US marketers too insular says new WFA survey

A new survey by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) of its members reveals that almost 60 per cent of global marketers are shifting budget to focus on new markets for growth. Nearly 95 per cent think future growth will come from outside the US.

Based on 65 responses from marketers representing nearly $40bn in global ad spend, the survey found that marketing best practice is increasingly found outside the US. More than 71 per cent of global marketers think that some of the best work is now developed in other markets.

The results have been released as marketers from many of the world’s biggest brand owners gather in New York for the WFA’s Global Marketing Conference on March 14.

The survey found that global marketers still look to the US for best practice in key areas. 43 per cent of those questioned think they can learn a lot from what happens in America. The US stood out as the go-to market for best practice in social media strategies but in other areas of marketing a wide range of different countries have also caught the eye as centres of excellence.

As well as the US, marketers cited the UK, continental Europe and Australia as beacons of excellence for integrated marketing, Korea, Japan and China attracted attention in mobile and some European markets also stood out for great creative execution.

40.5 per cent of global marketers said they paid a lot of attention to developments in the US with 48.6 per cent saying they paid ‘some’ attention. But 75 per cent of those questioned thought the US could learn a lot from marketers in other countries with just 11 per cent thinking that US marketers paid enough attention to what goes on in the rest of the world.

But the survey also found evidence of a global ideas exchange within the world’s biggest companies. Among the US-originated ideas that have found a home beyond its borders are social media strategies, shopper marketing and content strategy.

Likewise international ideas that have been exported to the US include integrated marketing communications, events marketing, mobile and ROI initiatives.

Asked about the most impressive marketing campaigns of 2011, respondents cited Red Bull, Samsung, Apple, HP, Mini, Carlsberg and Unilever as well as the Jay Z book launch and the Durex social marketing campaign.

“While the US remains a beacon of best practice, notably in social media, marketers are now seeking ideas from right around the globe. Our survey results highlight the emergence of a new multi-polar world for marketers where best practice can occur in almost any market and where the smartest ideas should be imported and exported around the world,” says World Federation of Advertisers managing director Stephan Loerke.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.