A report by The Marketing Centre has highlighted a growing business and marketing planning gap in the UK.

After a long period of economic stagnation, just a quarter (24%) of retailers are on track to achieve their goals for new leads in 2024.

Despite more than two-thirds of retailers (67%) having clear goals for their business, only 36% have a documented business plan that sets out how they will reach these stated goals.

Marketing in the dark

Of the respondents in the retail and wholesale sector, fewer than one in five (19%) said they follow a marketing plan that produces regular, timely marketing activities, and they are hence essentially “marketing in the dark.”

Just 8% of respondents have clearly defined marketing performance measures, although 64% feel they know which audiences they’re targeting.

Overall, the retail industry came 16th in the analysis of 23 sectors in the UK, signifying that there is more to be done in the industry to increase focus on a sound marketing strategy.

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Marketing Centre marketing director Peter Jakob explained: “A well-crafted business and marketing plan is not just a blueprint, but a safeguard against uncertainties, a guide for companies to grow and a shield for overall business success.

“A strategy gives senior leaders the confidence that budgets will be channelled into the right areas, and activity will be measured and optimised to drive brand awareness, positive sentiment and ultimately sales.”

In terms of social media marketing, another study found that 71% of SMBs will increase their TikTok marketing spend in 2024, as the platform drives the highest revenue.