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Marketing sector’s value is revealed

By Johnny Diaz
Globe Staff / June 24, 2010

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A new study being released today on the marketing and communications industry in Massachusetts estimates that the sector contributes $38.7 billion to the state’s economy and generates 143,000 jobs.

The Ad Club of Boston, an industry trade group for New England marketing professionals, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority will present the study at the third annual “The Edge Conference: Branded in Boston.’’ The Boston Globe is one of 19 sponsors of the conference.

The report, the first of its kind between the two groups, found that the “marcom sector’’ contributes 11.5 percent of the state’s gross regional product, which measures the size of an economy, and about 4.4 percent of total jobs in the Bay State.

The Ad Club and the BRA collaborated on the study to better understand the size and scope of the marketing and communications sector. Boston ranks among the top five ad markets in the country and is the seventh-largest TV market, but advertising and city officials said there had been no benchmark to gain a perspective on the industry’s economic impact in the state.

Marketing and communications are not grouped into a single category under the federal guidelines used to code occupations. Rather, the various jobs in that sector are spread among other classifications. For example, the advertising and public relations category does not include publishing and broadcasting jobs.

“Here’s this state that has such a strong creative environment and yet this sector is not measured,’’ said Andrew Graff, chief executive of Allen & Gerritsen and chairman of The Ad Club of Boston, which has 8,000 members. The report broadly classifies marketing and communications as jobs in advertising, public relations, publishing, and broadcasting as well as telemarketing, computer graphic design, technical consulting, and the motion picture and sound recording industries.

“It’s really anyone who contributed in the pipeline to the purchase of a product,’’ said Kathy Kiely, president of The Ad Club. “Anyone from the person who writes the jingle, the person who designs the product, the person who creates the media channel.’’

The BRA used industry numbers from The Ad Club and computer models that took 2007 figures from the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development, wage and occupation distribution estimates from the Labor Market Assessment Tool program, and data from the Regional Economic Models Inc. program, which provides a snapshot of the state’s economy by sectors, said Mark Melnik, the BRA’s deputy director of research. He said the 2007 figures were used because they provided the most detailed available information for the various jobs that related to marketing and communications fields.

“This was a reasonable approximation of what things will look like right now,’’ said Melnik.

Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economist at Northeastern University, said he understands why researchers used 2007 numbers.

“It would make sense to use pre-recession levels as an estimate of the size,’’ said Clayton-Matthews. “It would be temporarily smaller if you took a measurement in 2009.’’

Another economist said the study’s results appear on the mark, although researchers used a broad definition for the industry.

“The numbers sound reasonable,’’ said Elliot Winer, an independent economist in Sudbury, “but you have to know exactly what industries are included, which may include many more jobs that are outside than what they are trying to direct their study at.’’

Johnny Diaz can be reached at jodiaz@globe.com.

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