Events budgets return to steady growth, Bellwether Report finds

UK companies increased their marketing spend in Q1 2019, in contrast to flatlining budgets at the end of last year.

Events budgets across the UK have grown steadily during the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, according to the latest IPA Bellwether Report.

The quarterly report, which surveys marketing spend among a range of companies and sectors, found that events budgets grew 3.4% in Q1 2019.

Overall marketing budgets (which include categories such as main media advertising, internet SEO and mobile advertising) increased 8.7% in Q1, up markedly from a stagnating 0% at the end of 2018.

"This sharp increase, following Q4 2018’s flatlining, signals that UK marketing budgets have received a much-needed kiss of life in an economy gripped by Brexit uncertainty," said Paul Bainsfair, IPA’s director general.

"The smart marketers realise that to grow their businesses, they must invest in them, particularly in mass reach, long-term media.

"While the forecast for the year ahead remains uncertain given the seemingly endless Brexit negotiations, those that want real competitive advantage should follow the proven rule that if you increase your share of voice above your share of market, you should expect to experience growth."

The report also found plenty of companies that are wary of competitive pressure, leading them to diversify product offerings to enter new markets and attract new clients.

Around 21.6% of panel members observed spending growth in marketing budgets, compared to 12.8% registering budget cuts.

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