21% of companies recording a rise in budgets and 18% recoding a decrease. The resulting net balance of +3% was better than the +0.5% seen at the end of last year, though it remained down on levels seen throughout much of the preceding two-and-a-half years.
According to Paul Smith, senior economist at Markit and author of the Bellwether Report, the latest survey shows that the market is experiencing a ‘period of flux’. "On the one hand, economic and financial prospects have taken somewhat of a nosedive – probably not helped by uncertainty around EU membership – and that’s led to those holding company purse strings to adopt ongoing prudence and caution when committing funds to areas such as marketing.
A recent C&IT report echoed these thoughts, with event planners admitting they were wary of the instability that surrounded the EU referendum.
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