A recent study commissioned by Favour the Brave, a Bristol-based agency specializing in aiding service brands in their growth, uncovered that 39% of businesses in the South West lack a written marketing strategy.

This revelation, significantly below the national average of 78%, sheds light on untapped marketing potential in the region.

Sarah Stratford, Strategy Partner, and Founder at Favour the Brave emphasized the importance of a comprehensive marketing plan in the current landscape of diverse marketing channels. She noted, “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.”

Key Findings Unveiled

The study brought forth several critical findings:

  • Limited Referral to Marketing Strategy: 1 in 10 South West businesses have never referred to their marketing strategy, a figure lower than the national average of 14%.
  • Lack of Marketing Plans: South West businesses are the least likely to have a marketing plan in place to execute their strategy, with only 7 in 10 compared to the national average of 9 out of 10.
  • Absence of Internal Marketing Function: A significant portion (61%) of South West businesses do not have a marketing department. Of those who did, 43% constituted departments of five to ten people.
  • Varied Budgeting Approaches: Half of South West businesses attribute a set percentage of annual revenue for marketing budgets, while 30% base annual budgets on growth targets.

Context and Business Landscape

The research, conducted by Walr, involved surveying 263 business and marketing leaders across the country. The findings underscore the need for South West businesses to reassess and fortify their marketing strategies to harness their full growth potential in a dynamic business environment.

The study gains significance against the backdrop of economic indicators. In July 2023, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales Domestic reported that sales growth in the South West lagged behind the national rate, growing at only 3.1% in the year to Q2 2023, compared to the national rate of 4.9%. Despite this, business confidence in the region was higher than the national average.

With over 600,000 businesses in the South West, constituting 6.2% of the total companies in the UK, the study’s insights provide a nuanced perspective on the marketing landscape in the region.

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