Advertising can drive the UK’s Industrial Strategy to build growth and productivity throughout the Regions and Nations.

We think advertising should be seen as a vital part of the UK’s economic infrastructure. That is why, in 2017, we developed a proposal in response to the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper for how advertising can help drive economic growth.

We propose SMEs should be encouraged to invest in advertising to grow their brands and businesses. We called on the Government to take action to encourage this investment through a fiscal incentive, such as a tax credit, growth voucher or grant.

SMEs represent 99% of businesses and 47% of private sector turnover (£1.8 trillion) in the UK. However, only 43% of them currently advertise, representing only 18% of spend.

YouGov research we commissioned in 2017 showed that SMEs that didn’t advertise feel inadequately informed about what advertising can do and how to go about it, and they think it is too expensive. Fiscal incentives, combined with industry awareness-raising measures, will drive changes in behaviour.

2018 will see the Advertising Association progress plans to grow the advertising market by encouraging more SMEs (up to 250 employees) to advertise. The opportunity is enormous.

The YouGov research suggests our core target will be high-growth, medium-sized businesses (50 – 250 employees), which are innovative (bringing new products to market).

Priority will go to first-time advertisers who invest in campaigns that use professional support and take a multi-media campaign approach, which is proven to produce best returns, in our pilot schemes.

We are launching two pilot schemes in the West Midlands and Scotland which are being crafted with the knowledge that SMEs say that cost, lack of understanding of the benefits of advertising and not knowing how to advertise are the key barriers.

These pilots, if successful, will build evidence for a scaling up across more of the UK and ultimately to secure a UK-wide programme supported by Government funding.

Request a copy of our 2017 Review here if you want to know more about the Advertising Association’s 2018 plans.