China’s economy will shake off the effects of the world economic downturn and return to a booming and vibrant state by 2010, according to a survey conducted by Millward Brown-ACSR and Hill & Knowlton and presented at The Marketing Group of China’s second event in Shanghai revealed yesterday evening. MGOC commission the two WPP-owned firms to interview 59 CMOs and senior marketing directors to gauge their attitudes on how they were responding to the crisis in China.
The survey indicated a mood of cautious optimism in marketing departments, with 75 percent of those interviewed believing the economy would turn around by 2010. The respondents indicated that China would recover more quickly as it was experiencing the crisis in a different manner than the West, whose consumers had been affected on a more serious and fundamental level than Chinese consumers.
It also revealed that marketers were exploring alternative and perhaps more cost effective media channels in 2009, with a marked interest in digital media and in-store communications.
However, with pressure to cut costs mounting in boardrooms across the globe, marketing budgets are being tightened, with the survey showing that smaller, focused marketing channels were being cut. Jason Spencer, the managing director of Millward Brown-ACSR's Shanghai office, warned that this tactic could ultimately be self-defeating from a long-term perspective.
"The survey shows that marketers claim to be cutting down on lower reach channels such as sponsorship and events, which may be somewhat short-sighted especially if they are looking to connect more strongly with their current customer base, as only such targeted channels can,” says Spencer. “The key is to first align the communication objectives and then figure out which media touch point can deliver that most effectively. What may seem cost effective at first may not always be in the end.”
Adds David Zhao, managing director of Hill & Knowlton's Shanghai office, “Our survey shows that while marketing cuts are hard to avoid in the current climate, firms need to be aware that lowering the priority placed on getting their message across could have damaging consequences in the long term. Indeed, the findings show that the necessity for effective communications, whether for brand exposure, staff engagement, or internal communications, is even higher during times of economic crisis.
“In particular, I believe that companies willing to spend on corporate social responsibility during these challenging times can deliver their desired message in a more powerful manner than would be possible during brighter economic conditions.”