International Finance
Investment July - August 2018 Magazine

Seeking an RoI on industry marketing

A comprehensive and realistic market analysis of why investments are necessary across key industries

In 2016, car dealers in the UK invested around £115.9 million in online display and direct mail according to results from Google’s Car Purchasing UK Report in April 2017.

However, this is only because car manufactures have a notoriously high budget to play with when it comes to marketing their products. With increased interest in online platforms, digital visibility doesn’t come cheap — but is it worth the cost? Audi dealership, Vindis, investigates.

Automotive Marketing

From the Google’s Drive To Decide Report, it was found that 82% of Britain’s population aged 18 and above have access to the internet for personal reasons, a high 85% use smartphones and 65% choose to use their smartphone over any other device when accessing the internet. These figures show that for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.

The report also found that 90% of auto shoppers carry out research online. Fifty-one percent 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.

Out of all the UK Digital Ad Spending Growth in 2017, the automotive sector was responsible for 11% — putting them second to retail businesses. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

But how is online marketing influencing the decision of car buyers? 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.

We’ve known the automotive industry to invest a lot of their budget into both television and radio advertisements, however the past five years have witnessed a change — with expenditure in digital marketing increasing to 10.6%.

Fashion Marketing

Online sales in the fashion industry hit £16.2 billion in 2017, showing that online investment is crucial to deliver success. 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?

E-commerce websites accounted for almost a quarter of purchases — driven by successful websites like ASOS and Boohoo last year. 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.

Trying to grab the attention of online shoppers, companies such as M&S, John Lewis and Next have invested millions into their online marketing. 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.

Shopping online has become an easier alternative for consumers, as it allows them to browse from any location at any time — whether this is on their mobile device or their tablet.

Influence marketing is now on the horizon, and PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency revealed that 59% of fashion retailers increased their budget around this area. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. However, more than a third of marketers believe influencer marketing to be more successful than traditional methods of advertising in 2017 – as 22% of customers are said to be acquired through influencer marketing.

Utilities Marketing

When it comes to finding the right utilities supplier, many consumers are looking at comparison websites to find the best deal possible.

Comparison websites are spending millions on television advertisements so it’s crucial for utility businesses to be listed on the actual website because essentially, it’s free exposure when a viewer then goes to look on the site and stumbles across your business.

Not only that, but Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare and are within the top 100 companies that spend the most on advertising — highlighting the importance of associating your business with such sites.

There can be a key difference when it comes to comparison websites — offering either a high rate of customer retention or delivering new customers. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

For example, British Gas has changed its marketing objectives and is looking to retain their current customers rather than acquire new ones. 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 hopes that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

Taking into account the value of the customer, their behaviour and spending habits over time — £100 million is being invested into a loyalty scheme, which will in turn offer discounted energy and services. The utilities sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

Research released by Google’s Public Utilities Report in December of 2017, the utilities industry has become more present digitally. 40% of all searches in Q3 of 2017 were on a mobile device; not only that, but 45% of ad impressions came from mobile too. 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.

Healthcare Marketing

When it comes to marketing in the healthcare sector, there are rules and regulations that must be followed. 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.

Over the past few years, the number of people who use email as a primary way of communication has increased and an estimated 2.5 million people do so currently. 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.

One in 20 Google searches are queries surrounding healthcare, which shows that online marketing is essential. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answer before calling the GP.

Discovered by Pew Research Center, it was found that 77% of all health enquiries start at the search engine and 72% of people mentioned that they’ve used the internet for health information over the past 12 months. 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.

However, social media marketing should not be overlooked. 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. The reason behind the success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.


Online marketing is crucial for the likes of fashion and automotive sectors. 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.

There are alternatives for sectors like utilities too, who can benefit from website listings. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind. According to, the average firm in 2018 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.

If mobile and online usage continues to grow year on year at the rate it has done in the past few years, we forecast the investment to be not only worthwhile but essential.


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