Marketing survey reveals latest trends

It’s the time of year when businesses are reviewing 2016 successes and looking ahead with plans for 2017.  You may remember back in December, we carried out a survey of local, regional and national businesses, to find the latest trends in PR and digital marketing.  We had a great response with over 90 businesses completing the survey – thank you to everyone who did get involved!

Here we reveal the results!

First of all, we asked businesses to tell us where they had received best value for money from their marketing during 2016.  The largest majority (38%) said it was from social media, with PR and advertising neck-and-neck at 25%, followed by SEO slightly behind at 12 per cent.  The trend towards greater use of social media is something we predicted this time last year and we are working with an ever increasing number of clients to enhance their engagement on Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook and other channels, with a view to securing ambassadors for their products and generating more traffic to their websites.

When asked if they were looking to increase or decrease marketing spend in 2017, 56% of respondents said they planned to increase it, which is an indication that businesses currently have an optimistic outlook. This is a very positive sign, showing that they recognise how marketing is an investment and how if they stop investing in marketing activities, then it can have a sudden and detrimental impact on their businesses

When asked what marketing activities they currently invest in, the top three responses were PR, Social Media and a new website.   Blogging was a close runner up, followed by advertising and SEO.  Social Media again proved itself to be the area where the majority of businesses are investing – at 78% of all businesses surveyed.

When it comes to a new website, we noticed a significant increase this year in the numbers of businesses who thought a website should be re-designed more frequently.  45% of respondents said that they thought that a website should be redesigned at least every 1-2 years.  Business statistics show that companies are choosing to redesign their websites much more frequently than ever before to keep up with latest trends and attract more visitors.  During 2016, we were involved with the design, copywriting and build of over 25 new websites for clients, with all of them recognising the value of regularly updating the look and style of their site.

Do printed trade magazines still have as much influence as they used to?  That was also a question explored in the survey, with results revealing that 78% of businesses said they still believed trade magazine to be more influential than online publications.  Surprisingly only 22% of respondents thought that online magazines were the most influential, closely followed by independent bloggers and review sites.

As Social Media proved to be such a strong force with respondents to our survey, we asked which channels worked best for your business.  The overwhelming response was Twitter, with 78%, followed by Facebook at 33% and, perhaps surprisingly to some, LinkedIn at only 22%.  Instagram was up significantly from last year, whilst the influence of Pinterest and Google+ remained fairly static at 22% and 11% respectively.

Trade shows have always prompted discussion – do they work?  Do they generate enquiries?  Are they worth the money?  67% of respondents to the survey said that they did not exhibit at any trade exhibitions at all in 2017.   24% of respondents said they exhibited at 2-3 and 13% at 3-4 exhibitions.    When asked if they planned to increase or decrease the number of trade shows they exhibit at in 2017, 63% stated that they would increase this in the year ahead.  This suggests that there may be a reinvigoration of the trade exhibition market in 2017.  This is an area where we support a number of our PR clients, by securing editor meetings and preparing digital press packs – and we have a great track record of doing this.


Brexit was a major milestone of 2016 and so we were keen to hear what business leaders thought about how it has affected them.  Surprisingly enough, 55% said Brexit had had no impact so far, 34% said it had affected them negatively and 11% in a positive way.  With many of our clients in the manufacturing sector and exporting overseas, we have already seen the challenges and opportunities that Brexit is posing, however we will be watching with anticipation to see how the situation unfolds in the year ahead.

International PR is set for a boost in 2017 as the survey revealed that 26% of business respondents were seeking media coverage outside of the UK.

Within this, 12% were seeking coverage in Europe and 28% were seeking worldwide media awareness.  This is a trend we have seen with our clients and we are helping businesses to increase their profile across many worldwide markets, including oil and gas, construction, metals, glass, power and energy, plus many more.

So, the results of our survey are very positive. Social media looks set to move from strength to strength. Social media is best carried out by a specialist PR company because, critical to its success, is high quality written content.

Attendance at exhibitions looks set to grow and trade magazines will continue to be the dominant media channel. 2017 looks set to be an interesting and busy year ahead as we continue to work with business-to-business companies to generate results and achieve their objectives through planned, results-focused PR, social media and digital marketing campaigns.

If you would like to find out more about the survey, or would like to carry out research with your own customers, please email me at

If you would like a free no-obligation quotation for any marketing, digital marketing, Public Relations, Social Media Management or literature requirements, please get in touch on 01709 300130 or email

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