TUESDAY 9 FEB 2010 1:37 AM


PR budgets fell by just 4% in the last quarter of 2009. This compares with a fall of 24.4% in the previous quarter. The findings, from the most recent IPA/BDO Bellwether report, suggest the communications industry may be over the worst of the recession.

In fact, marketing spend fell for the ninth quarter running in the final quarter of last year but with the rate of budget trimming at its slowest since the first quarter of 2008.

There was other positive news for 2010, with preliminary data indicating that average marketing budgets are set to be higher than actual spend in 2009. Meanwhile 35% of firms surveyed saw improving prospects for the industry. This represents the highest level of confidence in almost five years.

Andy Viner, head of media, BDO LLP, commented: “The survey results are good news for the marketing services sector. After nine consecutive quarters of reduced marketing spend, it appears that the rate of decline is at its slowest in nearly two years.

“There are a number of indicators to demonstrate that confidence is returning, with companies being upbeat about their own sectors and their corporate performance. Marketing budgets in 2010 are now set to grow with companies re-thinking their budget allocation, for example, the spend in areas such as online advertising are due to increase significantly. Unsurprisingly, companies are continuing to seek cost effective and flexible options where the return on investment can be measured.”

The Bellwether Report features data drawn from a panel of around 300 UK marketing professionals.