Marketing communications channels are multiplying – how and why marketing dollars shift among them is critical to the advertising and media communities. The ACA, in partnership with exclusive sponsor, The Toronto Star, and with the research services of Strategic Marketing Counsel, conducted a survey late last year where we investigated budgets in various MarCom channels, the change in budget sizes for 2007 & 2008, and projections for 2009. The information provides critical insights into the Canadian market, although the small sample base (54) means we can consider it neither representative nor projectable.
There’s been a lot of speculation since the start of the year about marketing spending shifts from medium to medium: what’s being cut, what’s being held, delayed, increased, etc. Below is a snapshot of some of the key findings. ACA members can order a copy of the full report by contacting Susan Charles at email@example.com.
74 percent of respondents predicted no real change in budgets from 2008 to 2009. Total reported MarCom expenditures changed less than one percent over the three years reported in this survey. Was this based on plans already in place that hadn’t yet been revised to address the new reality of a recession? Or was it wishful thinking? We’ll know more when we conduct the next wave of research and 2009 budgets are reported as actual. Stay tuned.
Online budget share has increased at the expense of newspapers and TV. Online gains of 1.4 share points in 2008 came mainly at the expense of newspapers and gains of 2.2 share points in 2009 came mainly at the expense of TV. Budget changes for all other MarCom channels are less than one share point.
The number of respondents who used each MarCom channel remained constant over the three reported years, with the exception of online. The number of respondents using online (46 of 54) has caught up to TV. The momentum of its increased use and budget-share is generating tonnes of buzz, although TV has four times the budget of online right now. The big question is where the watershed level for each medium will be as their role within the MarCom mix evolves – ROI will drive greater scrutiny of each medium and the resultant changes in their budgets.
65 percent of respondents used four to seven channels for their MarCom programs in 2008 and 2009. However, there was no correlation between budget size and number of channels used. In fact, the only MarCom channel with a dominant budget-share (more than 30 percent) was TV, with 46 percent of respondents.
There was a disconnect between the use of a given MarCom channel and the confidence that the channel could deliver on objectives. However, there is an overall consistency in that TV delivered the highest confidence ratings at 5.1 on a scale of 1 – 7, followed by online.
In summary, shifts in budget size and re-allocation of budgets from one MarCom channel to another appear to be modest. The real story is about TV and online: the question might not be which one is gaining and which one is losing, but how they become equals at the strategic planning table, and how they can work together.
- Susan Charles - Vice President, Member Services
Susan Charles develops ACA member resources for better practices related to the management of MarCom and directs a variety of programs designed to enhance the members’ marketing success. Prior to joining ACA in 2000, she held a number of senior positions at major advertising agencies, as well as serving in a variety of marketing roles on the client side.