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UK Global Screen Fund awards £3.3m to support global marketing efforts

The BFI has made a further 30 awards through its UK Global Screen Fund, backing seven new international co-productions and supporting 23 UK screen content businesses to boost their international marketing activities and enhance the success of their content globally.

Financed through the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the latest batch of awards sees over £1.3 million being allocated through the fund’s International Co-production strand and over £2 million being allocated through the fund’s International Business Development strand.

This latest round of International Co-production awards sees the UK co-producing with 12 territories and will be the first time the fund has supported collaborations with Hungary, Norway and Spain. The funding will also support partnerships with Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland and Sweden.

The awards, in the form of non-recoupable grants, support UK independent companies as minority co-producers for feature films of all genres, and as majority and minority co-producers for TV projects in animation and documentary genres. This latest funding round supports seven feature films, including one documentary.

Financial support for International Business Development will provide the 23 companies from all over the UKwith funding via one of two tracks:

  • Film Transformation, for internationally-focused transformational business strategies related to independent UK films, with strategies spanning three to five years
  • General, for business strategies to create, acquire and/or exploit intellectual property (IP) across film, TV, animation, documentary and interactive narrative video games, with strategies spanning three years

The funding, awarded in the form of non-recoupable grants and ranging between £50,000 and £150,000 in total over a three year period, is focused on helping companies achieve new international business partnerships, enhance their profile and reach in the global marketplace, and increase revenue generation through export and international expansion.

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said: “The UK’s film, TV and video game firms are global trailblazers and we are determined to maximise their potential to drive economic growth and showcase their creative excellence across the world. Thanks to our investment through the UK Global Screen Fund, independent films – like the BAFTA-nominated Scrapper – are getting the support they need to develop international partnerships, attract investment and reach new audiences on a global stage.”

Denitsa Yordanova, BFI Head of the UK Global Screen Fund and International Funds, said: “This latest round of awards demonstrates the inspiring global ambitions of our unique independent screen sector, supporting companies across the UK to forge new international collaborations and implement exciting growth strategies. It is fantastic to also see such a strong slate of co-production projects, working with a diverse range of international territories, many for the first time. The UK Global Screen Fund is proud to back such a wide variety of ambitious plans for creating new content with international resonance and for developing business strategies to reach international audiences and I look forward to following these ambitious projects and companies as they reach their full potential in the global marketplace.”

Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

Call for wider awareness of implicit discrimination in marketing

When looking at marketing messages, we should be considering different contexts in order to be aware of implicit discrimination, says new research from the University of Bradford, School of Management.

Marketers should take into account microsocial contexts, such as racial background, sexuality or migration status, as well as macrosocial contexts (geo-political settings, current political discourse, etc) when considering marketing messages. This, the researchers say, could help marketing practitioners better identify, understand and counteract racism and discrimination.

Professor Eva Kipnis at the University of Bradford said: “Nike’s 2017 advertisement, for example, ‘What will they say about you?’ failed to challenge female sports stereotypes in Saudi Arabia given the restrictions on women’s physical education at the time. In a different marketing campaign, a lesbian couple featuring in international supermarket chain VkusVill’s 2021 campaign had to leave the country due to Russia’s ‘antigay propaganda’ legislation. Practitioners can utilise this research to equitably address all consumers in multicultural marketplaces without exclusion, restriction or mistreatment.”

The framework can be applied to understand the different forms of racism and discrimination that consumers might experience by identifying how multiple context expressions operate.

The research was based on the examination of carefully selected studies from peer-reviewed marketing and consumer research journals. These were categorised by micro- and macrosocial context expressions that might contribute to marketplace discrimination.

The paper was published in the Journal of the Association for Consumer Research.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

UK consumers reckon 50% of personalised content is a turn off

Over half (51%) of UK consumers say that the targeted content they receive online is often “boring” or “unhelpful.”

That’s according to new research from Optimizely, the leading digital experience platform (DXP) provider, which reveals that while personalisation holds great potential for enhancing customer loyalty, the reliance on assumptions and outdated technology remain major obstacles.

Based on a comprehensive study of 100 UK marketing leaders and 1,000 UK consumers, the Personalised to Personal report shows that an overwhelming 70% of consumers feel frustrated that the promotions they receive are not directly relevant to their personal interests.

