UK marketers ‘must focus on innovation’

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Despite ambitions to grow over the course of 2014 in line with the improved UK economy, British marketers are insufficiently focused on the use of innovative technology, according to a new report from the Cranfield University’s School of Management.

Although 87 per cent of respondents hope to expand their operation and attract new customers in the coming 12 months, above the 75 per cent figure for the rest of the world and the highest figure recorded for the last three years, this outcome-focused approach may lead to a lack of focus on correct process.

Worryingly, UK marketers also feel more fiscally constrained than their international rivals, with 59.4 per cent feeling they have sufficient resources compared to 66.3 per cent on a global basis.

Report authors Dr Stan Maklan and Dr Radu Dimitriu say it paints a picture of “willing the ends but not the means”, highlighting the need for efficiency and technological innovation within British businesses keen to attract new customers.

Tactically, CRM dominates as the main area of investment for UK respondents, although this was not the case abroad. However, enhancing customer experience was identified as a priority across the globe.

Taking advantage of technological opportunities remains the number one functional priority for marketers, indicating just how much advances in big data analysis and consumer targeting have altered the face of the industry.

Cranfield are concerned that this investment may not be sufficiently well-planned, meaning that businesses will not see the return on investment they are aiming for.

“We therefore worry that the UK’s top marketers need to show a broader leadership stance in promoting the degree of innovation and export-led growth demanded by today’s situation and to invest in building the capabilities their departments need around Big Data, technology led change and sustainability,” the study concluded.

Although having the right people in place is clearly important, this study highlights just how important utilising next-generation tech is when it comes to attracting customers, both in B2B and B2C marketing.