Award-winning digital marketing agency LOCALiQ has released its second annual State of Digital Marketing Report. 

The data is compiled from a nationwide survey conducted over the summer of 2023 that received responses from over 500 businesses from a wide range of industries, and uncovered the goals, strategies, and budgets of UK marketers.  

It also revealed the most pressing marketing challenges businesses are currently faced with. 

You can access the full State of Digital Marketing report here.

75% of businesses struggle to maintain innovative marketing tactics, strategies, and technologies. 

From privacy laws and algorithm updates to creating strategies for brand-new channels, there have been marketing challenges aplenty over the previous 12 months. 

The biggest obstacle marketers are still grappling with is how to access, organise and use customer data. This also plays a part in understanding and defining the target audience, which came second. 

Nikki Broxup, Marketing Director at LOCALiQ, said: “With so many potential customer touchpoints, it’s vital for marketers to learn how to use the data they get from site visitors, leads and customers. 

“This data can help businesses understand and define their audience, and further tailor the experience specifically to them.” 

68% of businesses feel their SEO strategy isn’t completely effective. 

With 98% of businesses having a website and over half citing it as an active marketing channel, it’s clear that more and more businesses are realising just how vital a strong organic search presence is. 

However, according to LOCALiQ’s State of Digital Marketing Report, two-thirds of businesses utilising SEO aren’t happy with the results they’re seeing. 

Furthermore, 38% of businesses said they need more training in SEO, a 10% increase over the past 12 months – beating the likes of education in social media, content, and email marketing. 

Nikki had this advice: “SEO has one of the steepest learning curves in marketing and requires continual, ongoing learning to stay competitive. Changes in search algorithms can lead to tactics becoming quickly outdated, whilst businesses with poor websites may find their on-page SEO strategies fail to make any impact, given that slow loading times and poor navigation can have a negative effect on rankings. 

“There’s also the question of whether businesses are effectively tracking their SEO efforts in the first place. Using free platforms like Search Console and Google Analytics can provide more detailed insight into keyword ranking and page performance. 

“A well-executed SEO strategy is vital for any business wanting to compete online, especially given the shift in consumer habits over the past couple of years. 

“Having access to SEO expertise, be it in-house or through an agency, allows for more agile strategy management and peace of mind that those major algorithm updates won’t have a negative, long-term effect on search rankings.”  

31% of businesses said they needed more training when it came to Artificial Intelligence. 

No matter your views, AI has rapidly grown in popularity over the past 12 months and has become one of the biggest talking points amongst marketers. 

With tech giants like Adobe, Google and Microsoft rolling out their AI features for free, it means that smaller teams, or companies with less budget, can jump on board.  

Nikki said: “AI isn’t a new concept, but it is the first time we’ve seen such widespread adoption of AI within marketing.  

“At the end of 2022, ChatGPT sparked many conversations about the quality and ethics of AI’s capabilities. However, content creation only scratches the surface of potential uses for AI.  

“Google and Bing have both rolled out features that rely on AI to enhance user experience, and AI can also be used to optimise paid search campaigns too.  

“However, many businesses are still unsure how to implement AI into their own marketing strategies and would like more training. This is unsurprising given there are still many unanswered questions about the trustworthiness and originality of AI-generated content.  

“As a marketing agency, we ensure all our digital marketing experts have a strong knowledge of these industry updates and we’re always happy to pass our knowledge on to our clients to ensure they have the confidence to move towards a more AI-centric approach to marketing.”