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Report: Most CMOs show flat holiday advertising budgets

Chicago - According to accounting firm BDO USA, LLP, 63% of chief marketing officers at leading U.S. retailers said their 2010 holiday advertising and marketing budgets have remained flat, a continued trend from 2009 (55%) and 2008 (43%).

BDO’s survey found that 20% of CMOs cited a decrease in their holiday marketing and advertising budget, signaling some flexibility, compared with 2009 (26%) and 2008 (32%). Seventeen percent of CMOs cite an increase, only slightly less than 2009 (19%).

Despite flat budgets, retailers are re-allocating their 2010 holiday advertising dollars to pricier mediums. One-quarter of CMOs surveyed cited an increase in their broadcast media investment for this holiday season (up from 13% in 2009). Twenty-seven percent of CMOs said online advertising, including social networking sites, accounts for most of their holiday advertising and marketing budget, a sizable increase from 2009 (18%). Contrary to popular belief that print media no longer is relevant, this medium continues to see the most investment (42%) but there is a significant down-shift from 2009 (64%).

“Retailers are investing their holiday advertising and marketing dollars across a widening set of platforms as they emerge from the recession,” said Steve Ferrara, partner, retail and consumer product practice, BDO USA. “The fact that only 20% of retailers cite a decrease in budgets signals that they have a bit more flexibility in how they stretch their advertising and marketing spend.”

These findings are from the most recent edition of the BDO USA Retail Compass Survey of CMOs, which examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailer and consumer product companies located throughout the country.

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