Concerningly, 83% of marketers admitted that their current personalisation efforts heavily rely on assumptions about customers rather than high-quality insights. 71% also acknowledged that generalisations still form the foundation of too many personalisation campaigns, pointing to a significant gap between the personalised experiences consumers desire and what brands currently provide.

The study also shed light on how outdated technologies hinder effective personalisation. Only 33% of marketers claimed to possess the necessary technology to deliver hyper-personalised experiences tailored to individual customers.

These shortcomings largely stem from outdated technology, with a staggering 74% of marketers feeling that their current personalisation tools are no longer adequate.

However, the report also highlights the immense potential of personalisation to foster customer loyalty. A notable 65% of consumers are more loyal to a brand that has taken the time to understand them on a deeper, more personal level.

“In 2023, delivering truly personalised content is absolutely essential to meet individuals’ interests and needs, as well as to foster brand loyalty,” said Shafqat Islam, CMO of Optimizely. “But when the vast majority of marketers are using outdated technology, it’s nearly impossible for them to regularly meet consumer’s expectations, leading them to miss out on the strong growth opportunities that a data-led personalisation strategy provides.”

The findings of Optimizely’s report highlight the urgent need for brands to bridge the gap between customer expectations and the personalised experiences companies currently deliver. By investing in modern, data-driven technologies, such as web experimentation, brands can optimise their personalisation efforts and forge deeper connections with their customers.

While having modern personalisation technology is crucial for providing relevant online experiences, brands must also focus on making their content engaging and exciting to avoid appearing dull. To achieve this, marketing leaders should think about adopting a content marketing platform, providing a dedicated workspace where teams can organize workflows, collaborate on assets, and efficiently run campaigns. By simplifying the content creation process, marketers can dedicate more time to crafting and refining content and less time on administrative tasks.

Over half (51%) of UK consumers say that the targeted content they receive online is often “boring” or “unhelpful.”

OPINION: Reshaping marketing with generative AI: A new era of creativity and personalisation?

In an era defined by digital disruption, the marketing industry stands on the brink of a transformation driven by generative artificial intelligence (AI). As a technology capable of creating original content and making predictive analyses, generative AI promises to reshape marketing strategies, creative processes, and customer engagement in profound ways.

One of the most transformative applications of generative AI in marketing lies in content creation. AI algorithms can generate an array of marketing content, including product descriptions, social media posts, blog articles, and even video scripts, significantly accelerating content production and reducing its associated costs. Moreover, AI can tailor this content to target specific audiences or individuals, enhancing relevance and engagement.

This personalisation extends beyond just content. Generative AI can help marketers create highly personalised customer experiences, tailoring every touchpoint to the individual customer’s preferences, behaviours, and needs. For example, AI can generate personalised product recommendations, offers, and messages that resonate with the customer on a deeper level.

Predictive modelling is another promising application of generative AI in marketing. AI can analyse historical and real-time data to predict future customer behaviour, market trends, and campaign performance. These insights empower marketers to make informed, proactive decisions and to adapt their strategies dynamically.

Moreover, generative AI can revolutionise the creative aspect of marketing. AI tools can generate design concepts, logos, and promotional graphics, providing marketers with a starting point for their creative processes or helping them create diverse content more efficiently.

AI can also optimise ad placements by predicting which channels and times would yield the most engagement, ensuring more effective use of advertising budgets. Furthermore, it can generate A/B testing scenarios, allowing marketers to identify the most effective approaches quickly.

However, the integration of generative AI in marketing is not without challenges. These include ethical considerations around data privacy, potential depersonalisation of customer interactions, and the risk of AI-generated content lacking the authentic human touch.

In conclusion, the potential of generative AI to transform the marketing industry is enormous. By harnessing this technology, marketers can create more engaging content, deliver personalised customer experiences, and make data-driven decisions more efficiently. The successful marketers of tomorrow will be those who embrace generative AI today, using it not as a replacement for human creativity and intuition, but as a powerful tool that enhances these qualities.

In the hands of innovative marketers, generative AI is not just a disruptor but a catalyst for a new era of creativity, personalisation, and strategic marketing.

B2B buyers value 3rd party interactions more than those with digital suppliers

B2B buyers report that they value third-party interactions 1.4x more than digital supplier interactions, according to new Gartner data.Its survey of 771 B2B buyers conducted in November and December 2022 revealed some third- party interactions, such as reading customer references or reviews and consulting directly with third-party experts, are better suited to provide customers with value affirmation.

