Top marketers based in China believe that the country's economy will recover more quickly than the West, and is likely to turn around by 2010, according to a survey conducted by market research firm Millward Brown-ACSR and communications agency Hill & Knowlton.
The survey of 59 chief marketing officers and senior marketing directors (85 percent of whom are from multinationals) indicated that cautious optimism exists in marketing departments, with 75 percent of correspondents believing the economy would return to a booming state next year, as Chinese consumers had been less affected than those in the West.
Senior management expressed more confidence (81 percent) than other levels (71 percent) about the country's economic recovery by 2010.
The findings also showed that overall marketing budgets in 2009 will not be reduced, even though the pressure to cut costs is mounting in boardrooms worldwide.
Sixty-three percent of interviewees said they will increase or maintain their marketing spending this year compared to 2008, while only 18 percent indicated that their budgets would be cut by over 20 percent.
The survey also revealed that "retaining existing clients" was the top priority for marketers (50 percent), while "retaining talented employees" was of the least importance (5 percent).
The current economic hardship is making marketers explore more cost effective media channels in 2009, with a marked interest in digital media. Smaller, focused marketing channels were the first to be cut.
Jason Spencer, managing director of Millward Brown-ACSR's Shanghai office, warned that this tactic could ultimately be self-defeating.
"The survey shows that marketers claim to be cutting down on lower reach channels such as sponsorship and events, which may be somewhat shortsighted, especially if they are looking to connect more strongly with their current customer base, as only such targeted channels can," he said.
The survey was conducted in March, with 61 percent of the correspondents from the mass consumption goods sector, and the rest from the automobile, finance, property, and retail industries.