Spotlight: Knowledge sharing is key to post-Brexit success
Editorial

Spotlight: Knowledge sharing is key to post-Brexit success

Marketers have long navigated uncertainty. However, whatever will or will not happen on 29 March 2019 has been impacting business for the last two years, and the shock waves will certainly continue in any eventuality.

With the news this month from IPA’s quarterly Bellwether report that six years of growth in UK marketing budgets has come to an end, for the first time since 2012, it seems that months of political uncertainty has finally caused marketers to reign in spend in the face of Brexit. Many businesses have adopted a ‘wait-and-see’ approach that have marketers struggling to make a clear path through the turbulent political landscape.

However, in IPA and IHS Markit’s quarterly Bellwether report last year, the net balance of companies saying they anticipate job growth over the next three months increased by over 6% from the previous quarter. Remarkably, this is also the highest level since 2017, which is when the IPA began measuring this specific metric.

It seems that Brexit, despite its many trials and tribulations, has provided a key opportunity for marketers to communicate their strategic value to their organisation. Indeed, the need to export goods and services in a post-Brexit Britain is an ever-increasing imperative, and if British business is to sell products and services in new countries, it will lean heavily on the marketing profession.

Marketers exist to open up markets, at home and abroad, reach customers and ultimately sell products and services. Department of International Trade (DIT) figures suggest that, for 58% of businesses, exporting has “led to a growth not otherwise possible”. In addition to this, 44% confirmed selling overseas had “significantly changed their profile or credibility”.

Significantly, Forbes ranked the U.K. the best country to do business for the second year in a row, despite uncertainty surrounding Britain’s exit from the EU. Furthermore, according to the Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom, “The U.K. has one of the world’s most efficient business and investment environments and will soon be open to expanded global trade relationships.”

Brexit uncertainty is certainly not preventing businesses from making gains in this area. CIM’s 2018 Export Ready report found that seven in ten of those already exporting expect this to grow despite Brexit, with markets most likely to grow cited as those outside of the EU, headed by the USA and China.

However, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, the task of preparing for international trade can seem daunting. Worryingly, the same report found that only a third of businesses have a specific exporting plan, and 80% say they have faced significant challenges in marketing their products abroad. It seems a shortage of marketing skills is a tangible barrier to Britain’s ability to export.

To help address this challenge, CIM launched a new Export Ready SME hub, which will share advice and guidance from marketing leaders on preparing for post-Brexit success, at home or abroad. With exclusive articles to advise you on doing business in countries around the world, the site features interviews with leading figures from across the world, including: China, USA, the Middle East, Ireland and as far afield as New Zealand. The hub will also provide bespoke training and resources from CIM to help you with your export journey. The site will help marketers to deliver real advantage to their businesses in the face of unprecedented challenges.

Indeed, CIM chief executive Chris Daly’s call to action for businesses when the referendum results were announced, is as significant now as it was then: “In difficult times, when business is facing strong headwinds, strengthening and retaining market share and keeping focused on new opportunities are essential. Understanding and retaining relationships with existing customers will be key to survival and growth, as will using market and customer insight to find those new opportunities and new markets.”

Visit our Export Ready SME hub now to find view the original Export Ready report, our new Export Ready manifesto, and the latest advice and guidance.  

CIM Ally Lee-Boone
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