Data & Tech

Marketers are feeling some concern as inflation impacts their budgets, survey says

They’re also hesitant to get their brands involved in any political issues.
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Francis Scialabba

· less than 3 min read

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Marketers, they’re just like us…because they’re worried about economic conditions and don’t want to talk politics.

That’s one of the findings from the most recent iteration of the biannual CMO Survey, led by Deloitte, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association. This year’s 30th edition clocks in at 73 pages of findings from more than 300 marketers, most at the VP-level or above, in the US.

The report includes their takes on topics from budgets to job function to political stances. Here are a few highlights.

Money, money, money: Optimism about the US economy is “tepid” among marketers, according to the survey. It’s higher than it was during the initial spread of Covid, and compared to February 2009 after the Great Recession, but that’s not saying much.

  • Marketers in the energy industry were the most optimistic, followed by tech, somewhat surprising given a recent wave of layoffs in that sector.

What’s not necessarily surprising is that inflation has taken a toll on marketing spend. According to the survey, 52% of respondents said “current inflationary pressures” have resulted in a decrease in marketing spend levels at their company, compared to 42% who said the same in September.

Marketing budget as a percentage of company budget is nearly down to pre-Covid levels, at 12.3%, though “yearly growth in marketing spend slowed” compared to the last survey. Earlier this week, Magna cut its ad spend forecast for the year to 3.4% growth, down from its initial 3.7% prediction.

Politic-no: The majority of marketers don’t want their brands getting too involved in politics.

  • Just 29.1% of marketers said in March that they think it’s appropriate for their brand to “take a stance on politically charged issues,” though that’s up from 18.5% in February 2020.
  • “Small companies with 50–99 employees are significantly more willing to take a stance than firms with a larger number of employees,” according to the report.
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