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Wednesday Insight: spotlight on the marketing sector

Wednesday Insight: spotlight on the marketing sector

The UK’s advertising and marketing industry is one of the largest and most lucrative in the world, employing half a million people, many of which are based in small, medium and micro enterprises. In this blog, we look at the challenges facing SMMEs in the sector and how they can adapt to them.

Key figures

  • The marketing and advertising sectors have created almost 500,000 jobs in the UK alone
  • 70,000 new advertising-related jobs could be created in the UK by 2019
  • The UK’s advertising market is the fourth largest in the world
  • UK advertising and marketing created £13.3bn of Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2014
  • UK digital advertising overtook television advertising in 2010 and continues to grow

Digital expertise

As marketing moves increasingly online, it is more important than ever for small businesses to ensure that their employees are digitally savvy. Digital advertising revenue more than trebled between 2009 and 2015 and buyers seek out forward-thinking marketing firms who can demonstrate specialist knowledge. However, few businesses seem to think they can provide this: a report from the Confederation of British Industry revealed 76% of businesses in the sector think there is a shortage of digital skills available, despite 84% agreeing that these skills are more important today than they were two years ago. SMMEs need to ensure their recruitment strategies are targeting employees that can provide this.

Standing out from competitors

As the marketing and advertising sectors have grown, so too has the number of small businesses in the industry. This means that when bidding for particularly large and lucrative contracts, SMMEs face fierce competition from other agencies. The way that marketing firms market themselves is crucial.

When growing a business, SMMEs should be thinking about how they present themselves as different from their competitors and communicate their unique skillset. For guidance on how to do this in a low-cost and effective way, read our blog post.

Adapting to new technologies

An important part of standing out from competitors is demonstrating how your business is aware of new technologies that can revolutionise how marketing and advertising campaigns are executed. Knowledge of recent innovations that are disrupting the sector, such as the rise of mobile marketing and use of artificial intelligence, can allow small businesses to stay ahead of their competitors and offer unique services to their customers.

If you have any questions or would like further information about the range of support on offer in the Building Legacies Programme, please contact Danny Hackett on or call the office on 020 7537 6480.


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