Marketers Report Positive Outlook as Year Comes to a Close

December 21, 2012

Warc-GlobalMarketingIndex-By-Region-Sep-Dec-2012-Dec2012Marketers around the world are generally optimistic as 2012 draws to a close, finds Warc [pdf] in its latest Global Marketing Index (GMI). The index, which is comprised of budget, trading conditions, and staffing components, improved to a reading of 52.5 in December, its highest level since September (52.9). (A score above 50 indicates a generally improving environment, while a score below 50 indicates a generally declining environment.)

In December, marketers in both the Americas (56.8, up from 53.2) and the Asia-Pacific (51.5, up from 51.2) improved their positive outlook, while those in Europe (49.7) skirted with the threshold score of 50, after falling to 48.2 in November.

Budgets Still on the Decline

Warc-Global-Mktg-Budgets-Dec-2012While optimism prevailed overall, the budget component of the index continues to drag down the overall headline GMI. This month, the budget score stood at 47.2, up from a year-long low of 46 in November, but still representing a declining state of affairs. In the Americas, the budget index score was 50.2, barely above the threshold of 50, where it stood in November.

In the Asia-Pacific region, the budget score edged up slightly to 48, but remained in negative territory. And in Europe, the score remained firmly negative, at 44.8 (from 42.6).

Staffing Levels Improve, but Recruitment Challenges Remain

The global index of staffing levels grew to 53 after registering its lowest score of 51.4 in November. In the Americas, marketers reported a rapidly improving level of employment, with a score of 59.2, with the readings for Asia-Pacific (51) and Europe (50.2) closer to neutral.

New survey results from The Creative Group confirm a positive staffing outlook in the US. Roughly one-third of the marketing and advertising executives surveyed said they are looking to fill design or marketing positions in the first quarter of 2013, with advertising executives more likely to do so.

Still, the respondents report some challenges in filling those roles. About 4 in 10 say it’s difficult to find skilled creatives today. Interestingly, while midsize ad agencies are the most likely to say they’re looking to hire (62%), they’re also the most likely to report challenges in finding the right professionals (61%).

Other Findings:

  • The top areas marketing and advertising executives expect to hire in during the first quarter of 2013 are: account services (13%); social media (9%); media services (9%); and brand/product management (8%).
  • Asked the factors most important when hiring advertising and marketing professionals, a plurality of respondents cited teamwork and collaboration skills (39%), with creativity (16%) and attention to detail (16%) trailing distantly. Reliability (14%) and drive (10%) were seen as relatively less important.
  • Warc’s trading conditions index improved to a healthy score of 57.1, up from 53.4, and the highest reading since May. The score for the Americas grew to 61.1, indicating a rapidly improving environment. Asia-Pacific (55.6) was next, followed by Europe (54.1).

About the Data: Warc’s global panel (1,225 members) consists of experienced executives working for brand owners, media owners, creative and media agencies and other organisations serving the marketing industry. The panel has been carefully selected to reflect trends in the three main global regions: Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.

Data collection period: 3-14 December 2012. The Global Marketing Index results are calculated by taking the percentage of respondents that report that the activity has risen (“Increasing”) and adding it to one-half of the percentage that report the activity has not changed (“Unchanged”). Using half of the “Unchanged” percentage effectively measures the bias toward a positive (above 50 points) or negative (below 50 points) index. As an example of calculating a diffusion index, if the response is 40% “Increasing,” 40% “Unchanged,” and 20% “Reducing,” the Diffusion Index would be 60 points (40% + [0.50 x 40%]). A value of 50 indicates “no change” from the previous month.

The national staffing study was developed by The Creative Group and conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on more than 500 telephone interviews — approximately 375 with marketing executives randomly selected from companies with 100 or more employees and 125 with advertising executives randomly selected from agencies with 20 or more employees.

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