Despite a positive outlook on business confidence in the UK, a recent survey by PR and Marketing agency Wild PR has unveiled a surprising trend: 88% of UK businesses are neglecting Public Relations (PR) as a vital marketing tactic.

The study sheds light on the prevailing marketing strategies, budget allocations, and underrated techniques among UK firms in 2024.

According to the Q1 2024 British Chamber of Commerce’s Quarterly Economic Survey, business confidence is on the rise, with 56% of firms anticipating an increase in profits. However, the survey conducted by Wild PR unveils that 52% of UK firms lack a marketing budget for 2024, hampering their ability to boost brand awareness and revenue.

The study, which surveyed 200 UK business owners across various industries, including professional services, manufacturing, eCommerce, and technology, highlights a concerning trend: 25% of businesses plan to cut marketing costs, with 18% intending to reduce PR expenditures in 2024. Alarmingly, over half (52%) of the businesses surveyed do not have an annual marketing budget, signalling a lack of prioritisation or understanding of the significance of marketing and PR investments.

Marketing Strategy Landscape

The survey identifies social media (34%) and email marketing (26%) as the most commonly used marketing strategies in 2023, followed by search engine marketing (19%) and content marketing (16%). Surprisingly, PR ranks fifth on the list, with only 12% of businesses utilising this tactic.

Despite its potential to enhance brand awareness, increase SEO profile, and online visibility, PR remains underutilised, with almost 9 in 10 UK businesses (88%) overlooking its benefits. This oversight could lead to missed opportunities for businesses to establish a positive brand image and strengthen their presence in key publications.

Andrew Taylor, Managing Director at Specialist Glass Products, underscores the importance of maintaining a comprehensive marketing strategy, including PR, during challenging times. He says, “Developing a comprehensive strategy using marketing, social media, and PR allowed us to strengthen our online presence and reach a wider audience, ultimately expanding our potential sales pool.”

Katrina Cliffe, Managing Director at Wild PR, emphasises the risks associated with reducing PR spending. She says, “Reducing PR spending poses significant risks, including losing essential keyword rankings, damaging brand awareness, and hindering future growth. Consistent PR activity is crucial for long-term success, especially in the current business climate.”

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