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Nearly two thirds of businesses in the UK have no marketing strategy in place for the year ahead, according to research by web design and marketing agency, Digimax.

Despite marketing traditionally being viewed as integral to business, shaping the way in which a company is viewed by both its customers and its investors, the study also found that the majority of businesses spending just 6-10% of their revenue on marketing.

While those figures might seem alarming, the research also revealed that there appears to be an industry divide, with some sectors prioritising marketing more than others.

Of the 407 companies interviewed for the research, the leisure industry seemed the most switched on to the potential of marketing, with 96% having a firm marketing strategy in place, for this year and beyond, with the average spending 6-10% of their revenue on brand awareness.

Companies within the housing sector were also more inclined to have a marketing strategy in place, with almost two thirds (64%) answering the question in the affirmative, and some claiming to set aside as much as 11-30% of their revenue to deal with their marketing needs.

Almost half of all respondents answered said they spend ‘less than 5%’ of revenues on marketing; a third claimed to have budgeted 6-10% of their revenue, while just 16% said that they were prepared to spend more than 11% of their profits on marketing. Interestingly though, although it seems that very few healthcare brands (20%) are prioritising marketing, those that do, have the most generous budgets, with almost 10% spending up to 50% of their annual revenue on marketing.

Shaz Memon, CEO of Digimax, said: “It’s easy to underestimate the power of marketing, and in times of austerity the marketing budget seems like a soft target, but I can’t help but wonder if for many of these companies a reduction in marketing could be a false-economy.

“While it can be difficult to measure ROI, clever marketing can make a huge impact on the success or failure of a company. It’s not just about attracting customers, but attracting the right kind of customer, and without that it can be very difficult to succeed.”