How Effective is Marketing Spend?

Businesses spend millions of pounds every year in the UK on marketing, in an attempt to win new customers, and retain current ones.

But, just how effective is marketing spend across the various business sectors?  Skoda dealership, Vindis, investigate:

The car market

Google conducted a survey in coincidence with TNS. From the report, named Drive to Decide, it became apparent that today’s auto shopper is considerably more tech savvy than they were in the past. 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over having access to the internet for personal reasons, 85% using smartphones, and 65% choose 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.

From the same report it became apparent that 90 per cent of automotive shoppers carry out their research online. 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.

EMarketer conducted their own respective report, which discovered that the automotive industry accounted for 11% of the total UK Digital Ad Spending Growth in 2017, placing the industry in second place behind the retail sector. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

Car purchases are still, majorly, taking place on the forecourt, so, what role is online playing in influencing decision? 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.

The traditional forms of media, such as television and radio are still the most invested in platforms – 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.


In regard to marketing, the healthcare system is incredibly different to any alternatives – generally because it is 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.

More than two and a half million people use email as their primary means of communication. 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.

Online marketing is another platform that is a worthwhile investment for healthcare, especially when you consider 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 answer before calling the GP.

77% of all health enquiries begin at a search engine according to Pew Research Centre – 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.

Of course, social media marketing can’t be forgotten. 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.

The fashion retailer

Much of a fashion retailer’s success hinges upon their online presence – with online sales in the fashion industry reaching £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?

As of December 2017, ecommerce accounted for nearly a quarter of all purchases, according to the British Retail Consortium, as online brands such as ASOS and Boohoo continue to embrace the online shopping phenomenon. 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.

Major UK brands such as John Lewis, M&S, and Next have all invested heavily in their online marketing, helping to drive digital sales. 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.

The biweekly visit to the high street to go clothes shopping is no longer on the agenda of the consumer – 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.

59% of fashion marketers increased their budget for influencer marketing last year, suggests PYMB, an influencer marketing agency – an essential marketing tactic in the fashion industry. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy.

Approximately 30 per cent of marketers believe influencer marketing is more successful than traditional methods of advertising in 2017 – as 22% of customers are said to be acquired through influencer marketing.

Competing against the ‘Big Six’

Many consumers are now turning to other energy providers, e.g. Flogas, rather than stick with the traditional ‘Big Six’.  When it comes to deciding which utility company to go with – comparison websites could be the key to many suppliers acquiring and retaining customers.

Comparison websites are investing heavily in commercials that are watched by millions; therefore 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.

The UK’s four biggest comparison websites – Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare, and — are among the top 100 highest-spending advertisers in the UK, but does that marketing investment reflect on utility suppliers?

Comparison websites, such as the aforementioned four brands, can make an incredibly large difference in regard to customer retention. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers from choosing your competitors over you?

Customer retention was once British Gas’ main aim however, this has now shifted, and they have begun to focus on customer acquisition. Whilst the company recognise 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 hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

More than £100m is being invested into a customer loyalty scheme, offering discounted energy and services, which 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 utility sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers. The utility sector has also cut itself a slice of the digital cake, as 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.


For industries such as the automotive and fashion ones, it is clear to see that marketing is crucial to their success! 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.

For those such as utilities, the picture looks to be a lot bigger – 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 be considered. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind.

The average firm in 2018, according to, is expected to allocate at least 41% of their marketing budget to online strategies – with this figure expected to grow to 45% by 2020. Social media advertising investments is expected to represent 25% of total online spending and search engine banner ads are also expected to grow significantly too – all presumably as a result of more mobile and online usage.

With this in mind, accompanied by all the previous information, do you believe that marketing does really produce a positive return on investment.


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