IPA Bellwether Report Q1 2023: CEO comments and reactions

The IPA Bellwether Report Q1 2023, published today, has shown the UK marketing industry shows the sector remaining cautiously resilient amid extraordinary national and global challenges.

Here, we bring together what the leading CEOs in the media, marketing and advertising sector have to say about the latest IPA reading…

Sivan Tafla - Total Media SolutionsSivan Tafla, CEO Total Media Solutions

“While firms feel positive about their own prospects, they continue to be cautious at an industry-wide level.

“While overall marketing spend is predicted to expand in the year ahead, budgets for online and print publisher advertising decreased in Q1 this year, representing a downgrade for the fourth consecutive quarter.

“As technological advances present new marketing opportunities, publishers competing for limited ad spend must continue to present demonstrable value to brands advertising online.

“As conversations around the potential dangers of generative AI grow more heated and third-party cookies become a thing of the past, publishers must prioritise quality and reliability to remain attractive to advertisers.”

Tim-Geenen-raynTim Geenen, CEO and co-Founder, Rayn 

“What stands out for me in the latest IPA Bellwether report is that technology was considered a key opportunity, particularly with regards to marketing strategies.

“It signals positive investment intentions in this space over the next 12 months, which couldn’t come at a more important time.

“Conversations around AI have excelled lately, sparking debate around innovation, regulation and fear about replacing human efforts. These can overshadow the potential the technology can truly have in helping brands achieve return on their investment and bring more value and convenience to consumers.

“The positives should outweigh the negatives, so it’s promising to read that marketers are realising the opportunities technology can present in supporting business growth, especially at this crucial time.”

Paul Coggins, AdludioPaul Coggins, CEO and co-Founder, Adludio

“After so much post-pandemic doom and gloom, the fact that advertising has recorded its strongest expansion since Q1 2022 indicates that marketers are, at last, preparing for the bounce back.

“Nevertheless, with only the true innovators in adtech in hiring mode, it is clearly still tough out there, and the worst thing marketers can do right now is think they are out of the woods.

“In order to maximise the opportunity of this recovery, marketers need to use this time effectively. In particular, focusing on optimising the attention that their campaigns receive. This is especially pertinent on digital channels where there is fierce competition as brands in all industries look to win consumer hearts and minds.

“Those that truly understand the relationship between their creative, and the levels of consumer attention that this can sustain, will be the ones that prosper.

“More than this, brands will need to understand in detail exactly how, where and when users are engaging with their ads, so they can make more informed decisions to increase engagement.

“Marketers that prepare their ad stack now, focusing on delivering exceptional value, brilliant creative and innovative technology, including AI, will best prepare themselves for the economic rebound.”

julia-linehan-0423Julia Linehan Founder and CEO, The Digital Voice

“Is the tide turning? The latest Bellwether Report thinks it is. The findings reveal that UK companies are showing greater appetite for marketing activities to support their brands, despite ongoing and intense cost pressures.

“Paul Bainsfair, the IPA’s Director General, is of course right to stress the need for both long and short term strategies – in order to ensure brand loyalty is not eroded by any attempts to secure more short term gains, and to ensure long term success.

“Today, there are a wealth of channels, formats and measurements that marketing teams can leverage. It was refreshing to see ad tech pulled out specifically as a way to seize new opportunities, with companies reportedly signalling positive investment intentions in this space, and reference in particular to new immersive tools and digital marketing methods which have been proven to actively support growth.

“I was also heartened to see the emergence of sustainability as a major theme and opportunity for growth in this latest Bellwether report.

“Amongst our client base, we’re already seeing how clearly those businesses offering energy efficient products and services have a point of differentiation, and this comes hand in hand with a growing awareness from consumers around the carbon footprint of online activities.

“Events, too, was an area revised upwards in the past quarter – and again this mirrors what we are seeing in terms of an appetite for both physical, digital and hybrid events from our clients; keen to re-engage with new and existing customers following the pandemic.

“Times may still be challenging – even today there is much talk of higher interest rates to combat inflation, which remains at a multi decade high – but as ever those companies which are truly future facing and willing to innovate, often through wise investment in technology, are stealing a march on their competitors.”

ben putley alkimi exchangeBen Putley, CEO and Co Founder, Alkimi

“Though we’re not yet out of the woods, the tentative optimism we’re seeing this year is a relief compared to the gloom of 2022.

“The narrowly missed recession and alleviating pressure on consumers have certainly been a major driver of positivity, but it’s also hard to ignore the ground-breaking tech that is revolutionising the industry.

“Whether using generative AI to power creativity, or decentralised ad exchanges to build radical transparency into operations, the tool kit available to marketers is expanding all the time.

“Those who grasp these opportunities with both hands will find themselves ahead of the pack as the economy strengthens.”

IMPACT+-Vincent_VillaretVincent Villaret, CEO, IMPACT+

“The environmental impact of digital advertising has gone unaddressed for too long. The growth of marketing spend in the first quarter of 2023 continues the industry’s upward spending trend, with sales remaining the top priority for brands.

“However, there’s also an opportunity for advertisers to shift their focus towards sustainable practices, as we continue battling climate change.

“Sustainability is set to play a major role in the near future, a refreshing projection that aligns with the UK government’s increasingly tighter climate regulations.

“With ESG reporting high on every C-suite’s list of priorities, budgets are expected to move towards sustainable solutions and technologies that support the industry’s expected growth, without further deepening its environmental impact.

“Reduction of digital advertising impacts should become a guiding rule for any future investments, projects, and partnerships, as more industry players prioritise the environment over dysregulated growth at the planet’s expense.”

Rob-Sewell-CEO-SmartFrame-Technologies-1Rob Sewell, CEO, SmartFrame Technologies 

“It is encouraging to see sustainability gaining ground as an opportunity, although this doesn’t come without its challenges – especially at a time when economic pressure remains high.

“Tighter regulations around sustainability efforts require a change of mindset to meet climate targets. Fortunately, the challenges of becoming more green and continuing to put customers first are not mutually exclusive.

“Smart decisions about tools and sustainable suppliers can help meet demand and limit waste while also opening up avenues for future growth.”

Nick-Morgan-vudooNick Morgan, Founder & CEO, Vudoo

“Video content encompassing in-stream checkout experiences are the future. Reaching consumers at the moment of inspiration removes the journey entirely negating the need for the customer having to visit a separate page. And with the right tools in place to plan and measure campaigns, publishers and brands that get it right will reap the rewards.”