UK B2B Marketing Blogs

33 key skills, 5 areas of expertise. How do modern marketers fare? 

Quite badly, as it turns out. 

The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing (IDM) conducted the Professional Skills Census 2018, exploring the skills that marketers use daily and those that will aid their career progression. 

Alarmingly, nearly half of surveyed marketers (49%) said they have not received training in 13 key skills they believe are essential to their career and the success of the industry. These skills include mobile marketing, analysing customer data, presentation, client management and optimising campaigns. 

Jane Cave, Managing Director of IDM, said: ‘To attract and retain talented staff, and remain relevant in an environment that thrives on innovation, organisations need to promote a culture of continuous upskilling and reward employees for their professional development.’ 

Dubbed The ‘Quantum Marketing’ Skills Challenge, this research surveyed 377 marketers to establish how relevant they believe their marketing skill set to be to face the industry challenges of the future.


Colourless, commonplace, clichéd. 

How awful would it be if these words described your business? Unfortunately, many companies should raise their hands in guilt while they succumb to the most common pitfalls in branding… 

Vistaprint conducted research into 1,000 UK business websites to analyse how they are presenting themselves. Each outfit’s website copy, fonts, imagery, colours and domain authority (DA) were reviewed to see how they differed from each other. 

The Small Business Uniqueness Report found that brands are failing to differentiate, risking losing out on sales opportunities and jeopardising wider UK economic growth. 

How? 

Well, when it comes to adjectives, businesses are using overused ones (think ‘friendly’, ‘experienced’, ‘family-run’) or using just one or two, which hinders identity. Companies are also unconfident about using colours and too many fonts are being used, creating a confused impression. There is also a problem with lack of imagery. All in all, it adds up to a picture of a corporation whose identity is drab and unclear. 

It seems that, when it comes to branding, a lot of companies are simply forgetting to be different.


Apple is now worth $1 trillion. 

That’s right - $1 trillion! 

To put that into perspective, that’s equivalent to, um, buying a million million songs on iTunes. 

It’s officially the world’s first publicly traded company to hit this mark, with shares at a record high of over $207. Apple’s closest competitors are Amazon and Alphabet, Google’s parent company. 

Founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, Apple has seen its share price rise by more than 50,000%. That’s equivalent to, um, nothing else really on this planet. Ever. 

Apple say they now have 1.3 billion active devices worldwide. There are currently around 7.6 billion people in the world. 

So the question is: does everyone reading this own an Apple product?


Take a look at the advert below. What’s wrong with it? 

A group of ungainly cartoon animals try to nab some coconuts from a tree. Coco the Monkey comes along and offers them a delicious bowl of Coco Pops instead. 

Is it saying chocolate is better than fruit? 

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has now banned this ad from being broadcast around children’s TV programmes. The ruling comes among ongoing debate about how brands target foods high in fat, sugar and salt towards kids. 

Earlier this summer, the ASA banned online adverts from Cadbury, Chewits and Squashies, saying the companies ‘did not do enough’ to prevent children from seeing the content. 

A spokesperson for Kellogg’s UK and Ireland, owner of the Coco Pops brand, said: ‘We are disappointed with this decision. We have now reduced sugar in Coco Pops Original by 40%, but kept the same great taste. This means original Coco Pops now also meets the strict nutritional profiling for foods that can be advertised on children’s TV.’ 

Cute and funny, or irresponsible and careless? Where do you stand? 


Check this out. Pretty cool, huh? 

As part of Goodyear’s 120th birthday celebrations, the American tire and blimp company surveyed adults and children on what they thought transport would look like in 2138. 

Illustrator Edward Monaghan was tasked with pulling all the ideas together and creating a surreal visual feast. Spaceships, interplanetary travel, floating cities and colossal bridges have made the final cut. 

Monaghan said: ‘I was initiated into the project with the naive, optimistic considerations of the young, alongside the worldly, pragmatic nostalgia or those with a greater abundance of years collected. What you see before you is a personal mental vortex, absorbing their matter and blasting out spontaneous order from their collective chaotic potential.’ 

Shame we won’t be around to enjoy it!


Hooray for print advertising in newspapers! 

New research by the Advertising Association and WARC has found that national newspapers in the UK are experiencing the best start to a year since 2010 in terms of advertising revenue. 

