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Guest Blog: Bea Patman: Addressing the challenges in the marketing industry

Bea Patman, Head of SEO at Greenlight Digital

The marketing industry is often associated with innovation and creativity. In fact the Department for Culture, Media and Sport found that creative businesses contributed £84.1bn to the British economy, with creative industries growing at double the rate of the UK economy and marketing as one of its strongest sectors.

Clearly it is an exciting growing industry to work in, but what is it really like to work in marketing?

Greenlight’s 41 Hour Report, which assessed the current state of the industry, found digital marketers feel overwhelmingly positive about their role. The large majority of marketers (84%) enjoy their everyday job, with 40% going as far to say they feel “really positive” about their jobs. It seems that their enthusiasm is paying off, with 38% of marketers feeling that their colleagues understand their contribution to their broader business. It is evident that enthusiasm and recognition go hand in hand within the marketing industry.

However, there is always room for improvement and for the 16% who don’t enjoy their jobs, there are key points marketing leaders must address.

The gender pay gap is still commonplace in the marketing industry

Marketing has a reputation for being a female-dominated sector, however the 41 Hour Report discovered that even with that reputation, the gender pay gap is impacting women in this industry. On average male marketers out-earn women by almost a tenth, taking home an average of £48,025 per annum compared to £43,864 for women. This doesn’t differ when it comes to bonuses, with 54% of men receiving a bonus last year compared to just 35% of women. For all marketers to feel like they can progress their careers within the industry, the C-suite will have to look to fill this gap to make sure some marketers don’t jump ship.

All work and no play

When it comes to the biggest pet peeves among marketers, long hours come up top. In line with the marketing industry’s ‘always on’ culture, almost half (46%) of marketers feel like they work too much. The struggle to find the perfect balance is made worse by the rise of mobile, with employees being contactable from anywhere at any time. A healthy work-life balance is crucial for a marketing team’s success, with employees being able to provide fresh and innovative ideas if they are engaged both in and out of the workplace.

Lack of budget impacts success

The struggle to secure budget is a frustration for everyone. Marketers are no different, with 56% saying they struggle to secure budgets on an ongoing basis, whilst almost a third struggle to prove ROI to their bosses. With limited budget available it is no surprise that marketers feel that because of this they can’t perform to the best of their ability. It may not be possible to always get big budgets, but measurement is essential for proving why the budget is needed. To do this, digital marketers must work closely with the C-Suite to provide them with clear and measureable KPIs for the campaigns they are executing. The famous This Girl Can campaign by Sport England and FCB England had a significant budget of £10 million, and with clear, measureable goals it resulted in its video being viewed 36 million times on Facebook and YouTube. Marketers who worked on this campaign can hold their head up high as 1.6 million women were influenced by the campaign to start exercising.

Of course, not all companies will have a budget like this to play with, but if the C-suite takes the time to calculate the budget required and digital marketers map out what they can achieve for that budget, marketers will be in a better position to execute a campaign that will successfully contribute to the wider business.

Marketers enjoy their roles and it is evident that the rapidly changing environment is something they are really thriving from. However, when it comes to securing more budget and proving the worth of the department, digital marketers need to concentrate on measurement to grab the attention of the C-suite. If the C-level executives can see a justification for investment in tools and talent, many of the frustrations that the 41 Hour report has highlighted could be solved.

The next stage of software automation

Digital engagement specialist Parker Software has released ThinkAutomation 4.0, a sweeping update to the company’s leading business automation software. The upgrade adds extensive new functionality to the product, such as sentiment analysis, social media monitoring and SMS-driven automation, making it ideal for logistics, marketing and retail businesses looking to streamline processes. 

ThinkAutomation allows businesses to increase efficiency by automating tasks and processing documents and inbound messages. Version 4.0 builds on these functions with advanced document processing, which allows automatic conversion of file formats as well as attachment analysis, and SMS hotline functionality that can improve business communications.

Automated SMS functionality allows businesses to update systems via text. This is achieved by establishing hubs to receive specific messages, such as internal communications and delivery enquiries. Customers and employees text these numbers with enquiries or updates and ThinkAutomation sends personalised responses, as well as updating all relevant systems and databases.

