Ad Age Survey: Advertising under pressure

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Advertising budgets are getting tighter and measuring results is more important in this down economy, according to a poll for Ad Age.

Fifty-five percent of agencies and marketers feel budgets will decrease in the next 12 months and 50% said it will be two years before spending returns to 2000 levels, according to a survey of advertiser and agency executives conducted in December for Ad Age by Database. The poll included 974 agency executives and 185 advertisers.

Measuring results and accountability issues are high on the list of concerns among both groups, but expense control is not far behind. The ability to target the client's best customers was rated an important media attribute by 85% of respondents, followed by the flexibility to negotiate rates to lower costs, which was mentioned by 66%. The ability to document a campaign's effectiveness and negotiate cross-platform deals was mentioned by 50% and 49%, respectively.

ad relevance

The poll found both groups in agreement about most issues, with most disagreements merely a matter of degree. When asked their opinion about the relevance of advertising in a down economy, 74% of respondents said it is even more important. Predictably, agencies were more enthusiastic than advertisers, 77% to 59%, respectively. Nineteen percent of all respondents felt advertising's role is just as important in an up or down economy; 31% of advertisers and 17% of agencies agreed.

While both groups agreed the most important objectives of advertising in a down economy are increased sales, brand awareness and market share-in that order-agencies rated market share lower than advertisers and rated enhanced shareholder confidence more highly than clients. Agencies also felt more strongly about the importance of brand image advertising vs. product advertising and promotions in a weak environment.

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