Is it worth investing in marketing campaigns?

April 23, 2019
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In the automotive industry, manufacturers often have a large marketing budget which they can access. During just 2016, for example, figures from a Car Purchasing UK Report by Google revealed that £115.9 million had been invested in online display and direct mail by UK car dealerships.

Not every company and industry will receive these types of significant budgets to invest in marketing campaigns though. Digital visibility doesn’t come cheap when there’s increased interest in online platforms either, so questions can be raised about whether it’s worth the cost. Here, VW service provider Vindis investigates whether it is indeed worth investing in marketing campaigns…

Should you invest in marketing campaigns in the automotive industry?

A discussion about today’s auto shopper being more digitally savvy than they have ever been formed a part of Google’s Drive To Decide Report, created in association with TNS. The report found that over 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over have access to the internet for personal reasons, while 85% used smartphones and 65% chose a smartphone as their preferred device to access the internet. These figures show that for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.

Research online is carried out by 90% of auto shoppers, the same report also suggested. 51% of buyers starting their auto research online, with 41% of those using a search engine. To capture those shoppers beginning their research online, car dealers must think in terms of the customer’s micro moments of influence, which could include online display ads – one marketing method that currently occupies a significant proportion of car dealers’ marketing budgets.

In 2017, the automotive sector was responsible for 11% of the entire UK Digital Ad Spending Growth. This is according to eMarketer, which places the industry in second place behind only the retail sector. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

The majority of car purchases still occur on the forecourt of dealerships though. So, how is online influencing their decisions? 41% of shoppers who research online find their smartphone research ‘very valuable’. 60% said they were influenced by what they saw in the media, of which 22% were influenced by marketing promotions – proving online investment is working. Traditional methods of TV and radio still remain the most invested forms of marketing for the automotive sector mind – but in the last past five years, it is digital that has made the biggest jump from fifth most popular method to third, seeing an increase of 10.6% in expenditure.

Should you invest in marketing campaigns in the utilities industry?

In order to choose the right utilities supplier, many consumers are now seeking out the help of comparison websites. These types of sites could therefore be the key to many suppliers acquiring and retaining customers. With comparison websites spending millions on TV marketing campaigns that are watched by the masses too, it has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price, in order to stay in the game.

Featured in the list of the UK’s top 100 highest spending advertisers are the four largest comparison websites — Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare and Confused.com. Does that marketing investment reflect on utility suppliers? Consider too that comparison websites may be the difference between a high rate of customer retention for one supplier and a high rate of customer acquisition for another. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

Customer retention is now a marketing aim at British Gas, which is a shift in goals for the firm from the previous target of customer acquisition. Whilst the company recognises that this approach to marketing will be a slower process to yield measurable results, they firmly believe that retention will in turn lead to acquisition. The gas company hopes that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

A loyalty scheme which offers discounted energy and services is being invested in by British Gas. With an investment of £100 million, this initiative focuses on the value of a customer, their behaviour and spending habits over time to discover what they are looking for in the company. The utilities sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

Digital is also becoming more and more important to those in the utilities sector. 40% of all searches in Q3 2017 were carried out on mobile, and a further 45% of all ad impressions were via mobile too – according to Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017. As mobile usage continues to soar, companies need to consider content created specifically for mobile users as they account for a large proportion of the market now.

Should you invest in marketing campaigns in the fashion industry?

Fashion retailers simply should not ignore online investment if they are to be successful. After all, online sales in the fashion industry reached £16.2 billion in 2017! This figure is expected to continue to grow by a huge 79% by 2022. So where are fashion retailers investing their marketing budgets? Has online marketing become a priority?

Research by the British Retail Consortium suggested that ecommerce made up for almost a quarter of all purchases in December 2017 alone. Online brands such as ASOS and Boohoo are continuing to embrace the online shopping phenomenon as well. ASOS experienced an 18% UK sales growth in the final four months of 2017, whilst Boohoo saw a 31% increase in sales throughout the same period.

In an attempt to appeal to online shoppers and drive digital sales, millions of pounds have also been invested by well-known brands like Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and Next into their online operations and marketing strategies. John Lewis announced that 40% of its Christmas sales came from online shoppers, and whilst Next struggled to keep up with the sales growth of its competitors, it has announced it will invest £10 million into its online marketing and operations.

High-street stores are no longer as appealing to shoppers. Instead, they like the idea of being able to conveniently shop from the comfort of their home, or via their smartphone devices whilst on the move.

Then there’s the effect of influencer marketing. According to the PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency, 59% of fashion marketers increased their budget for this form of marketing last year. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. More than a third of marketers believe influencer marketing to be more successful than traditional methods of advertising in 2017 too, as 22% of customers are said to be acquired through influencer marketing.

Should you invest in marketing campaigns in the healthcare industry?

Marketing is approached rather differently in the healthcare industry, due to those in the sector generally being restricted by heavy regulations. The same ROI methods that have been adopted by other sectors simply don’t work for the healthcare market. Despite nearly 74% of all healthcare marketing emails remaining unopened, you’ll be surprised to learn that email marketing is essential for the healthcare industry’s marketing strategy.

Email is used by around 2.5 million people as a primary form of communication, with this technique increasing in both value and usage over the past few years alone. This means email marketing is targeting a large audience. For this reason, 62% of physicians and other healthcare providers prefer communication via email – and now that smartphone devices allow users to check their emails on their device, email marketing puts companies at the fingertips of their audience.

Companies in the healthcare sector should also see online marketing as being a worthwhile investment. Consider, for example, that one in 20 Google searches are for health-related content. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answers before calling the GP. Pew Research Center data shows 77% of all health enquiries begin at a search engine – and 72% of total internet users say they’ve looked online for health information within the past year. Furthermore, 52% of smartphone users have used their device to look up the medical information they require. Statistics estimate that marketing spend for online marketing accounts for 35% of the overall budget.

Don’t dismiss social media marketing techniques either. Whilst the healthcare industry is restricted to how they market their services and products, that doesn’t mean social media should be neglected. In fact, an effective social media campaign could be a crucial investment for organisations, with 41% of people choosing a healthcare provider based on their social media reputation! And the reason? The success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.

Final thoughts

Without a doubt, those in the fashion and automotive sectors really shouldn’t be shying away from investing in online marketing strategies. With a clear increase in online demand in both sectors that is changing the purchase process, some game players could find themselves out of the game before it has even begun if they neglect digital.

It’s a bit of a different story for those in the utilities industry though. Whilst TV and digital appear to remain the main sales driving forces, its more than just creating your own marketing campaign when comparison sites need to also be considered. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind.

You may have your own views about whether the investment will be worth it. If mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has done in the past few years, however, we forecast the investment to be not only worthwhile, but essential.

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