Export Week: Advertising Holds The Key For SMEs Looking To Export


By Karen Fraser, Director, Advertising Association

This week is Export Week, where we celebrate Brand Britain and focus on how we can inject further growth into our economy by capitalising on the long-term opportunities of international trade. While there is a clear desire among most businesses to increase exports, the most recent government data shows that only 19 per cent of UK SMEs currently export, compared to 25 per cent of EU SMEs. So what is actually holding SMEs back from exporting and what role can advertising play to encourage further investment and growth?

Improving the UK’s export performance is central to economic recovery and future prosperity, highlighted by the Chancellor’s bold target to double UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020. In the government’s most recent SME survey, companies identified a sales-orientated export strategy as the second most important aspect in driving growth (69 per cent), behind only increasing the skills of their workforce (75 per cent).

Yet many challenges lie ahead for SMEs looking to export. Elements taken for granted when doing business in the UK such as language, finance, regulatory concerns and securing a loyal customer base can suddenly seem like distant luxuries when businesses are looking to expand overseas.

For many, advertising can hold the key to breaking into these new markets. Crucially for businesses, advertising creates demand for brands and matches customers with the service or product they are searching for. Through driving demand, advertising optimises returns and promotes further investment in exporting goods.
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