Monday, 1 July 2013

A Devolution Of Power From Big Business In The Marketing World?

Traditionally, most companies employing more than thirty or so staff would have their own in-house marketing department, dedicated to market research and running marketing campaigns. In a post credit crunch world however, the face of in-house marketing is changing as departments have their budgets slashed and workloads increased. Exactly how this is affecting UK companies is an interesting tale.

In the past, SMEs were the main clients for a typical marketing company. Whilst larger companies outsourced to some of the more global players in marketing, traditionally marketing campaigns were run in house by specific marketing departments. Since the economic downturn, however, marketing departments have shrunk whilst workloads have increased meaning marketing companies are suddenly seeing an increase in business from medium and larger companies.

A report published this year by Charterhouse, the market services company, surveyed 200 marketing professionals in the UK and Western Europe. The results were music to the ears of marketing companies although rather unwelcome news to some marketing departments.

The results of the survey largely suggested that marketing departments in medium to larger sized firms are struggling to cope and, as a result, outsourcing more and more work to their respective marketing company. As a result, personnel in marketing departments have become more like administrators than marketers, coordinating the relationship between the department and the marketing firm.

On the other hand, the report is fantastic news for the UK’s marketing companies with 52% of UK respondents stating their departments were now dependent in some capacity on marketing companies. Over a third of respondents said their companies were entirely dependent on third party marketing firms for creativity in their marketing campaigns, with over half saying they had outsourced creativity in some form or another. One might argue that this devolution in power from some of the larger companies is no bad thing and in line with the governments call to SMEs to prop up the UK’s flat-lining economy.

Moreover, the report signals good news for the marketing industry on the whole, with 67% of respondents agreeing their companies or departments were doing more work. Social media was at least partly responsible for this increase in work, with 61% of respondents agreeing that this relatively new marketing tool had contributed to their increase in workloads.

In conclusion, the report’s findings polarise opinions within the marketing world. Whilst large companies with sizeable marketing departments have to outsource more work as their current staff levels cannot cope, smaller businesses and third party marketing companies are benefiting as a result. For the marketing industry on the whole, however, the news seems positive with more work and jobs in small businesses as a result.

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