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Companies expect to grow their experiential budgets more than any other marketing discipline.

IPA Bellwether report reveals that 11.9% of marketers anticipate increasing spend in event marketing over the next two years.


Although the recently released IPA Bellwether report for the fourth quarter of 2019 reveals event marketing budgets dropped by 1.1%, 11.9% of marketers surveyed anticipated increasing spend in this area over the next two years, more than any other marketing discipline.

This was followed by main media advertising (6.3%) and sales promotions (2%). Market research, however, is expected to continue to see a downward revision to budgets of 5.7%. Plus, overall a net balance of 15.7% of companies expect their total marketing budgets to rise over up to 2021.

Following a poor third quarter, total marketing budgets in Q4 2019 increased for first time since Q1. A net balance of +4.0% of surveyed firms revised their total marketing budgets higher up from -0.5% in Q3.

The breakdown by Bellwether category showed that internet marketing retained its status as top performer (net balance of +7.9% from +11.1%), while there was a fractional upward revision to main media advertising (+0.5% from 0.0%).

All remaining segments recorded spending cuts, led by market research for a second successive quarter (-13.2% from -16.9%). Direct marketing (-7.7% from -7.0%), PR (-7.1% from -4.7%), sales promotions (-3.0% from -2.3%) and events (-1.1% from -5.9%) all continued to register downward budget revisions at the year end.

Paul Bainsfair, Director General at the IPA, commented: ”This latest IPA Bellwether Report demonstrates the extent to which UK marketing budget planning has been at the mercy of the unstable political environment. Over the past year we have seen a stagnation in marketing budgets, culminating in a below zero score last quarter. And yet now, with the clear result of December’s General Election, we are seeing a return to positivity in terms of UK companies’ confidence regarding their own financial prospects and in terms of their budgeting plans – up marginally this quarter and significantly for 2020/21.

“With Brexit still looming, I’m sure it won’t be plain sailing, but these forecasts provide an upbeat outlook for the year ahead for UK plc, their marketers and of course the agencies that work with them to grow their businesses.”

Read the full IPA Bellwether article here…