Most Client-Side Marketers Still Challenged to Find Cost Savings

ANA-Cost-Savings-Pressures-Client-Marketers-2009-2013-Apr201382% of marketers agree that with the current economic conditions, they’re challenged with identifying cost savings and reductions in their marketing and advertising efforts, per results from an Association of National Advertisers (ANA) survey. That’s down slightly from 84% last year and a high of 93% at the beginning of 2009, but remains above 2011’s 77%. The ANA conclues that “there will always be pressures on budgets, even in the best of times.”

Among the respondents who said they’re challenged with identifying cost-saving mechanisms, two-thirds said they are planning to reduce their budgets by 10% or less, virtually on par with the proportion who said the same last year. The top ways in which these marketers plan to reduce costs are by restricting department travel and expenses (58%), challenging agencies to reduct expenses and identify cost reductions (55%), reducing advertising campaign media budgets (46%) and eliminating or delaying new projects (44%).

While the majority will put the same cost-saving pressure on agencies than they feel themselves, only 15% said they will reduce agency compensation. While that’s not down significantly from last year (17%), it’s a marked difference from responses in 2011 (37%) and 2010 (35%).

Fewer respondents this year also plan to reduce their spending on research (13% vs. 18% last year) and alter their mix of marketing channels to lower-cost channels (30% vs. 40%), but more will eliminate or delay new projects (44% vs. 36%) and use freelancers to fill open positions rather than hire full-timers (26% vs. 21%), among others.

The ANA results showing continued pressure on budgets come on the heels of more positive news from Warc, which indicate that marketing budgets have been improving early this year.

About the Data: The ANA report covers the findings from an online survey conducted by the ANA during January 2013. The ANA initiated the survey in the depths of the recession in 2009 as marketers experienced a decided push to reduce their budgets. This is the seventh edition, and likely the last, of the Recession Survey, as the economy is recovering and the ANA is seeing a stabilization of budgets. The objective of the survey is to understand how the current economic atmosphere is affecting client-side marketers.

In total, 120 client-side marketers are represented in the 2013 survey. Participants include members of the ANA survey community who are periodically surveyed on a range of timely, industry-related topics. Respondents to this survey have 15 years of experience in marketing, on average.