However, the 4.6 per cent target is still higher than the 3.5 per cent
sales growth that companies expected three months ago and the negative
outlook in East Anglia is in sharp contrast to a national picture of
greater confidence among marketing managers. The CIM’s national ‘confidence
index’ has risen to a seven-year high of 98.5 compared with 89.7 in
This increased confidence does not
reflect improvements in the underlying economy, says Michael Holland,
director of Peterborough-based marketing and public relations
consultancy Smye Holland Associates, who is one of the CIM’ s survey
panel. “Marketers appear to be downgrading their sales plans and
marketing budgets to very cautious levels.
“There is a danger that cutting
advertising, sales and other marketing budgets could result in
long-term damage to future growth prospects. Past experience reveals
that firms that maintain their marketing efforts during difficult
economic conditions rebound much faster than others when the economy
The survey reveals that most industry
sectors are more positive about their prospects for 2003 compared with
last year with food, drink and tobacco expecting 5.5 per cent growth
and financial services aiming for 13 per cent.
Small firms (those with less than £1
million turnover) are the most optimistic with 8.6 per cent sales
growth targets, closely followed by firms in the £1-£10 million
bracket with 7.8 per cent expectations.
In a separate section of the survey
marketing managers were asked whether brands were presented with
credibility and responsibility through different advertising media.
Respondents in East Anglia were 100 per cent in favour of newspaper,
radio and poster advertisements with only a 60 per cent score for
cinema, 40 per cent for television and 20 per cent for children’s
Eighty per cent of East Anglia
respondents also believed that parental control and European Union
legislation were the best ways of regulating advertising to children,
followed by 60 per cent for government legislation and 40 per cent for
a voluntary code.