Is Online Marketing Beneficial to All Sectors?

Is Online Marketing Beneficial to All Sectors?

For some sectors, digital marketing is a necessity, whilst others are still discovering the advantages. But can digital marketing be beneficial for every sector?

£115.9million was poured into online display and direct mail marketing by the automotive industry in 2016. That’s according to Google’s Car Purchasing UK Report in April 2017. But the motor industry has a large budget to assign to marketing, where other sectors may not. Digital marketing is costly, and other sectors may wonder if the investment is worth it. Vindis, a Volkswagen dealership, has investigated the importance of digital presence.

A new footfall for fashion

Online sales hit £16.2 billion in 2017, leaving no room to deny the impression the online world has had on shopping. 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?

The British Retail Consortium reported that a quarter of purchases in December 2017 were done online. 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.

This is spreading to other huge retailers, with Marks and Spencer, Next, and John Lewis investing millions in online marketing to benefit from the appealing convenience of online shopping. 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 rise of smartphones and tablets is creating a new kind of footfall for the fashion industry, and one that is created by a different type of marketing.

PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency noted that influencer marketing was a hot pick for fashion marketers last year. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. Over 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.

Marketing motors

Google’s Drive To Decide Report (in association with TNS) shows that over 82% of the UK’s over 18s have access to the internet, and this is reflected in their changing shopping habits. These figures show that for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.

The report also notes the importance buyers are placing on researching online prior to purchase. 51% of buyers start 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 found that the motor sector accounted for 11% of the total UK Digital Ad Spending Growth in 2017, behind only the retail sector. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

This online research habit has an undeniable link to securing sales. 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.

In fact, digital marketing has risen from the fifth most popular method of marketing for the automotive industry to the third. This is a 10.6% increase in expenditure for the platform in the last five years alone.

Healthcare online

The healthcare industry faces different challenges when it comes to online marketing. 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.

Email is used by around 2.5 million people as their primary mode 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.

Many of us would agree that Google has become the go-to source for health-related questions. This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answers before calling the GP. In fact, Pew Research Center data shows 77% of all health enquiries begin at a search engine – 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.

But how does social media fit into this? 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 organizations, 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.

Retention for utilities

Many consumers research products online before purchasing, and the rise of comparison websites has offered customers a quick way to find the right utility suppliers. These websites could prove to be a vital, digital door for suppliers seeking customer retention and acquisition.

Comparison websites adverts are all over our TV screens, so it makes sense for utility suppliers to take advantage of this and shift their focus to how they are presented by those websites. The four largest comparison websites – Compare the Market, MoneySupermarket, Go Compare and Confused.com are among the top 100 highest spending advertisers in the UK, but does that marketing investment reflect on utility suppliers?

An appealing rate on comparison websites is vital to retain customers and gain new.  If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

British Gas have begun to hold customer retention as a top priority. Whilst the company recognize 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. British Gas hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention. They are set to put £100 million into a loyalty scheme in order to care for their existing customers.

It is important to consider the aspect of mobile usage too. Google’s Public Utilities Report in December 2017 showed that the utilities industry is attributed to 40% of searches and 45% of ad impressions on mobile devices. 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.

Should you invest?

The importance of digital marketing is strong across numerous sectors. With a clear increase in online demand, some game players could find themselves out of the game before it has even begun if they neglect digital, with the utilities sector has the additional facet of comparison websites to consider. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind.

Webstrategies.com expects that the average firm will push at least 41% of their marketing budget towards online marketing in 2018. This figure is 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 because of more mobile and online usage.

An investment in online marketing is worthwhile to establish that all-important online presence. 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.

Author: Amy Hodgetts is a copywriter at digital marketing agency, Mediaworks.

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