Last month we announced the launch of a series looking into the UK’s MarTech space. The intention is to map the landscape, define innovation and to future-scope. In this piece, we seek to examine the UK marketing market. We look at the reasons why the MarTech scene is growing.


The UK creative economy is thriving.

The Department for Culture, Media & Sport report that the UK creative sector is worth £84.1 billion to the economy each year. This equates to £9.6 million per hour. Central to this growth has been the internationally-renowned Advertising and Marketing industry. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 482,000 advertising and marketing jobs in the UK. This accounts for 68.2% of all jobs in the creative economy.

So why has the UK’s advertising and marketing sector grown at such a scale?

Location:

Due to a unique location between the east and the west, agencies and brands have chosen to base their operations out of London. It allows businesses to work across both US, European and Asian time zones with minimal impact on operation hours.

European entry point:

Many international brands use the UK market as an entry-point for the rest of Europe. There has been a steep increase in the number of Indian and Chinese brands coming to the UK as their first port of call.

Language:

English is the most widely-spoken language in the world (first and second languages). The size of the market makes it an attractive one for creatives in the industry.

Market size:

The size of the market for agencies and startups means that competition is rife. This competitive element drives efficiency from the very core of the sector. Consequently, organisations are quick to embrace technology.

Access to technology:

The UK’s Tech community is one of the largest – outside of the Silicon Valley. This access to innovation has spurred brands to adopt the use of technology at a faster pace than many.

Talent:

The Economic downturn in Southern Europe has meant educated, creative types gravitate towards the UK. The free movement of labour within the EU has enabled citizens from any country in the EU to work within the UK. Multiculturalism has proven to be a catalyst for creativity in the marketplace. Statistics from the Association of London Councils claim that London is the most diverse city in the world.

Export:

The UK is export-minded. It has a long history of exporting goods all over the world and creative services are the same. In 2014, the creative services in the UK exported over £19.8 billion a figure which is expected to rise over the coming years (Brexit willing).

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Image Credit: UK Trade & Investment

With a leading marketing and advertising industry, the UK market pushes the boundaries and innovates. This constant requirement to compete and drive efficiency has led to a progressive attitude in the adoption of technology. The emerging marketing technology landscape has been dubbed ‘MarTech’.

So the question arises. What has enabled the MarTech market to grow at the rate it has?

Other industries, such as e-commerce have accelerated the use of technology in the marketing vertical. Brands now have more data on their consumers than ever before. Subsequently, data-driven marketing now strives to surface relevant information to consumers. Cebr highlights the importance of evaluation of customer behaviour, in a report ‘Unlocking the value of big data’. It forecasts that analytical evaluation of customer behaviour will produce £73.8 billion over the years from 2012-2017. It is not just the large brands that have embraced these advances in technology. Small Businesses are also taking advantage. The advent of technology in marketing allows for more precise strategising by entrepreneurs. This levels the playing field for startups entering the market. It enables them to compete efficiently with larger and more-established businesses.

Financial incentives have encouraged entrepreneurs and investors to the industry. The Research and Development corporate tax relief introduced in 2007  has made innovation, research and development more appealing for UK businesses. The SME scheme has allowed startups to deduct up to 125 % of its eligible R&D costs from taxable income. This is a real and tangible incentive for entrepreneurs venturing into the industry. The Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) has also given investors the incentive and confidence to take the risk.

Businesses are built on people. Access to a pipeline of talent is imperative for any business, especially for startups working with limited resources. A unique characteristic of the UK market is the access to an abundance of both technical and creative talent. (As highlighted above) The creative and technology hubs in the UK have fueled the MarTech vertical’s talent requirements.

The UK’s technology sector also has a stable infrastructure to support and scale innovation in the MarTech scene. An explosion of accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces has facilitated the scaling of solutions. With this technology ecosystem, also comes relationships with venture capitalist funds and funding models.

The reasons outlined in the sections above explain why the MarTech market has grown at the pace it has. It starts, as our Founder Simon Campbell would say, with the product market fit. There is a real demand for marketing technology to address issues that brands are currently facing. The emergence of MarTech has proven to be an enabler of creativity and takes the brand’s message to where their consumers are. Secondly, the technology ecosystem that has supported the FinTech and E-commerce markets has enabled MarTech to grow at an incredibly fast rate.

Over the coming months, as detailed in our previous article Impact of Brexit on the advertising market, the UK’s marketing and advertising sectors will be impacted by global and political developments. With the uncertainty, the MarTech sector will need to stay agile to continue evolving.

One thing is certain. Technology will continue to drive the marketplace forward.

Author Lewis Jones

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