Marketers More Bullish Than Agencies on Traditional Media Spend

January 10, 2012

rsw-us-2012-marketing-spending-changes-by-clients-jan12.gifA greater proportion of marketers than agencies believe that spending on traditional media such as direct mail (25% vs. 17%), print (22% vs. 8%), and radio (18% vs. 3%) will increase this year as compared to 2011, with the proportions expecting spend to increase on TV relatively on par, according to [download page] a survey released in January 2012 by RSW/US. And although the survey shows that increases in digital media spending will outpace that of traditional media, marketers’ planned increases do not appear to match agency expectations: a higher proportion of agencies than marketers expect spending to increase in social media (89% vs. 63%), mobile (72% vs. 46%), SEO (66% vs. 48%), and banner advertising (55% vs. 30%).

According to December 2011 figures from Kantar Media, outdoor (3.2%), TV (3.2%), and radio (1.1%) led all media in Q3 2011 year-over-year ad spend gains, while internet and newspaper ad spending declined 2.9% and 3.7%, respectively.

Agencies, Upbeat on Economy, Forecast Higher Spending

65% of agencies feel the economy is on the uptick, while 17% say it is not, compared to 45% and 24% of marketers, respectively. Buoyed by this optimism, agencies are 34% more likely than marketers to believe that marketer spend will increase this year (55% vs. 41%) and 53% less likely to believe that spend will decrease (9% vs. 19%). 2 in 5 marketers anticipate no change in spending this year, which RSW/US insight indicates may be a reflection of how spends will be allocated, meaning that more dollars are placed into less expensive digital media.

Marketers Forecast Steady Staffing Levels

Data from the “2012 RSW/US New Year Outlook Report” indicates that roughly two-thirds of the marketers surveyed anticipate neither increasing nor declining their personnel headcount, although a greater proportion expect an increase than a decrease (25% vs. 7%). By contrast, 64% of agencies expect their staff size to increase this year, compared to just 7% who anticipate a decrease.

Agency enthusiasm may be a result of a wave of new business opportunities: 45% say they saw an increase in opportunities in 2011 as compared to 2010, while just 21% experienced a decrease. Additionally, 72% forecast new business opportunities to continue this year, compared to only 1% who expect a decrease relative to 2010.

Ad Biz Getting More Competitive

New business may be driving more competition between agencies, though: the vast majority (83%) believe that the business of advertising has become more competitive over the past 3-4 years. As a result, 82% expect to become somewhat (43%) or much more (39%) aggressive in their approaches to winning new business this year.

About the Data: The RSW/US survey was completed by over 100 senior level marketers and over 100 agency principals from agencies of different types/sizes during December, 2011. The agency sample came from a database of marketing service companies ranging in size from under $5M in capitalized billings to over $100M. The disciplines of each agency varied from full service advertising to digital, to marketing consultancies. The client sample came from the RSW/US database of over 20,000 marketing decision maker contacts. Client company size, location, and size varied.

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