The most common challenge faced by marketers in a recession is budget constraints. According to a study made this summer in CEE region by Linea Directa Communications, a direct marketing and call centre company, companies with small marketing budgets dominate in terms of study participants, budgets undering 250.000 EUR being reported especially in Hungary (89,4%), Russia (88,6%) and Romania (85,4%).

The biggest budgets, above 1.000.000EUR are meet in small percentages in Czech (5,4%), Slovakia (4,9%), Poland (4,5%) and Slovenia (4,3%).

Marketing budgets suffered in 2009 a lot of modifications

In 2009 the biggest cuts in marketing budgets are made in Russia (28,6%) and Romania (22,7%), companies reducing budgets up to 30%. Similar budgets as in 2008 are in big percentages in Hungary (44,4%), Slovenia (43,9%) and Poland (43,4%).

On the other hand, there are also companies investing in marketing communications, countries such as Russia (19,6%), Poland (19,2%) or Slovenia (16,2%).

This money are spent in 30-70% mainly in internet promotion (using banners, blogs, social networks, etc.), catalogues, mass marketing (TV, newspapers, radio) and events&fairs organization. The smallest budgets (representing max 30% from marketing budgets) are allocated for sending SMS& Mobile Marketing, telemarketing, direct mailing and emailing.

As communication channels, the most used are internet (using banners, blogs, social networks, etc.), e-mailing, catalogs distribution, fair&events organization. In the end we have SMS and mobile marketing, drop mail and PR, considered to be less important channels.

“This shows that companies are orientated to the marketing activities that can be measured in order to become more effectiveness, but not to much. There are still less popular channels such as telemarketing and mobile marketing that are not to much used. The advantages offered by these channels consist not only in direct interaction with customers, but also in using a wide range of services. Therefore telemarketing is a great tool not only in sales increasing, but also for testing new offers, market research to measure customers satisfaction. Telemarketing can be used also to generate sales prospects, to establish business meetings or to respond to clients that required by phone specific informations about a particular product or service”, said Dejan Grbic, Head of Business Development at Linea Directa Communications.

According to the study, companies organize marketing campaign in order to increase the number of clients, to improve customer retantion and loyalty and maximize the existing customers through additional sales. Also companies take in consideration to develop databases used later in their communication campaign, to create a better awarness and repositioning for brand/ products.

For direct marketing companies, like also Linea Directa Communications, 2009 has meant the continuation of collaborations started in previous years, but also new projects developed with big companies but also with medium ones.

“We noticed this year even a greater interest for our services, this meaning for us both locally and internationally development, offering in the same time an increasing number of jobs on the romanin labor market”, added Dejan Grbic.

In CEE region many are speaking now about outsourcing as a cost saving measure for the companies.

o In Czech is the biggest percentage of companies outsourcing direct marketing activities (74,4%), followed by Poland (61,5%) and Romania (36,5).

o On the over hand, 84,8% of companies are not outsourcing in Hungary, 74,6% in Slovakia, 68,6% in Slovenia and 46,7% in Russia. These companies are not outsourcing direct marketing activities because they have internally resources to do these operations or can not afford it because they have low communication budgets or they don’t have enough informations about the process of outsourcing, what is about and what kind of benefits brings.

The most outsourced direct marketing activities are the newest channels of communication such as Internet promotion (banners, Google adwords, bloging, social networking), fairs& events preparation and mass marketing (TV, billboard, newspapers), addressable direct mail and catalogue distribution. Les outsourced are telemarketing, emailing, drop mail and SMS or Mobile marketing.

The study was conducted in 7 countries: Czech, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Slovakia. Overall, participated managers from different industries ctive in IT, finance, FMCG, Pharma, auto, retail, telecommunications, tourism and utilities.