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How Does It Feel…………….

First published by Taylor OBrien in 2011

So last week saw ‘Blue Monday’ come and go.

Felt just like another day in the office to me. Maybe we’ve just got used to it, maybe all Mondays are like that.

Much  more importantly this week saw the release of the latest IPA/BDO Bellwether report, which as it was reported in the press was indeed something to make us all feel blue (I’ll keep that New Order motif going if it kills me).

It told us that for the last quarter of 2010 22% of marketers had revised their budgets down compared to 17% who were increasing their investment, meaning that overall budgets were down 5.4%, the steepest fall for over a year. It also told us that confidence was at its lowest point for 18 months.

I may be clutching at straws here but three things stuck out for me.

Firstly if 22% of marketers are decreasing their budgets then doesn’t that mean 78% are remaining static or increasing?

Also, hidden away in the reporting was that 2011 budgets are reported to be set at a higher level than 2010. Finally it reported that highly accountable channels reported rises in budget.

And it’s not just a random piece of research either, Marketing Week’s survey taken in October told us that 83% of budgets were remaining static or increasing, with measurable and responsive channels growing (Marketing Week Webinar, Winning with Multichannel Marketing in the New Economy, 2011).

OK we’re not planning retirement and thinking about the Barbadian villa just yet, but aren’t they positive things? Shouldn’t we be giving these figures a little more prominence, or maybe that doesn’t suit the agenda?

More and more people we speak to are looking up and forward into 2011 and talking about increased budgets, increasing activity, adding people to their teams and generally being positive about this year.  

Maybe it’s all relative, maybe we hit a low point in 2010 and we can only go one way. Maybe no one wants to curse the optimism by being the one to be speak out but there is certainly a will that wasn’t around during the last six months of 2010. Whether this will is a) enough to sustain us through the traditional April breakpoint and b) going to translate into demonstrable action is yet to be proven, but at least it’s there this year.

I think we’ve all learnt lessons from the recent past, and only the foolhardy would shout ‘recovery’ from the rooftops, but plenty of people are whispering it.

Some commentators are suggesting that we’ve plunged the real depths of recession, had our time of reflection and now it’s time to seize the opportunity? Where are we in terms of recovery? The truth is we won’t know until we’re out the other side and maybe 2011 may generate more confusion before the real picture appears, but as long as we’re not left in a state of shellshock then we’ve got a chance.

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