Marketers are often the leaders of innovation and change. At the beginning of 2020 the focus for marketers was innovation for the decade ahead with a focus on artificial intelligence and real time engagement. Since the global pandemic (COVID-19) crisis marketers have been forced to reimagine marketing strategies in a socially distanced world. 

For the the sixth edition of the State of Marketing report we surveyed nearly 7,000 marketing leaders across the globe. Our research highlights the strategic priorities, challenges, and technologies that transform marketing. 

Yet, while all marketers are working towards that goal, different countries are at different levels of maturity on their journey.

So what did we find out from the state of marketing for the UK and Ireland? According to the report marketers in UKI’s top priorities include: 


1. Complying with privacy regulations is the number one priority in UKI

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect in 2018 and changed a lot about the way business operating in the EU handle personal data and marketers in the UK and Ireland are taking this very seriously. The State of Marketing report reveals that, two years on, 51% of businesses still feel they are underperforming when it comes to compliance.

Complying with GDPR regulations isn’t all marketers need to worry about, they need to ensure they are also gaining customer trust in order to exceed expectations. Read more about GDPR 2 years on – what marketers need to know in our helpful blog here *link to GDPR blog*


2. Innovation is still key

Our study has found the expectations for how marketers interact with customers has continued to rise. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact consumer behaviours and trends leaving market leaders faced with new challenges. Pressures to rebuild organisational models and deliver digital first experiences keep innovation as a top priority for marketers globally.

84% percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. Marketing leaders know that real-time interactions are what the customers are demanding. Our third State of the Connected Customer report shows that 71% of customers have used multiple channels to start and complete a transaction.  


3. Real-time interaction

The increase of innovation and automation technology has left consumers expecting more personalised and human interactions at every step of their user journey. Real time interaction used to be a ‘nice to have’ feature but now, according to Interaction Studio and Researchscape’s 2020 ’Trends in Personalisation’ study, 92% of marketers have said their customers and prospects expect personalised experiences. 

‘Real time’ refers to your ability to listen, understand, decide and take action based on the intelligence you’ve gathered about individual customers and their stage of the customer journey. When talking about the user experience, we refer to the sum of all interactions a person has with your brand including marketing, service, sales and product interactions.


4. United Kingdom & Ireland Marketers top reporting metrics

We also asked our UKI marketers about the metrics they use to assess their work and their impact on the business. Their 3 top metrics were: 

  1. Revenue - of course making money is a top priority for any department
  2. Web and mobile analysis - marketers want to make sure they are utilising channels in the best way to increase conversion rates 
  3. Sales effectiveness - marketers want to help salespeople win more deals 

The State of Marketing report also found that Sales, Service and E-commerce teams share almost 80% of the same metrics and business goals as the marketing teams in the UKI. 


5. The use of AI in marketing has soared

AI is becoming prevalent and we’ve seen a 3-digit growth in the use of AI since last year. In our everyday life we use AI all the time. 

From this year’s research, we found out that AI is key to help marketers:

  1. Create personalised and individual experiences and scale them across their customer base. 
  2. Improve customer segmentation to target the right customers at the right time with the right message and personalise the experience
  3. We have two top cases in the UKI competing for the 3rd place: Automating customer interactions over social AND Personalising the overall customer journey 


6. Navigating change 

What marketing trends do we expect to see next across the U.K. and Ireland? During these times of uncertainty it is a little harder to predict. 

We asked our UKI leaders to gaze ahead over the next decade and asked them what they think will have the biggest impact to marketing both from a technology and society point of view. They have said:

  • The advancement of 5G will be crucial. If you think about it, faster speeds will enable a lot of technologies to become a more widespread reality.
  • According to them, the fact that approximately the ½ of the world (3.5B people) who are not online yet, will come online will have a MAJOR IMPACT. 
  • We have already heard UKI marketers are worried about privacy regulations, and believe there are more to come in the future. 

And according to 61% of the customers we interviewed, if brands and marketers don’t adapt to their evolving needs, they feel like companies don’t care about them. Keeping up with changes, it the only way to survive. 


Dig into more results and insights by downloading this year’s State of Marketing report.