2006 went out with strong marketing spend: ICA/Canada Post survey

Marketing budgets were boosted in all categories in Q4, adding up to the strongest marketing spend growth recorded since the survey began in 2003, and signaling buoyant growth in '07.

Upward revision to current marketing budgets in Q4 for all categories was not only the second-strongest seen over the past two-and-a-half years, but the strongest since the quarterly surveys co-sponsored by the Institute of Communications and Advertising (ICA) and Canada Post began in 2003. Fully 22% of companies reported upward budget revisions, while only 9% reported downward revisions. The just-released quarterly survey of marketing budgets was conducted by NTC Research.

The survey predicts further robust growth for the coming year, with budgets boosted by healthy profits and business expansion plans. The largest gains were seen in online as well as traditional modes of media advertising. Provisional data on new budget setting for the 2007-08 accounting year (based on responses from around 75% of the survey panel) indicate that marketing budgets have been set higher than for 2006-07. Half of all companies have reported an increase in spend, compared with just 17% reporting a decrease.

Main media advertising: Current media advertising budgets were revised up substantially in Q4. For the second consecutive quarter, improvement to media budgets was the largest of all main marketing categories.

Direct marketing:
Current direct marketing budgets were revised up in Q4, rounding off a good year for direct marketing which, over the course of 2006 as a whole, saw higher upward revisions on average than any other category with the sole exception of Internet marketing.

Sales promotions: Sales promotions budgets saw the weakest rise of all marketing categories in Q4 (albeit by only a small margin), suggesting a slightly below par performance and loss of share.

All other: The ‘all other’ marketing category enjoyed the second-strongest upward revision seen over the past two-and-a-half years in Q4, but looks set to have under-performed compared with the competing main marketing categories over last year as a whole. Given that this category includes fast-growing Internet activities, other constituents – such as sponsorship, PR and corporate communications – are likely to have seen disappointing growth last year. But this is set to change next year, as data on initial annual budget setting for 2007-08 indicate that ‘all other’ marketing is set to enjoy the fastest growth of all main survey categories.

Internet marketing: Continued to be revised up in Q4, as it has throughout the survey’s history. But the extent of the rise was the weakest seen over the past year-and-a-half. The rate of growth nevertheless still far outstripped that of all other categories, suggesting that the Internet continued to acquire an increased share of total marketing spend (estimated at 5%).

Further details are available from: www.warc.combellwether.