That figure has quadrupled over the past three years, according to the retailer’s annual report. Back in November M&S said it was spending a quarter of its marketing budget on digital.
Executive director of marketing and international Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne says the approach “reflects how people live today and how they expect to engage with M&S”.
“Today, all our communications start with a core idea that gets expressed across all the consumer touchpoints: stores, online, mobile, social meida, print media, billboards and TV,” he adds.
“Customers will see even more of this storytelling next year as our marketing becomes more personalised.”
An M&S spokeswoman says much of this spend on social media goes on sharing content and distributing campaigns on social media. She adds that the retailer has a very active fan base on social media and is looking to engage with them with timely and relevant content.
The retailer relaunched its website last year with more of a focus on content as it looks to tell the story of its brand heritage and how the brand fits into consumers’ lives.
The “Only M&S” message, introduced last year, aims to use content and innovation to present a unified M&S brand across food and general merchandise.
M&S has also taken to launching its campaigns online first – with its Christmas “Follow the Fairies” activity introduced on social through a series of mystery gifting surprises before being brought to TV.
M&S has said better communicating its sustainability work will also be a priority for this year. In its Plan A report, which updates its sustainability work, the retailer admitted that while it has done a good job in marketing sustainability activities such as its “Shwopping”, “Big Butterfly Count” and “Big Beach Cleanup” campaigns it “has not achieved” its aims to integrate sustainability into its wider marketing activity.
“Marketing is at the top of our to do list for next year and is closely linked to another challenge – increasing transparency,” said Plan A director Mike Barry.
M&S has also cancelled plans to introduce green marketing training for staff due to the UK government’s decision to provide renewed guidance on ‘green claims’. The retailer says it is working with government during the consultation and we will wait for the revised guidelines.