According to many recently published reports, the recession is over. Not so fast, say marketers who participated in recent Association of National Advertisers surveys. Business conditions may be improving, but marketers intend to keep tight fiscal control over ad spending.

About 84% of respondents to the ANA’s 6th edition of its Recession Survey say they are looking over their budgets constantly, trying to find cost savings or ways to reduce their ad spending. Media companies may be dismayed to learn that 38% of marketers are attempting to reduce their media budgets. In terms of top-level plans for ad budgets, the picture looks like this:

  • Level spending: 49%
  • Decreased spending: 34%
  • Increased spending: 17%

Marketers are also expecting their agencies to be frugal. When it comes to agencies, key target areas include travel restrictions (68%), reduced media budgets (48%), and altered media mix to lower cost formats (40%).

But this survey also found cause for optimism. For the most part, marketers are making short-term budget cuts. They will reduce their investment in professional development (28%) and 21% plan to stall on hiring permanent employees. Instead, they’ll use freelance workers. In addition, only 17% of these businesses will reduce what they spend on agencies, even though more than half expect agencies to toe the line with respect to expense control.

Regarding these results, Bob Liodice, president and CEO, ANA, comments that “All of our partners feel the impact of this year’s projected trends, as modest spending trends undoubtedly affect business processes throughout the supply chain.”

[Sources: Duggan, Bill. New ANA Recession Survey Results. Ana.net. 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2012: ANA 2012 Recession Survey Shows Steadfast, Conservative Outlook. Ana.net. 2 Apr. 2012. Web. 5 Apr. 2012]