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3rd Row

Brits to shell out up to £1,000 this Christmas, with local retailers set to benefit

Over 45% of Brits will be spending the same this Christmas, with 33% spending more, despite ongoing cost of living concerns.

That’s according to new research from local gift card champions Town & City Gift Cards, which surveyed over 1,000 consumers, employees and organisations.

28% of people said they’ll be spending £751-£1000 this Christmas, with the need to purchase gifts for friends and family given as the reason for Christmas spend staying the same or increasing.

But finding the perfect gift isn’t always easy with a huge 73% of Brits worrying about finding the perfect gift. The research also revealed a move towards more ‘useful’ gifts that offer choice with 89% planning to buy at least one gift card this Christmas. 92.9% prefer giving a gift card to cash with 77% saying this is because it encourages the recipient to treat themselves.

And, naturally, gift cards are a Christmas present that people want to receive too, with 89% saying they would like to receive a multi-store gift card that can be spent at more than one business and 94% preferring gift cards that can be used in various sectors, such as retail, hospitality and leisure.

Support for local is higher than ever with 98% keen to support local this Christmas and 87% saying supporting local businesses helps to keep them open. 60% say shopping local offers a better experience.

Colin Munro, MD at Miconex, the firm which provides the technology for the Town & City Gift Card programme and said: “The research revealed changing attitudes towards gifting with a greater emphasis on gifts that can be used in a practical way and offer the recipient choice.

“There’s also a really strong awareness of the need to shop local because people realise the impact it has on their community. Local gift cards wrap up choice and support for local in one gift card, reducing the pressure and worry of finding a perfect gift as the recipient can choose exactly what they want from all types and sizes of local businesses.”

Marketers experimenting more to fight economic downturn

Almost half of marketers (44%) are actively investing in experimentation as a direct response to the UK’s current economic slump.

That’s according to new research from Optimizely, which reveals marketers are using experimentation in the face of cutbacks as a way to deliver personal experiences that drive revenue, boost customer retention and deliver growth.

The Personalised to Personal report, based on a study of 100 UK marketing leaders and 1,000 UK consumers, explores the financial benefit of delivering targeted experiences that are “truly personal.” The research shows that an overwhelming majority of marketers (75%) believe it’s “more important than ever” to find new ways to optimise their personalisation strategy during tough economic times.

70% of marketers say they are marrying personalisation with experimentation to get ahead of the competition and deliver content that will stand out. Optimizely’s report argues that this is a smart move, at a time when 65% of consumers are more loyal to brands that get to know them at a personal level.

“At a time when UK consumer spending power is at its lowest levels due to high inflation, it’s more important than ever for brands to deliver online experiences that demonstrate they understand consumers, including their preferences and needs,” said Shafqat Islam, Optimizely CMO. “Experimentation is one of the smartest investments a brand can make. It allows companies to properly understand their customers’ behaviours and make decisions based on data, rather than assumptions, in order to provide the tailored experiences that customers love – driving loyalty and boosting brands’ bottom lines.”

Photo by Alex Kondratiev on Unsplash

CREATIVE DESIGN MONTH: Exploring key trends in creative design and the impacts on marketing strategy

Creative design within the marketing sector has seen significant shifts, influenced by technological innovation, evolving consumer preferences, and a greater emphasis on sustainability and inclusivity. As these trends shape the visual and experiential facets of branding and advertising, they not only redefine the aesthetics of marketing but also underscore the strategic approach businesses must adopt to remain competitive and relevant.

One of the most prominent trends is the rise of bespoke typography. Brands are moving away from generic fonts to create unique, custom typefaces that embody their identity and values. This customisation adds a distinctive character to marketing materials, offering a subtle yet powerful tool for brand recognition. Monotype’s bespoke typeface for the Tate Gallery is a prime example, reflecting the museum’s contemporary and innovative ethos.

Sustainability in design has also taken center stage. The use of eco-friendly materials in packaging and print marketing is no longer a niche appeal but a widespread expectation. Companies like Unilever and Lush Cosmetics are leading the charge, employing recycled materials and reducing waste in their packaging design. This shift is a response to consumer demand for environmental stewardship and the UK’s aggressive sustainability targets. Consequently, marketers must weave eco-consciousness into their design narratives.

Another trend transforming creative design is the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). These technologies offer immersive experiences that elevate traditional marketing into interactive adventures. For instance, IKEA’s AR app allows customers to visualise furniture in their homes before making a purchase, blending utility with engagement. As the costs for AR and VR technologies decrease, more businesses are likely to harness these tools for interactive campaigns.

The push for diversity and inclusivity in design has also become a pivotal trend. Marketing campaigns are increasingly showcasing a broader spectrum of races, body types, ages, and abilities, reflecting society’s diversity more accurately. This inclusivity not only resonates with a wider audience but also aligns with the UK’s progressive stance on social issues. It’s a powerful statement that authenticity and representation matter in every aspect of business, including design.

Lastly, the trend towards minimalism and functional design continues to influence marketing materials. Clean lines, ample white space, and restrained colour palettes underscore a brand’s message without unnecessary clutter. Apple’s marketing is the epitome of this approach, where the focus is on the product and its features in a sleek, understated layout.

As these trends converge, they prompt a re-evaluation of the role of creative design in the marketing sector. It’s no longer just about aesthetics; it’s about creating an authentic, engaging, and socially responsible brand experience. Marketers must navigate these trends with a keen understanding of their audience and the cultural zeitgeist, ensuring their strategies are not just visually appealing but also resonate on a deeper level with consumers’ evolving expectations.

Are you on the hunt for Creative Design solutions for your brand? The Digital Marketing Solutions Summit can help!

Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash

IPA Bellwether reports UK digital ad budgets rise

The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Bellwether reports marketeers have revised their budgets upwards in the first quarter of 2017, the highest level recorded in almost a decade.

Some 26.1 per cent of those companies polled remain positive about 2017/18 budgets, signalling growth for the coming year,  while 11.8 per cent of companies said that marketing budgets would increase during the first quarter of 2017.

32 per cent of those companies polled also reported improvement in the financial pipeline, compared to 19 per cent that predicted things would be worse during the quarter.

The IPA reported marketers on tighter budgets are seeing greater value from digital and positioning ad spend accordingly, mostly as a direct result of the unknown effects of Brexit negotiations and wider economic uncertainty.

However, despite a positive outlook for digital ad spends in 2017, the IPA predicts stagnation materialising in 2018, with marketers being advised by experts to proceed with caution.

Speaking about the report, the IPA’s director general Paul Bainsfair said: “The election result has thrown further uncertainty into an already volatile environment.

“It is inevitable that this has had a knock-on effect on UK. Specifically, for marketers this has meant a desire, where possible, to seek out more activation driven advertising. As evidenced strongly in this latest Bellwether Report, this has resulted in a further move towards advertising in the digital space.”