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industry research

Three quarters of UK marketers ‘miss global opportunities’

Research from Rakuten indicates UK marketers are missing a major sales opportunity, with 74% focused on the local market, despite seeing huge potential in affluent APAC shoppers.

It cites Singles’ Day 2017, which saw online shoppers from at least 225 countries and regions spend more than $25 billion across Alibaba’s platforms, more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined – but just 13% of UK marketers are focused on the China-led sales day.

Instead, 56% of marketers say they now keep marketing campaigns constant throughout the year. It’s a strategy that Rakuten says is built around local consumer behaviour and a growing trend in early holiday shopping.

In the UK, two of the most dominant shopper profiles are the ‘Early Bird Shopper’ (18%), planning up to a year ahead, and the ‘Sporadic Shopper’ (23%) who buys gifts throughout the year, as uncovered by the recent Unwrapping the Global Holiday Gift Shopper report.

However, this approach leaves an ever-growing opportunity untapped, says Rakuten. Anthony Capano, Managing Director of Europe, said: “In Britain alone, as many as 35% of transactions driven for Rakuten Marketing clients are now taking place overseas. Marketing teams must start focusing on these demographics and carrying out thorough research into local consumer behaviour and trends to inform campaigns.”

Interestingly, marketers have an overwhelmingly positive outlook on the potential for growth in overseas markets. Nearly two-thirds of UK marketers believe their target customers outside of the UK are wealthier (62%), younger (64%) and more digitally savvy (71%).

This sentiment is highest among marketers targeting Asia-Pacific where 82% confirm they see their customer base in the region as ‘premium buyers’.

However, Rakuten Marketing’s recent research report, New Horizons: A Guide to Reaching Consumers in High-growth Global Markets, found just 11% of marketers say they have local marketing teams in overseas markets able to carry the responsibility for the international roll-out of campaigns.

Capano added: “Fortunately our research also shows APAC shoppers are actually far more likely to visit the brand site itself as part of the online journey than their western counterparts, allowing teams the opportunity to start small, measure and evolve their strategy. Instead of shying from the international stage, it’s time for UK marketers to invest in seasonal marketing campaigns and Singles’ Day is no exception. It will prove highly rewarding for early movers.”

To reach customers in the lucrative Chinese market, Rakuten says marketers must not only embrace seasonal peaks and the opportunity therein, they must think about the additional platforms they use. Some UK marketers are increasingly using platforms such as the messaging app, WeChat: 36% have used the platform personally. Similarly, 30% have tried the microblogging website Weibo and 18% have tried the social network Renren.

UK marketing budgets show weak growth in 3Q18

UK marketing budgets rose during 3Q18 but at a much slower rate than previous quarters, according to the latest data from the IPA Bellwether Report.

Although it’s six years since the survey recorded negative growth, the latest quarter’s figure is the lowest since before the EU Referendum.

21% of the IPA Bellwether panel’s members revised total marketing budgets upwards in Q3, and around 18% downwards, giving an overall net balance of 2.5%.

This translates into the lowest figure since Q4 of 2015, and down significantly on the 6.5% recorded in Q2.

While Internet marketing showed a positive net balance at 13.6% mobile marketing budgets showed very little growth, with a net gain of 1.9%.

Interestingly, more ‘traditional’ marketing spend was more robust, with the net balance for ‘main media advertising’ at 4.9%, (up slightly from 4.8% in Q218).

Net contractions were recorded for events marketing (-1.1%), market research (-3.7%), direct marketing (-7.4%) and ‘other’ marketing (-9.9%).

For more report insight, check out www.ipa.co.uk/page/ipa-bellwether-report .