We are a centre of marketing communications excellence. So why don't more people know about it?

With all the excitement about the Golden Valley development and the town’s ambition to be the cyber capital of the UK, it’s easy to overlook the wealth of expertise and experience in marketing and marketing communications here that can give businesses in all sectors a real competitive advantage.

Everyone is an expert in marketing, yet according to a survey commissioned by IBM, 80% of people agree that, in general, businesses do not understand them.

Maybe you’re one of the 20%, but chances are, you’re not. Fortunately, help is at hand.

Cheltenham and the surrounding area has one of the highest concentrations of marketing agencies in the UK. They range from full-service to branding, digital, web design, social media, PR and search agencies to specialists in the third sector and CSR. (Corporate Social Responsibility).

Many are Chamber members and we brought together a few of them at the excellent Clockwise facilities to discuss some of the issues and opportunities they see.

The sector is thriving and many are recruiting, especially for specialist functions. However, a pipeline of new business is essential if they are to continue to do so. A lot of agency people here cut their teeth at big multi-national agencies on famous brands and bring that expertise with them. Yet, it seems a lot of local organisations don’t “think local,” when it comes to marketing. Why, when it makes so much more sense to do so? They will get not just the talent but, almost certainly, a more individual and attentive service.

And increasingly buyers, whether individual consumers or large public sector bodies, want to use brands that favour local suppliers and sustainable practices. (And yes, there are local agencies who can help you create and deliver such a brand.)

Several key questions arise. Can local businesses even afford marketing communications and if so, should they spend some of the budget on expert help rather than on technology or media space? And even then, how would they engage and get the best from an agency?

You may think, I all get my business from “word of mouth” recommendation. But this comes from delivering a really good experience, which means knowing and preferably mapping how customers buy from you. For example, if you are easy to find and deal with online, you’ll get more recommendations. You can then amplify these massively in your social and other media channels. Agencies know how to do this stuff, also to measure and improve it, saving you time and ultimately driving bigger returns.

Arguably, the biggest contribution an agency can make is to provide a different perspective on the business, without day-to-day or political complications. This, with the application of creative thinking is what makes a business really stand out. Creativity is “the last legal unfair competitive advantage we can take to run over the competition.”* Certainly, a creative idea can be the difference between making a sale or not.  Just occasionally, it can “make a dent in the universe.”**

Want to know more? Why not simply talk to an agency (or two)? Judging by the people in our group, they are an approachable bunch! It helps enormously, if you have a good idea of what you want to achieve and can have an honest conversation about budget.

And if you want to hone your own marketing knowledge, Growth Hub offer courses (many run by our members) on a number of marketing topics (website) However, if you have any specific questions or training needs please email info@cheltenhamchamber.org.uk and we’ll try and find the right people to help.

* Dave Trott, legendary UK adman and author **Steve Jobs

Big thanks to David Drakeley, Reece Cropley, Darren Stevens, Dan Jenkins and all at Clockwise for the excellent facilities and catering.

Links below

Bitter Lemon Creative. Award winning brand design and digital marketing

Bitter Lemon Creative

Brace Creative Agency. From web design and digital marketing to graphic design,

Brace Creative Agency

Prestbury Marketing & Consulting Limited.  Specialists in helping businesses and organisations improve the effectiveness of their marketing and PR

Prestbury Marketing

Wagada Digital Marketing. Strategy led digital marketing solutions to empower in-house teams

Wagada Digital

Clockwise Cheltenham. Serviced Offices, Co-Working and Meeting Rooms

Clockwise Cheltenham


See our Marketing Services Members in our Directory


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The support and networking opportunities that the Chamber offered to me as director of a new business really appealed. The board and members I spoke to seemed really interested in my business.

Alastair James Roberts ACII
Alastair James Insurance Brokers


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The Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of thousands of local businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions. Our members range from small shops and local business groups to leading industry associations and large corporations. They all share one thing in common—they count on the Chamber to create opportunities and to improve the local business environment.