Online marketing in Digital Britain |

Online marketing in Digital Britain

By Stuart Tofts / February 2, 2009

Last week, the UK media was full of Lord Carter’s interim report Digital Britain – the result of an enquiry into how best the country can boost its digital and communications sectors.

The report is lengthy and covers a wide variety of topics, from the development of broadband and its required infrastructure, to digital radio and public service broadcasting.

But what were the most relevant facts for the search engine optimisation (SEO) and general online marketing sectors? What should we industry professionals glean from the paper? Here are my thoughts on what the most interesting elements of the report are for the world of web-based promotions.

“It is… a sector that touches all aspects of our lives”

Lord Carter’s report notes that the average British adult now spends just under half their waking life accessing communications tools, such as TV, radio and, of course, the internet.

The communications sector is the third-largest in the country, the study notes; it is up there with the energy and finance industries and is just as vital to Britain’s economy, accounting for around eight per cent of GDP each year.

“Britain has the highest proportion of internet advertising of any developed economy”

The internet is a huge platform for promotional efforts and, as the country’s consumers spend so many hours accessing web pages, the marketers have followed them there.

By 2012 £1 in every £5 of all new commerce in this country will be online

Let’s be frank, it did not take this report to illustrate that the money being spent online is increasing rapidly – that has been apparent since the dawn of the internet.

However, it is an important part of this report. The information highway is catching up with the high street. Sometimes it beats it. This suggests to me that you can be an online business, or a high street business with a website, but not a completely offline business. Not if longevity is important to you.

The digital economy… builds our national competitiveness

Digital Britain can make us internationally competitive. Thanks to the internet and the communications sector more widely, British companies, even smaller firms, can compete within an international market.

The internet really is the great leveller – an innovative approach to online marketing and a decent business idea and there is no limit to what a firm can achieve.

“A successful Britain must be a Digital Britain”

Lord Carter recognises that without a decent digital infrastructure, this country would fall behind in competitiveness, resulting in an economic loss.

What is true for the country is true for individual firms – in the increasingly wide world of the web, successful companies will be the ones which are firing on all digital cylinders.

This revolution is only a decade old – still in its infancy

We are still at the beginning of the Age of the Internet. To me, this means there is still time to catch up.

A company which has not yet made the most of the web is not hopelessly after the party and it is not too late to invest.

Digital opportunities

Obviously, this report has not been about SEO, online marketing, or even just the web. It is about the implications of a digital revolution on the entire country.

However, the report illustrates just how essential the digital world is to the country’s economy, and therefore how important it is to every business endeavour within Britain.

Stuart Tofts


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