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22:02 on Tuesday
6 May 2003

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Marketing professionals think economic upturn is here


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 entirely convinced.

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 level.

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."

May 2002

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Contact:
Mike Holland
Smye Holland Associates
63 Park Road
Peterborough
PE1 2TN
Tel: 01733 564906

Smye Holland Associates

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