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Sarah Stratford, Favour the Brave

South West businesses “full of untapped marketing potential” as new study reveals 39% don’t have a written marketing strategy

Authored by Leigh-Ann
Posted: Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - 10:39

According to a new study of business and marketing leaders across the country, 39% of respondents in the South West don’t have a written marketing strategy for their business. This was significantly less than the national average, where almost eight in ten (78%) said they had a written strategy. 

The research was commissioned by Favour the Brave, an agency based in Bristol that specialises in helping service brands grow.  

Sarah Stratford, strategy partner and founder at Favour the Brave, comments, “Now that there are so many marketing channels to take advantage of, it’s more important than ever to have a single, coherent plan that brings everything together.   

“Without one, it's almost impossible to know whether you're doing the right things to grow your business effectively. This research points towards an untapped opportunity for South West business leaders to make their marketing work harder to achieve the growth they deserve.” 

Further key findings from the study include: 

  • 1 in 10 South West businesses have never referred to their marketing strategy, compared to an average of 14%. 
  • South West businesses are also the least likely to have a marketing plan in place to help execute their strategy, at only 7 in 10 compared to 9 out of 10 nationally. 
  • When it comes to an internal marketing function, a large proportion of South West business (61%) do not have a marketing department, and of those who did, 43% were departments of five to ten people.  
  • On setting marketing budgets, half of South West businesses attribute a set percentage of annual revenue, whereas 30% base annual budgets on growth targets 

In July 2023, ICAEW, The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Domestic, reported that sales growth in the South West was falling behind the national rate of 4.9 per cent, growing at a rate of only 3.1 per cent in the year to Q2 2023. This is despite the fact that business confidence in the region was higher than the national average [source: Business Magazine]. 

There are just over 600,000 businesses in the South West which represents 6.2% of the number of companies in the UK [source: Hithorizons]. 

The research was carried out by Walr who surveyed 263 business and marketing leaders across the country. 


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