Do different industries see better ROI on marketing?

The UK’s motor industry has a huge marketing budget to hand, one that not all sectors can hope to match. According to Google’s Car Purchasing UK Report in April 2017, a whopping £115.9 million was spent by the car industry on marketing, both offline and online. But is the return on the investment worth the initial spend? Together with Volkswagen dealership, Vindis, we take a look at the value of marketing across different industries.

Automotive sector
When deciding to buy a new car, shoppers are relying on the internet more than ever, says Google’s Drive To Decide Report. Over 82% of the UK population aged 18 and over have access to the internet for personal reasons, 85% use smartphones, and 65% choose a smartphone as their preferred device to access the internet. These figures show that for car dealers to keep their head in the game, a digital transition is vital.

A huge 90% of automotive shoppers research online, according to the same report. 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.

In terms of the total UK Digital Ad Spending Growth in 2017, the car sector made up 11% of the total from figures revealed by eMarketer. This came second only to the retail industry. The automotive industry is forecast to see a further 9.5% increase in ad spending in 2018.

With so many car purchases happening on the forecourt, does the online world really effect 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. With that said, traditional methods of TV and radio still remain the most invested forms of marketing for the automotive sector – but in the last past five years, it is digital that has made the biggest jump from fifth most popular method to third, seeing an increase of 10.6% in expenditure.

Fashion sector
With online sales hitting £16.2 billion for the fashion industry in 2017, it’s safe to say the market is there for online fashion. 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?

Around 75% of purchases were made online in December 2017, says the British Retail Consortium. Online brands such as ASOS and Boohoo continue to embrace the online shopping phenomenon. 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.

Taking note of this surge of ecommerce, brand titans such as Next, Marks and Spencer, and John Lewis have poured 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.

Shoppers don’t want to troop through the crowded shopping centres anymore. Instead they like the idea of being able to conveniently shop from the comfort of their home, or via their smartphone devices whilst on the move.

An emerging asset for the fashion sector particularly is influencers. According to PMYB Influencer Marketing Agency, 59% of fashion marketers increased their budget for influencer marketing last year – an essential marketing tactic in the fashion industry. In fact, 75% of global fashion brands collaborate with social media influencers as part of their marketing strategy. 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 sector
Retaining and gaining customers in the utilities sector is largely down to how they fare on comparison websites. With comparison websites spending millions on TV marketing campaigns that are watched by the masses, it has become vital for many utility suppliers to be listed on comparison websites and offer a very competitive price, in order to stay in the game.

In the top 100 highest spenders in UK advertising, the four biggest comparisons websites feature:, Go Compare, MoneySupermarket, and Compare The Market. Comparison sites can be the difference between a high rate of customer retention for one supplier and a high rate of customer acquisition for another. If you don’t beat your competitors, then what is to stop your existing and potential new customers choosing your competitors over you?

Customer retention has surpassed acquiring new customers as a priority for British Gas. 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 hope that by marketing a wider range of tailored products and services to their existing customers, they will be able to improve customer retention.

This is clear from the company’s choice to invest £100 million into a loyalty scheme, offering discounts and services to customers who remain with them. The utilities sector is incredibly competitive, so it is vital that companies invest in their existing customers before looking for new customers.

In December 2017, 40% of utilities-based searched occurred on a mobile platform, along with 45% of ad impressions, according to Google’s Public Utilities Report. 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 sector
Unlike other industries, the healthcare sector is subject to many restrictions for 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.

An ever-increasing 2.5 million people have made email their main means 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.

With one in 20 Google searches enlisting the help of “Dr Google”, it’s in everyone’s best interests for real healthcare advice to be available online! This could be attributed to the fact that many people turn to a search engine for medical answer before calling the GP. Following from this, 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.

This is without considering social media marketing too! 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! And the reason? The success of social campaigns is usually attributed to the fact audiences can engage with the content on familiar platforms.

Should all industries invest?
It’s evident that an investment in marketing is a worthwhile venture, particularly for the 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.

For the utilities sector, the scope is a little wider. Whilst TV and digital appear to remain the main sales driving forces, its more than just creating your own marketing campaign when comparison sites need to be considered. Without the correct marketing, advertising or listing on comparison sites, you could fall behind. predicts that 41% of a firm’s marketing budget will go towards online marketing in 2018, and increase 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.


Will you be investing in online marketing? 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.