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CEO, Patrick Reid comments on the latest Q1 IPA Bellwether Report

19 April 2022
Patrick Reid, Director at Imagination smiling while leaning over a balcony

Patrick Reid CEO shared his thoughts on the latest IPA Q1 Bellwether Report.

"Event budgets are on the rise at record levels as brands invest in ways to connect with their audiences in real life, proving the importance of meaningful brand experiences. Not only did Q1 2022 kick off with the highest balance of investment since records began in 2012, but this optimism is reflected in long-term planning for the return of live events and experiences into 2022/3.

The year won’t be without its challenges – all marketers will need to keep a close eye on current affairs and be prepared for quick decisions in case of last-minute disruptions. But we predict continued positive momentum throughout the year, building to a busy Q4 with key events such as the World Cup and the Christmas period. We're seeing a continued strong pipeline of investment from our clients and a broader take on the meaning of 'brand experience' in 2022, which is driving the need for a more diverse range of capabilities such as media planning and premium content creation for a wider set of channels."

From the IPA Bellwether Report:

Total UK marketing budgets were revised up to an almost eight-year high during the opening quarter of 2022, according to the latest IPA Bellwether Report, with UK companies stepping up efforts to position their businesses for growth as pandemic-related risks recede.

According to Bellwether data, total marketing budgets were upwardly revised by nearly one-quarter of panellists (24.1%). By contrast, 10.0% of companies recorded budget cuts, yielding a net balance of +14.1% in Q1 2022 (vs. +6.1% in Q4 2021). This was the highest since Q2 2014 and marked a fourth successive quarter in which marketing expenditure has expanded.

Paul Bainsfair, Director General, IPA: “It is very welcome news that UK marketing budgets continue to be revised upwards. As we can see, however, Omicron has heightened uncertainty, altered consumer behaviour and subsequently impacted UK companies’ marketing budget decision making. Going forward, new variants – alongside supply chain issues and heightened inflation - may indeed induce further wobbles. The key for businesses to weather these fluctuations will be, where possible, to invest in the longer-term and in brand-building media. As the evidence proves, brands that continue to invest in their marketing throughout the toughest of times come out on top.”