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UK businesses report appetite for risk and innovation as growth dominates the agenda, national business index reveals

Latest national business research index reveals confidence in future business performance at highest level since study began in October 2012

UK businesses are heading into 2014 armed with aggressive growth ambitions, with 50 per cent of businesses stating that growth now dominates the management agenda in their organisation, according to a major study of marketing professionals. 

The Marketing Confidence Monitor, run by The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and Bloomberg, revealed a positive appetite for risk and investment over the next 12 months in over 42 per cent of businesses. With the UK now experiencing economic growth, companies are increasingly acknowledging the need to invest in new business practices, products and people.

The study, which is repeated quarterly and is produced from a weighted survey of more than 1,000 UK marketing professionals, found that confidence in the UK’s wider economic situation continues to surge, with 60 per cent of marketers reporting increasing confidence in UK economic growth and performance in the year ahead, twice that of October 2012 when the survey began. This finding sits in stark contrast to the number of businesses reporting a more downbeat assessment, which has fallen to just 13 per cent, a reduction of almost two thirds over the same period. 

Furthermore, 46 per cent of marketers report that their organisation’s financial performance exceeded expectations during the past year, and six out of ten marketers believe consumer confidence will rise over the coming six months. 

This continued optimism is underpinned by a reduction of some 12 percentage points in the number of businesses reporting an above average level of uncertainty facing their company since the beginning of 2013, indicating that as growth forecasts relating to the UK economy continue to improve, unease amongst businesses is beginning to subside. 

Thomas Brown, Associate Director, Research and Insights at CIM, commented; 

“Since the inception of our study, the trend of increasing optimism from businesses is incredibly encouraging. We have long said that as businesses look to make the shift from recession to recovery, a renewed commitment to risk and innovation is crucial. 

“As calls mount in advance of this week’s autumn statement for the government to deliver policies that will support the gains made through increased consumer spending and drive business growth, it is highly encouraging to see increasing business confidence over the past 12 months translating into an appetite for innovation, investment and job creation.

“However, this upbeat outlook shouldn’t mean a return to pre-recession ways of doing business. During the recession, businesses found themselves having to make difficult choices; where and how to invest, how to take out cost, minimise risk and where to staff. As economic recovery gathers momentum, it is tempting to get caught up in this optimism and forget the lessons of the recession. These decisions should not be labelled ‘recession only’, and we would encourage all businesses to reflect on the important lessons that will help them achieve sustained growth and ensure their readiness for 2014.” 

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