Graphic of London with EU and England flag

How Will Brexit Impact Digital Marketing

Written by Ella Pegrum on .

With the news being dominated in 2020 by the C-word, you’d be forgiven for putting that little thing called Brexit to the back of your mind. But as the year draws to an end and numerous vaccines look like they’re finally paving the way for some kind of return to the “new normal” the attention is back on the very large Brexit-shaped elephant in the room.

While it very much remains to be seen how the negotiations will conclude and what impact those will, in turn, have on British businesses and specifically their online marketing plans in 2021, it’s certainly got us all here thinking, just how Brexit will impact digital marketing?

The Future for Digital Marketing in A Post Brexit Britain

Despite the fact that only 52% of eligible voters across the UK voted to leave the EU, we now find ourselves in a position where we have to “brextricate” ourselves!

When the news that we were leaving the EU first hit, analysts reported marketing budgets being slashed as confidence dipped.

Confusion reigned supreme and led the ever vociferous Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP to comment:

“ the resulting uncertainty will obviously slow decision-making and deter activity. This is not good news, we must deploy that stiff upper lip and make the best of it.”

Those words, spoken before COVID-19 subsequently went and hit our shores (sending further ripples of confusion and chaos through the business world), confounded the general consensus that Brexit might be bad but possibly good or could be good but might end up being bad for the digital world.

So yes, everyone is confused about what a post-Brexit digital marketing strategy might end up looking like!

Brexit Container

The Digital Single Market

One of the biggest issues being debated is the Digital Single Market or DSM for short.

The main objective of the DSM is to remove regulatory roadblocks to ensure that all member states of the EU have access to the digital common market of Europe estimated to be worth $415 billion from the sales of online goods and services.

The question is, what benefit and support can UK online businesses expect to receive once we’re no longer a part of that digital club. Will it be like having your Costco card revoked?

What About So-Called Google-Baiting?

There’s a new sport being played out on the EU digital playing field and it goes by the name of Google-baiting. Interesting to watch, is it little more than a brave attempt to try and break Google’s monopoly?

With Google currently owning a 90% market share in Europe, just how much weight does GB have against G when it comes to challenging their dominance single handedly? Can we fight the digital fight without the help of the EU? Only time will tell.

Google search engine under a magnifying glass

What Impact Will Brexit Have on Digital Hubs, Too?

One of the biggest concerns is access to talent. Many of the boldest and brightest shining stars when it comes to digital marketing talent are recruited from thriving digital hubs across Europe, not necessarily home-grown talent.

What will the digital marketing departments of post-Brexit Britain look like in terms of the skills set and talent pool companies we have access to?

Sadly, there’s still so much to be defined, let alone refined, so for now, yet again, confusion and lack of clarity seem to be the only things on which we can be certain.

How is Brexit Already Affecting Digital Marketing?

The Brexit effect is already being felt by many British-based businesses as confidence in the UK has been hard hit and many companies have chosen to distance themselves and set up offices overseas.

But for other brands, they’ve chosen to focus on their very “British-ness” and in digital marketing plans we’ve witnessed a so-called Brand Britain Boom. By that, we mean a return to more traditional values while at the same time, embracing and showcasing the diversity that is British culture. From a digital marketing perspective, it opens up lots of fun campaign ideas to get creative with. Surely a marketer’s dream?

Undeniably, budget cuts are one of the biggest concerns.

Customer uncertainty is driving this which in turn, leads marketeers to lose confidence in the British economy and pull back planned spending. What that means is that digital marketing activations need to deliver “more bang for their buck” and we’re seeing a lot more lead generation style campaigns.

Relationship marketing is also crucial and will continue to be so in a post-Brexit landscape. Recruitment and Retention are always key but so too is Reactivation. One thing companies must focus on is Communication. There’s no point pretending that Brexit isn’t happening. You need to communicate with your customers clearly and ensure above all else that you retain a very strong digital marketing presence.

If International opportunities do end up being denied to UK based businesses, then you must absolutely ensure that your domestic and local digital strategy is fully optimised.

Local SEO is set to be far more important than it previously was.

Digital Marketing People

So This Leaves Us Asking – What Happens to Your Digital Marketing Strategy?

With uncertain times ahead, you might well be left pondering where all of this leaves your business and what post-Brexit digital strategies need to be put in place.

Now is not the time to hedge your bets and leave things to chance. Now is absolutely the time to align yourself with a company that has its finger on the pulse of what is and isn’t happening and is ready to spring into action with an effective digital marketing strategy to enable your business to weather yet another storm.

Now is the time to pave a positive path towards the future by focusing on very clear brand messaging, building up your customer confidence and tapping into the changing landscape and needs of your marketplace and clientbase.

Don’t ignore that elephant in the room! Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help you plan ahead and stay ahead.

You can check out our previous article on the Best Marketing Campaigns From 2020 ⋆ Slam Marketing for a look at how some brands used the pandemic to their advantage.

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