London is arguably the commercial hub of the UK, and with over 1.7 million businessmen and women working in the city, it’s no wonder that online marketing is such a popular choice among marketing agencies. The talent, expertise, and innovation of its entrepreneurs, designers, and developers means that even the most established industries are regularly challenged and changed by technology.
Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, London has taken on a new identity. Established businesses are closing down their offices, and freelancers and consultants are now conducting business online. As a result, consumer habits and expectations have changed – and so have marketing strategies.
The Rise of the Online Marketer
The old order dictated that marketing agencies should operate in-house, utilizing the services of creative individuals and specialists for specific tasks. While this still occurs, the rise of the online marketer is now making in-house marketing departments somewhat redundant. To quote the renowned digital marketer, Matt McIlwrick, “in a world of instant information and digital marketing, in-house marketing teams aren’t needed for new ventures anymore.”
This trend is clear not only in London, but throughout the UK. According to a 2019 report from AccountAbility, over 80% of businesses are now operating a digital marketing strategy, and this is a trend that is likely to continue.
Why Marketing Agencies in London?
It’s no secret that London is a hub of entrepreneurship and innovation, and the marketing industries are no exception. Since the early days of the agency model, when practitioners were tasked with coming up with innovative ideas for clients, marketing agencies have been at the forefront of digital marketing innovation. This is likely thanks to the fact that agencies need to constantly evolve with the changing times to ensure that they remain relevant and productive.
A 2018 report from the UK Advertising and Marketing Association (4A’s) found that 45% of marketers are planning to experiment with online marketing in the coming year, 35% are planning to use social media, and 22% are planning to use video marketing. While these figures might not seem extremely innovative, when taken alongside the fact that over 80% of businesses are now using digital marketing, it’s clear that the industry is moving towards more entrepreneurial models.
The Changing Role of the Creative
Over the years, marketing agencies have evolved from simply providing advertising space to being strategic advisors and innovators in the field. Thanks to the advent of the internet and social media, creatives have always been involved in the marketing process, but their influence and impact has grown exponentially. Thanks to the likes of Google and YouTube—and to a lesser extent, Facebook—creatives can now have a huge impact on the success of a campaign, largely due to the interactivity that platforms such as these offer.
Odds are your customers are already on social media, and your brand doesn’t exist solely in digital space. While it’s important to have a presence on social media, it’s also crucial to develop a strategy for when and how you will interact with your audience. As a result, agencies are looking to evolve their models to take into account the changing role of the creative.
The Evolving Agency: New Leadership, New Scope
Traditional agencies might operate with a central marketing manager who relies on a team of strategists, account handlers, and marketers to come up with innovative ideas for advertising campaigns. While this type of structure still exists, the lines of responsibility and the number of people involved have changed. More and more agencies are relying on a mix of individuals with various specialties, including marketing, creative, operations, and technology.
The result is a more diverse and multi-disciplinary approach to marketing. In some cases, entire marketing departments might be involved in the creation of a single commercial.
Digital Marketing Agencies in London: Key Facts
With so much change in the industry, it’s important to keep abreast of the times if you want to be a successful digital marketer. Here are a few facts about the London marketing agencies that you might want to know.
• 47% of businesses are now operating a digital marketing strategy, compared to 35% who are operating a strategy based on traditional methods. It’s clear that the digital marketing landscape is changing, and established marketing agencies need to change with it.
• Just 6% of businesses are now operating with less than five employees, while 16% are operating with more than fifty. Small businesses are increasingly reliant on digital marketing to grow their operations, while large businesses are using in-house marketing teams to maintain a visible presence online.
• The average cost to run a business in London is £16,600, and 28% of those businesses plan to increase their marketing spend compared to last year. Since businesses are paying more for marketing services, agencies might want to look for new ways to monetize. The truth is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to digital marketing. Each business and marketing strategy is a bit different, and that’s what makes it so exciting.
So, which digital marketing agency in London should you choose? There aren’t really any hard and fast rules, but here are a few pointers that might be helpful.
Just because you’re an entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t mean that you should go it alone when it comes to marketing. A large portion of the responsibility of running a business rests with the people who make it work. This is particularly important when you’re operating as part of a small team, or as an independent contractor. You might want to consider whether or not you want to outsource some of the administrative tasks, such as payroll and bookkeeping. These are tasks that most agencies will take care of for you, but if you’re looking for independence, you might want to consider whether or not to outsource these tasks.
You might be used to working in an in-house marketing department, where you were the sole employee responsible for the whole department. It’s likely that you were either the creative mind behind all of the campaigns or the strategist who mapped out all of the marketing initiatives. While this type of arrangement can be beneficial in terms of developing a deep understanding of the industry, you might want to consider whether or not you want to operate in this way. If your industry is ever going to evolve, change, and progress, you’re going to have to get out of your comfort zone and work with people who are external to your department. Familiarity can breed comfort, but it can also breed complacency. While you should never be afraid to evolve with the times, it’s also important to remain motivated and engaged with the changes that are taking place around you.
In an ideal world, you wouldn’t need any technology to conduct business. In reality, you probably need a smartphone to get through your day. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, London has had to adapt to a digital world where most businesses are operating online and sales are conducted via smartphone. As a result, mobile technology and web design have become fundamental to almost every aspect of business. Data shows that over 75% of people in London use their smartphones to access the internet, while only 23% use desktop computers, and just 2% use tablets.
With so much reliance on digital marketing, it’s important to have the appropriate tools at your disposal. Without the help of technology, you’re essentially left working in silos, limiting yourself to a specific social media platform, and maybe one or two search engines. To quote the digital marketer, Andy Creston, “if you think that your customers are only on Facebook, you’re probably wrong, and if you think that your customers only use Google, you’re probably also wrong.” Our customers are on various platforms, and it’s your job to make sure that you’re accessible on all of them.
When developing a marketing strategy, you need to bear in mind that your customers are not just people who walk through your door. In today’s connected world, customers are digital citizens who are constantly in touch with the world around them. Thanks to platforms such as Google and YouTube, your customers can access information on the internet, which means that you need to have a strategy that takes into account both offline and online marketing.
With so much change in the industry, it’s important to stay informed of what’s going on. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve all been forced into a digital world where marketing agencies are changing the way that they operate, and they’re doing it faster than ever before. While this might not be the case for all agencies, it’s good to be aware that you’re not the only one in your situation.