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ANA: Marketing Expenditure Outlook Darkens

The Association of National Advertisers released a new survey Tuesday that found 37% of marketers were going to reduce their budgets by more than 20%. That is up from the 21 percent that said they would do so in an August survey, before the bottom dropped out of the stock market and credit markets.

Cuts were up across the board from the August survey, with 77% saying they were cutting advertising campaign media budgets compared to 69% in the August survey; 87% saying they were cutting department travel and expense budgets compared to 63% in August; 72% saying they were cutting ad campaign budgets vs. 63%; 48% said they were looking at reducing agency compensation, vs. 61% in the previous survey.

One bright spot was that 58% said they were delaying or eliminating new projects, which was actually down from 61% who said so in August.

"In the current economic environment, there's a need for brand building that's right for the times - that acknowledges consumers' financial circumstances, and offers them products, services and solutions that meet their needs," said ANA President Bob Liodice in releasing the survey. "For some marketers, that will mean skewing their media mix towards promotional spending and direct marketing. For others it will mean framing a new, relevant and timely brand message."

The survey was an online polling of marketers working with pharmaceutical, financial services, consumer packaged goods, computers, technology, retail and other sectors.

The survey comes in the wake of news that advertisers are cutting back their ad commitments to broadcast and cable networks, some by as much as the maximum 50%.

Advertisers commit money upfront to ad buys, but have the option to take back as much as half of that. Many are exercising that option in the face of a downwardly spiraling economy that has forced them to cut back across the board.