“Buyers want to feel confident throughout their purchase journey, and third-party sources can help get them there,” said Rick LaFond, Director Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice.

The survey showed YouTube as the top social media channel to influence a recent B2B purchase decision, followed by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok (see Figure 1).


Figure 1. Social Media Platforms Informing Recent B2B Purchase Decisions

Source: Gartner (June 2023)

“Social channels are extremely under leveraged platforms for B2B brands,” continued LaFond. “Marketers can go beyond using social channels for flashy short-form videos promoting brand values to truly demonstrate how the brand supports different customer needs and pain points across various stages of the buying process.”While third-party interactions are top of mind for B2B buyers, a supplier’s digital channels still can have a large impact on the purchase process. When asked to identify which digital supplier interactions were engaged during a purchase decision, B2B buyers identified a supplier’s website as the most leveraged channel, followed by the supplier’s social media channels, an online search for the supplier and the supplier’s interactive tools (e.g., product recommenders, price calculators).

“Brands do not need to have their social strategy solely rely on third-parties,” said LaFond. “The data clearly shows that buyers are approaching social from a holistic buying perspective.

“Brands’ digital experiences must improve if they are so far down the list of what customers value. Most B2B CMOs are probably not tapping into the return of third-party interactions despite the weight they carry in serving as information sources for their buyers.”

Cost of living crisis impacting how marketing teams allocate PR budgets

40% of PR professionals don’t expect their budgets to grow in 2023, with 1 in 4 (25%) admitting that they are seeing their PR budgets reduce.

When also asked to estimate the overall marketing budget being invested into PR, the majority (25%) answered they were seeing around 5%, with just 10% of respondents stating that up to 50% of their marketing spend was being invested into public relations activity.

The 2023 JBH PR Report – undertaken by the Manchester based digital PR and SEO agency JBH – surveyed 155 agency and in-house PR professionals.

Survey responses for the report were collected between February-March 2023, with some of the most notable takeaways from the report being:-

  • Just one in three (33%) of PR’s report to their clients/company on backlinks
  • One in six (17%) of PR’s are paying for editorial coverage for their clients
  • 70% of respondents say volume of coverage is the primary KPI in PR activity
  • Online and broadcast tops the list as the most desired form of coverage from brands and clients
  • The most common techniques implemented by PR’s in 2023 are proactive PR, reactive PR, and feature pitching
  • More than half (53%) of PR professionals admit that they are finding it more difficult to secure coverage through their pitches and campaign outreach in 2023 compared to previous years
  • More than two fifths (42%) of PR’s are confident that the headcount within their team will increase this year

Jane Hunt (pictured, above), CEO of JBH, said: “There’s no denying that 2023 is proving to be a trying time for those of us operating within the marketing industry. Budgets are under more severe scrutiny than ever before, and every penny counts when it comes to being able to prove the huge value that we know well executed PR activity can have for brands and clients.

“By collecting and understanding how others in the industry are tackling campaigns, outreach and measurement in the current climate, as well as their general experiences of the industry, it is our hope that The JBH PR Report gives PR’s at all levels a deeper understanding into the approaches being taken by their peers.”

More in depth information and analysis of The JBH PR Report can be found here:

‘Catalytic marketing’ will allow CMOs to drive profitable growth

Catalytic marketing experiences provide the greatest boost to commercially productive behaviours such as paying a premium or referring other customers to the brand.

That’s according to analysts at Gartner, who categorise catalytic marketing experiences as those that change customers’ understanding of their own needs and make them feel more confident moving in a new direction.

During the opening keynote of the Gartner Marketing Symposium/Xpo, Gartner experts explored how catalytic marketing can help alleviate the pressures CMOs are under to deliver profitable, digital growth amid disruption.

“In a pressurized environment, CMOs are eager to optimize their investments and justify their existence,” said Carlos Guerrero, VP, Advisory in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “Yet they overcompensate in their customer-focused activities, continuously investing in more channels, technology, customer data and personalization.

“The singular focus on customers results in a series of escalating and unprofitable investments in experiences that customers find invasive and tune out. To spark productive, lasting changes in organizations and audiences requires catalytic marketing.”

Catalytic experiences help marketers do less to get more: They don’t require additional integrated data, engagement across channels, nor more technology or a fully optimized engine for journey orchestration – all of which caters to CMOs’ budget and resource constraints.

Instead, they require one meaningful opportunity that prompts customers to stop and think, change their perspective on something they knew well, or teach them something entirely new about the brand.

Gartner research shows that a single catalytic digital experience doubles the likelihood of commercially productive behaviors. It matters even more than having a large number of memorable brand interactions and rating all of them as high-value.

For example, one cosmetics company provided customers with an AI-powered assessment of their unique skincare needs, simulating an in-person beauty advisor. Customers could reflect on and explore skin improvement goals based on an honest appraisal of their skin’s features compared to other people their age.

“The cosmetic brand went beyond being just another product recommender by supporting customers’ own self-assessment of their skin prior to being routed to any product recommendation,” said Lizzy Foo Kune, VP Analyst in the Gartner Marketing Practice. “Ultimately, the catalytic experience it provided deliberately elicited a moment of self-reflection that gave customers the confidence to commit to a new skin care regimen, providing lasting change in their target audience.”

The Three C’s of Catalytic CMOs: Clarity, Connections and Courage

Catalytic marketing must be supported by a distinct management orientation that allows CMOs to create and deploy these experiences at scale.

Catalytic marketing leaders demonstrate and cultivate unusual levels of:

  • Clarity (of strategy) – They willingly articulate a limited set of core objectives and brand traits, and exercise discipline in pursuing a small number of strategically important activities.
  • Connections (of capabilities) – They prioritize capabilities and management techniques that enable coordinated, adaptive use of resources, including converged channel management and cross-channel customer experiences.
  • Courage (of convictions) – They defend choices to constrain remits, push back on urgent but unimportant requests, and opt to pare or devolve ownership of non-core tasks or investments.

“Progressive CMOs are breaking free from the cycle of more by embracing catalytic marketing and, in the process, shifting from growing marketing’s scope to growing marketing’s success as an efficient growth engine for the enterprise,” concluded Guerrero.

66% of marketers ‘lack confidence’ in ability to achieve revenue goals

Research has highlighted the importance of data/analytics for marketers working to protect budgets and prove ROI in 2023.

A study conducted by Sprinklr and the CMO Council, Outsmart Adversity: Weathering Economic Headwinds and Emerging Poised for Growth, found that 2 in 3 marketing leaders lack confidence in their ability to achieve goals in the face of economic adversity and uncertainty.

Nearly 8 in 10 express concerns around lack of investment or budget cuts. Challenges with executing data-driven marketing strategies contribute to this lack of confidence.  

The report surveyed nearly 500 global marketing leaders to reveal key findings about how marketers feel about economic adversity, and how they can achieve revenue goals.  

Key findings include:  

  • 78% of marketers don’t strongly feel that they can convince the CFO to invest in marketing and not cut the budget. 
  • Facing budget challenges, a majority (68%) strongly agree that it’s imperative for CMOs and CIOs to collaborate this year to develop a competitive advantage with customer experience.  
  • However, even among highly confident marketers surveyed, only 32% are very satisfied in their ability to leverage data/analytics. Among less confident marketers, this falls to 10%. 
  • Internal collaboration and maximising ROI across marketing channels will be key to success. In the next 12 months, most marketers plan to create omnichannel customer experiences to help them emerge from economic uncertainty.  

“Marketers will have to build alliances with finance and IT to protect budgets and MarTech investments, and they’ll need to identify and shore up capabilities to build their confidence,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “These capabilities include gathering real-time insights that reveal how audiences really feel about your marketing on multiple channels, and then easily distributing this knowledge throughout the organisation.”

“In uncertain times, marketers face even more pressure to protect budgets and programs by demonstrating clear ROI,” said Arun Pattabhiraman, Chief MarketingOfficer, Sprinklr. “As our research with the CMO Council shows, marketers must embrace the opportunity to enhance the way they gather data, identify actionable consumer insights, and strengthen their engagement strategy across channels.”

Top ten PR and marketing tactics to help retain e-commerce customers

In 2022, the UK was expected to have almost 60 million e-commerce users — leaving only a minority of the population as non-digital buyers. As such, e-commerce has undeniably become the norm for shoppers everywhere in the UK, resulting in an increasingly competitive environment.

With this in mind, and following a 7,900% increase in monthly searches for “customer retention” over the last three years, PR and communications specialists Wild PR, has shared ten ways e-commerce business owners can build excellent customer relations and retain existing customers to maximise return sales and up-sells…

Define your target client personas

In order to retain customers, you need to ensure your strategy is formed on attracting the right people and getting a comprehensive understanding of their needs, goals and objectives.

Clarify your perfect target audience and personas by researching the current industry landscape and competitor profiles, as well as listening to your current customers so you can define your tone of voice to best engage with them. This will allow you to appeal to the right clients for your business.

Embed your brand purpose

When choosing brands to do business with, today’s consumers are more interested in the impact that brands have on the world than just what products or services they offer. To take your brand to the next level, you need a mission statement that resonates with your audience.

Brand purpose is essential because it shows customers that you’re more than just a product, service or advertising campaign; you have a larger goal, and it’s not just about making a profit.

Make customers feel appreciated and valued

This is often as simple as saying thank you. Express your thanks with a special written note or a coupon for their next visit in their delivery or via their order confirmation. This is a way to remind them again that they made the right decision in doing business with you.

Go the extra mile

Why not send a Happy Birthday or customer anniversary offer as a show of appreciation for your customer’s loyalty?

Maximise the use of data from your CRM to identify the best possible times to interact with your customers. Whether it’s their birthday, their anniversary of becoming a customer with you, their pet’s birthday or perhaps their wedding anniversary, there are multiple opportunities to show your customer how much you appreciate them.

This may be an email with a discount for their order, or you could send them an unexpected sample gift in the post with an offer code allowing for potential appreciation posts on their social media platforms, which could, in turn, generate customer referrals. Win-win!

Ask for feedback

How can you improve your customer service if you don’t ask them what they think? Surveys and other means of gathering feedback can help you to learn what your customers enjoy and where improvements can be made.

You can even incentivise this by providing a discount code for everyone who completes the survey as a token of thanks, which could result in increased orders.

Value honesty and integrity

As a business, it is crucial always to have a culture of honesty and integrity. Refrain from blaming the customer if something goes wrong with your product or if something is missing from an order and you still need to meet the customer’s expectations.

While the issues might be out of your hands, or it might indeed be the customer’s fault, find a way to fix the issue as quickly as possible and promptly respond to complaints politely and professionally.

If communication is being undertaken on social media pages, look for a way to take the communication privately to minimise the chances of the post showing in potential customer feeds.

Engage in two-way communication with customers

Two-way communication between brands and consumers is beneficial for both parties. Social media platforms, in particular, have made it easy for companies to connect with their customers so they no longer feel like strangers.

Make sure to respond to consumer feedback or questions, as failing to do so can create a sense of distrust, or potential customers could view you as being inactive and, as such, risk the loss of orders.

Building a community online

As part of the buyer journey, consumers are often primarily looking to learn more about a company’s products or services before making their purchase decision.

By building a strong online community that aligns with your business, you can strengthen brand loyalty and attract new customers. Companies can easily achieve this by providing educational content for customers through newsletters, forums, videos, blog posts, and even whitepapers.

Digital PR and Traditional PR

Customers who see a company being talked about in positive news stories are more likely to feel secure about their buying decisions when purchasing from the business.

Traditional PR, such as company announcements, product launches, thought leadership or commentary on relevant topics, can boost credibility when it comes to retaining and attracting clients.

While Digital PR can help drive referral traffic through an element of link building, helping your site rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). This tactic helps get you in front of new customers, reminds lapsed customers about your brand, and makes loyal customers advocate for your brand. All tactics that help increase sales.

Hire a PR agency to manage communications

Hiring a PR agency can help brands stay ahead of the curve and reach a much wider audience.

Usually, the agency would work alongside internal marketing teams or directly with CEOs and business owners to promote an e-commerce brand’s products and services while positioning them as the best option in the market.

Revealed: The solutions marketers need in 2023

Lead Generation & Tracking, Customer Engagement and Social Media top the list of solutions the UK’s leading marketing professionals are sourcing in 2023.

The data has been revealed by the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit, based on delegate requirements for this week’s event.

Delegates registering to attend were asked which areas they needed to invest in during 2023 and beyond.

The Top 5 is rounded out by Marketing Strategy and Multichannel.

The most in-demand services has changed markedly since May last year, when Lead Generation Pay Per Click and Google Ads topped the list.

% of delegates at the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit sourcing certain products & solutions (Top 10):

  • Lead Generation & Tracking
  • Customer Engagement
  • Social Media
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Multichannel
  • Data Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Pay Per Click
  • AI
  • Google Ads

To find out more about the Digital Marketing Solutions Summit, visit