Collaborative marketing could save local councils “millions”

Local authorities across the country could save “millions of pounds” on their marketing campaigns following the creation of an online marketplace that allows councils to share design and artwork.

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The Portfolio website, created by Nottingham City Council, has signed up 118 councils, police, fire, education and health authorities across the UK to allow them to sell on their marketing campaigns to other councils, or browse through artwork to buy at a discount.

Independent design agencies can also join the site to sell on local authority marketing campaigns they have made, including designs that were created for tenders or pitches that were unsuccessful.

Dominic Miller, commercial marketing manager at Nottingham City Council, says the average marketing campaigns and photography sold on Portfolio typically cost councils 60% less than they would cost if created from scratch.

He says: “Local councils promote hundreds of the same services across the country, but at the moment they are all creating their campaigns individually. Local government spends around £15m a year as a whole, but Portfolio could save it millions.”

Government spending cuts have hit local authorities hard, with many councils having to reduce the size of their marketing teams and severely slash their advertising budgets.

Central government’s reduction on advertising spend also resulted in the closure of the Central Office of Information, with the bulk of its marketing services work now to be handled centrally under the stewardship of the Cabinet Office.

Miller says the makers of Portfolio tried to engage central government with the website pre-launch, but they “did not get much of a reaction”. It is hoped now the site has launched, central government will get involved at a later stage and conversations are still ongoing.

Recent collaborations between councils on the site include a campaign to discourage dog fouling uploaded by East Northamptonshire council, that cost £300 to design, which is now being sold on to several other local authorities to use for about £120.

Nottingham City Council receives a 15% commission from each transaction that takes place on Portfolio, to cover the cost of the storage of files on its servers and site maintenance.

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