“The development of business technology has meant that offices now operate in environments that are increasingly hectic and process-intensive,” explained Howard Williams, marketing director of Parker Software. “The latest update to ThinkAutomation adds more capabilities for the software to help businesses cut through the noise and stay on top of what really matters.

“Almost everybody has a mobile phone now, whether it’s a smartphone or a more traditional device. The introduction of SMS to database functionality in our software means that tasks can be streamlined more than ever before. Curious customers or ill employees will no longer have to navigate complex procedures, they simply send a message on-the-go and ThinkAutomation handles the rest. It’s a convenient business solution for the twenty-first century.”

The software also provides businesses the ability to monitor how people are responding to their brand more closely through sentiment analysis and social media monitoring. By setting the software up to process inbound data from social media accounts, ThinkAutomation can respond to key words and phrases and action them accordingly – either by notifying relevant personnel or by delivering automated responses.

“The rise of social media and internet forums has meant that customers have more platforms than ever before to review businesses in a negative light – with ever growing audiences,” continued Williams. “This poses a problem to businesses in that the vast quantity of data generated by monitoring company mentions is not only daunting but, for a large percentage, not meaningful or useful.

“Sentiment analysis allows businesses to break down online interactions by specific search strings, individually highlighting both the positive and negative content. This can then be automatically responded to with keyword recognition and pre-determined answers, or even create a new entry in a database.”

Hyundai launches UK’s first online-only car store

Hyundai has started what it claims to be the first entirely-online car store, with cash buyers able to have their brand new car delivered straight to their door.

The site, called Click To Buy, aims to streamline the process of buying a car, and you can reportedly finish your transaction within 5 minutes of opening the site.

It’s also possible to trade-in your old car, but that still requires exchanging it at a local dealership.

“The entire online process is possible to complete in about the same time as it would take to refuel your car,” said Tony Whitehorn, President and CEO of Hyundai UK, who believes the ‘haggle-free’ software is “a real benefit for those who feel uncomfortable doing so or simply don’t have the time.”

The site means you can order a brand new Hyundai from your mobile phone, but those paying through finance will still require additional paperwork.

“This is a pivotal time for the car industry as a whole and the start of what I think will be a transformative period,” explained Mr Whitehorn, “I’m delighted that we are leading the charge and we will continue to innovate within this space moving forward.” group acquires WAYN to boost content offering and audience reach…

The European leader in the online travel and leisure industry, group, has confirmed that it has acquired the largest travel social networking platform, ‘WAYN, Where Are You Now?’, in a bid to garner further traction across the group’s portfolio of travel sites.

It is thought that WAYN will be integrated with group’s new media business, the ‘Travel People’ to mark the next step of its ‘ambitious’ strategy to help advertisers showcase stories through powerful content – engaging a captive audience with WAYN’s 20 million registered members, as well as continuing to attract lastminute’s 43 million monthly unique visitors.

Chief audience architect of group, Marco Corradino, said: “WAYN is the perfect fit for group. The WAYN team is a group of exceptional entrepreneurs who have created a vibrant community of travellers who enjoy sharing millions of travel opinions. Its business complements and expands our offering in Europe and, with its strong social travel network platform; it will become the content hub for our entire group.”

The group’s current network of leading online brands consists of:, Rumbo, Volagratis, Bravofly and Jetcost.

Techdept launches ‘Marketing Tech Masterclass’ course…

The marketing technology innovation company, Techdept has developed a free 14-day Marketing Tech Masterclass’ online course designed to provide an easily understandable introduction for traditional marketers and business leaders looking to explore the digital platform.

Launched a few weeks ago, the course has already gained 700 participants and modules covered throughout include; ‘Using Data’, Culture, Millenials and the Open Business System’, ‘Destressing Developments’ and ‘Buzzword roundup’.

Co-founder and CEO, Dan Kirby, said: “When you work in digital marketing its easy to take for granted that everyone knows what you know. The truth is that, for many business professionals, staying up to speed with new tech is really hard, and if you feel behind the curve you’re not alone. This creates a problem for those of us in the field of marketing technology, as many people are just a bit confused by the subject, hampering our efforts to win new business.”

He continued: “That’s why we’ve created this free 14-day programme of insights and ideas, which should help anyone better understand this new world. All the content is based on our hands-on experiences and direct insights learnt while working with leading brands, and within our own company and technology investments.”

You can sign up to the Marketing Tech Masterclass here