A majority of advertisers and agencies expect marketing budgets to decrease again this year, according to a survey undertaken by Advertising Age in December.

Conducted with Research.Net and Advertising Database, the report found that 55% of the 974 agency staff and 185 advertisers polled think adspend will contract in 2002, with 50% predicting it will take two years to return to the bumper levels of 2000.

The survey also asked what respondents considered significant. In the lead, mentioned as important by 85%, was the capacity to pinpoint a client’s top customers. Next came the option of negotiating rates, cited by 66%, followed by the measurement of a campaign’s efficacy (50%) and being able to thrash out cross-platform agreements (49%).

As for advertising in a recession, both clients and agencies agree it is essential. Around 74% of all respondents argued that in a slump marketing becomes even more important, though this figure was not uniform between both groups – 77% of agency executives expressed this opinion compared with 59% of client respondents.

Some 31% of advertisers nevertheless considered advertising equally important in a downturn as at any other time, with 17% of agency staff holding the same view.

There were also slight differences between the two in defining the purpose of marketing in a slump. Clients rated increasing market share higher than agencies but boosting shareholder confidence lower. Agencies, on the other hand, were more concerned that advertising in a weak economy should concentrate on brand image, rather than ads focusing on products and promotions.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff