The Association of National Advertisers released a new survey Tuesday that didn't portend good news for media or the economy.
The survey, conducted in late January-early February, found that 37% of marketing respondents indicated that they planned to reduce their budgets by more than 20%. That ratio was up from 21% who expressed a similar sentiment during an ANA survey conducted in August, before the bottom dropped out of the stock market and credit markets.
The cuts were slated to come from across the board, as 77% of survey respondents indicated they would cut advertising budgets, compared to 69% in the August survey; 87% were going to cut travel and expense budgets, versus 63% in August; 72% would trim ad campaign budgets against 63% earlier; and 48% were looking to reduce agency compensation, vs. 61% in the previous poll.
One bright spot: 58% said they were delaying or eliminating new projects, which was actually down from 61% making that claim 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."
Survey results were compiled from the responses of 141 client-side marketers, all ANA members, 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.