A Peterborough-based marketing expert
claims that the latest Chartered Institute of Marketing's trends
survey suggests that marketing professionals across the UK think an
economic upturn is just around the corner - but that they are not
Michael Holland, director of Smye
Holland Associates and a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)
member, said: "The institute's latest survey data shows a curious
mixture of confidence and caution.
"The marketing staff responding
to the survey told researchers that many of them are revising upwards
their predictions of sales growth. At the same time, they were
expressing grave doubts that these predictions would be achieved.
"This combination of optimism and
doubt suggests an economy which is at a turning point. Which way it
will turn, though, seems still to be open to question."
The latest CIM marketing trends survey
shows planned sales growth more than 50 per cent higher than in the
same survey just three months ago. The new plans are the most
optimistic recorded in the past year.
However, this optimism has to be set
against a rather dismal reality. Actual sales growth over the past
year has been just 0.1 per cent, the lowest level ever recorded,
compared with 3.5 per cent in the previous year.
As a consequence, companies'
confidence in achieving their new predictions of sales growth is
rather poor. The CIM's 'confidence index', which tracks the faith
which marketers have in their own ability to meet the sales budgets
set by their companies, has fallen to 84.9, its second-lowest ever
Michael Holland said: "We are
seeing companies playing safe by keeping their own marketing
expenditure down, even though their own predictions indicate rising
levels of activity.
"There is a clear opportunity
here for the bravest companies to secure a significant competitive
advantage by backing their forecasts with hard cash. If there is an
upturn around the corner, it is those companies which invest now in
activities designed to secure enquiries and orders which will be in
the best position to exploit it."