Print display advertising in the national newspaper market rose by 1% to £153m in the first quarter of 2018, reversing a trend of aggressive decline. 

So why the turnaround? Apparently, advertisers are diverting their ad spend away from social media platforms like Facebook due to issues of trust. Recent events associated with brand safety have seemingly spooked global giants like Procter & Gamble and Unilever. 

The biggest national press advertisers during this period were Sky, BT, Imagine Cruising, DFS and Asda. 

Maybe it really is time to get into the papers again…


Are you ready for this? 

  • The average person in the UK is now spending ONE FULL DAY a week online.
  • People check their phones every 12 minutes despite the practice of phone calling diminishing.
  • A fifth of the population feel ‘stressed’ when deprived of the Internet.
  • And women are spending more time than men online for the first time ever. 

Phew. 

A new survey conducted by media regulator Ofcom has basically found us to be a nation of Internet addicts. We are spending more time online than ever, with Internet usage DOUBLING over the past decade alone. 

The Communications Market 2018 also found that 7 in 10 commuters use their smartphone during the journey, with the most popular activity being sending and receiving messages. 

So how does this make you feel? Are you happy to embrace the evolving habits in an ever-smarter and more connected world? Or are you sad that we’re losing genuine human interaction and disappearing into machines?


How are your banner ads and do they meet viewability guidelines? 

An alarming 42% of all UK display ads are not meeting the guidelines set by the Media Ratings Council. Online adverts are only deemed viewable if at least half of their surface appears in the visible area of the browser for at least one second. 

The Viewability Benchmarks report by Meetrics also found that the UK ranks in the lower half of the global table in terms of viewability rates. The best was measured in the Austrian market (73%) followed by Sweden (64%) against an international average of 61%. 

A few months ago, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) launched a 100% viewability standard in the UK. 

Philipp von Hilgers, managing director of Meetrics said: ‘The UK market has historically been in last place for viewability, but optimisation measures are finally taking effect. Nevertheless, the UK still has work to do to catch up with performance rates internationally.’ 

It’s not all bad news however: Meetrics also discovered that UK consumers view display ads for five seconds more than the international average.


GDPR leaves a scorched path, with weary companies reluctant to email customers with marketing materials. Best to be prudent, given all the bad anti-email press generated by the GDPR storm. 

But are these fears unfounded? 

Apparently so. In an online survey, marketing trade association DMA has discovered that a huge 73% feel that email is still their preferred marketing channel. Post came second, ahead of other platforms like social media, text message, face-to-face and telephone. 

Acquisition and the Consumer Mindset also found that 90% of respondents are aware of GDPR, and 38% feel simple-to-understand information makes for trustworthy marketing messages.   

Rachel Aldighieri, managing director of DMA, said: ‘It is encouraging to see that GDPR hasn’t had a negative impact on consumer perceptions of email marketing. Evidently, it remains a key way to engage customers when it is used to promote the right opportunities at the right times.’ 

So, the conclusion here is… email away!


Digital advertisers are wasting a shocking £40 million on ad fraud every day. That’s almost £14.5 billion per year, representing nearly 10% of total digital advertising spend worldwide. 

The estimate from Juniper Research illustrates the sheer magnitude of the problem of fraudulent adverts. Google blocks billions of ‘bad ads’ every year, but even this is just a relatively minor arrow into the monster of continual fraud. 

Ad fraud refers to activities that aim to get commission for adverts that are never really seen by consumers. They are becoming ever harder to detect, tricking advertisers into giving up millions for nothing. 

With advanced sneaky techniques such as ad injection, pixel stuffing, domain laundering, ad stacking and botnets, how can advertisers protect themselves from ad fraud and increase the effectiveness of their digital campaigns

Here is a list of quick tips: 

  • Invest in a digital anti-fraud tool
  • Watch campaigns for suspicious traffic and look out for unusual changes
  • Use an ad verification vendor
  • Block countries with the highest ad fraud rate
  • Use both domain whitelists and blacklists
  • Consider private marketplaces
  • Know whom you’re directly buying media from 

Our final piece of advice is that fraudsters are getting more inventive every year; keep a keen eye on your campaigns and your ear close to the ground for any developments.


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