I’m sure you’ve all heard a lot of facts and hypotheses over the past weeks from some very clever people, regarding the threat of recession, regulations, investment in the UK and the technology sector. I think it is worth concentrating on a few key points that relate specifically to the performance marketing industry: talent retention and potential changes to consumer shopping behaviour.
Before we do, let me just clarify that Tradedoubler is an international company, with a good portion of our workforce in the UK having been borne outside of the UK. We speak 18 languages natively in our Telford office and in the London office we have a huge contingent of French, Italians, Danish, Spanish, Brazilian, Greek – even Scottish – employees, and I believe our workforce and output is better off as a result. Sometimes it feels like I’m back living in the 16th arrondissement of Paris – and I love it.
Retaining our talent
With regards to talent, I believe we’ve done really well as an industry over the past 10 years to recruit and retain some amazingly skilled people. Opportunities within the UK marketing and tech sector have been thriving and in the start-up world we’ve seen massive inward investment. However, will that remain if we are outside of the EU?
If the pound stays at its current post-Brexit level, labour in the UK will be cheaper, which will attract investment in the UK. But with regards to regulations, if we suddenly do not have the ability to offer companies the surety that the UK regulatory system is the same as the EU, this will undoubtedly make alternative tech hubs, such as Berlin, Paris & Madrid, more favourable. In the UK performance marketing Industry, it is not immigration that we should be watching out for, but emigration.
The other area that I think is interesting is consumers’ reactions to the impending Brexit, and how their shopping habits may change as a result. Many people are talking about recession, tax rises and falling disposable income, this will inevitably have an effect on advertising levels and probably lead to a shift towards performance metrics. This is obviously great news for our industry; TV companies will trot out the usual marketing to brands about how Smiths Crisps didn’t advertise during the recession and Walkers advertised on TV, growing their market share and eventually buying Smiths Crisps – but technology advancements, Internet of Things and the digital industry will surely all gain advertising budget.
However, it is how consumers interact with brands and how they go from first seeing an advert to buying the product, in-store or online, which will be interesting to watch. At Tradedoubler, we’ve seen average order values (AOV) placed on tablet devices overtake desktop devices back in Q4 2015 – and we saw initial click to conversion times decrease at the start of 2016 – but how will consumers change the way that they buy? Will we see an increase in use of vouchers, or more people buying online when they’re instore to see if they can get a better deal?
What is evident straight away is that marketers will need to have real-time access to full user journey analysis and be able to optimise quickly and effectively to take advantages of emerging consumer behaviour trends.
Lastly, let me say that I didn’t vote to leave – it’ll create some very interesting times ahead, which will change the way that marketers interact with our industry. I do think that Brexit will change the way that the industry operates as a result and what we all concentrate on in the coming years.