As UK businesses continue to operate remotely, relying heavily on digital strategies, new research reveals that many UK businesses struggle to fully understand and manage their digital operations.

  • More than half of UK businesses have little to no understanding of how to trade online
  • 1 in 3 of UK businesses are unaware of online marketing

1,000 UK senior business leaders surveyed

The study was carried out by Gareth Hoyle Digital Due Diligence, surveyed 1,000 UK senior business leaders and decision makers about their knowledge of their digital business operations. The research revealed that 54% have little to no understanding of how their online operations work, while 32% admitted they are not familiar with online marketing techniques.


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A Breakdown Of The Numbers

From web site development to back end connectivity with business systems such as ERP, warehousing and logistics, 38% of decision makers said they were unsure about making decisions about key digital services which drive their business.

As well as a lack of understanding and control of their digital operations, business owners showed a considerable and worrying lack of understanding of digital marketing, often relying on “blind trust” of the digital partners and marketing agency network.

Despite the lack of clarity about their operations, a surprising 63% have already invested in digital marketing for their businesses or planning to in the next three months.

The research found that 46% of decision makers said motives to enlist the help of a digital agency is to increase sales or revenue, followed by 41% whose objective was to improve brand awareness. 39% said they would hire a digital agency to improve site rankings, however only 19% could identify the ways in which google rankings are determined and in turn improve their sites visibility.

More than 1 in 4 (27%) of business leaders stated that they were unable to understand terminology used by their digital agency. A fifth (20%) of respondents admitted that sometimes through lack of understanding they agree to progress with suggestions and recommendations made by their digital agency without querying.

Gareth Hoyle, founder and managing director of Gareth Hoyle Digital Due Diligence, commented:

It’s concerning to see that some businesses are now running largely digital operations, but without complete understanding and control of how everything works and interrelates. Investing in digital infrastructure such as websites and online marketing with very little knowledge and understanding of how it may benefit their business. Digital is more important now more than ever as this is something a vast majority of businesses are heavily relying on in the current climate to continue to operate day to day.

It’s important to remember for businesses that there is more to running an online business than digital marketing. A complete understanding of online operations is needed before decisions are made about marketing. This clarity allows for better decision making about digital marketing otherwise investment decisions can be thrown down the drain. Often private equity, administrators and other investors are acting blindly on good faith without a true understanding.

No one wants to blindly make an investment decision yet our research shows that far too many decisions are being made without crystal clear clarity. Many firms undertake financial due diligence at a balance sheet level, yet few really have the experts in place to ensure the online operations and digital assets are in shape.

To find out more about the digital due diligence process please visit: Digital Due Diligence