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Despite the belief that marketing budgets are among the first to suffer in a recession, a new report from the Chief Marketing Officer Council states that almost a third of global marketers are actually planning to increase their budgets this year.

According to the Marketing Outlook report, 29% of marketers questioned plan marketing budget increases, 50% will cut budgets and, for 21%, budgets will remain unchanged this year.   The survey also found that overall marketers are not planning major restructuring, significant job cuts or large-scale agency terminations.

Top priorities this year are growing/retaining market share (48%), lowering costs and improving efficiencies (44%), and improving customer insight and retention (33%).

The two main areas for marketing investment in 2009 were found to be e-mail marketing (45%) and online surveys and research (33%).  These findings are symptomatic of a clear shift away from traditional media towards digital.  72% of respondents said they were increasing their interactive spending, 62% spending more on search marketing, and the same number increasing their investment in social media.  Meanwhile spending on print media is being cut by 37%, with 19% indicating a drop in their TV spend and 18% investing less in radio.

Another interesting finding of the study was the discovery that the principal factors driving this year’s marketing budget allocation are customer anxiety and cutbacks (49%), slower selling cycles (38%), and reduced consumer spending (33%).

The CMO Council study was based on an online survey of more than 650 global marketing executives, conducted from mid-January through to early March.

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