‘UK marketers focused on outcomes but not the means to get there’

UK marketers’ strong ambitions to grow in 2014 are at odds with their approach to product and service innovation, with far fewer investing in product innovation than their counterparts abroad, according to a report by Cranfield University’s School of Management.

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UK marketers focused on outcomes but not the means to get there

The survey found that 87 per cent of UK marketers are planning to grow and attract new customers this year, the highest in three years due to the improving state of the British economy. This is also above the 75 per cent figure for the rest of the world.

However, Cranfield claims there is a “worrying lack of attention” from UK marketers on “breakthrough” innovation and growing in new economies such as Brazil, Mexico or South Africa. They also feel more constrained when it comes to having the resources to achieve their objectives, at 59.4 per cent compared to 66.3 per cent for the rest of the world.

“This possibly paints a picture of willing the ends but not the means. We seem to have stronger share, growth and customer acquisition ambitions in the UK, but are less likely than in other countries to follow a policy of breakthrough innovations,” say report authors Dr Stan Maklan and Dr Radu Dimitriu.

UK marketers also differ from their counterparts abroad when it comes to tactical priorities, with those in the UK focused on CRM while non-UK market leaders see brand building as more important. Bottom of the list for both is extracting value from social media and addressing sustainability concerns.

“What emerges is a picture of marketing leaders understanding the what of success but not necessarily the how to achieve it through building influence and collaboration,” adds the report.

Taking advantage of new opportunities afforded by technology remains the number one functional priority for marketers, ahead of measurement and accountability, developing new skills and competencies and building new influence on the board. Maklan and Dimitriu raise concerns over the lack of interest in the latter, suggesting that marketing leaders are not focusing enough on working across functions and could be losing influence.

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