Competitive horizons

Strategic Direction

ISSN: 0258-0543

Article publication date: 12 January 2015



(2015), "Competitive horizons", Strategic Direction, Vol. 31 No. 2.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Competitive horizons

Article Type: Competitive horizons From: Strategic Direction, Volume 31, Issue 2

Concerns arise over viability of shale gas

Research conducted by the UK Energy Research Center (UKERC) warns against over-reliance on shale gas production. The organization regards the fuel as providing no more than a temporary solution over the forthcoming decade. It claims that its impact will be relatively insignificant over the longer term, not least because ongoing usage could trigger a rise in global temperatures. As reported by, the UKERC claims it is unreasonable to expect a fledgling industry to provide sufficient fuel to satisfy domestic demand. The organization suggests alternative measures to help the UK’s aim of progressing toward a low-carbon economy. Investing more substantially in other low-carbon energy sources is one recommendation. Another is to increase gas storage capacity to protect consumers and businesses against supply disruptions and price rises in the near term. Such moves can help the country to achieve the right energy mix going forward.

Digital marketing in 2015

According to a report published by, 2015 will see an increasing reliance on big data. The expectation that this will be a major digital marketing trend is based on the assumption that companies will seek to use data from a wide variety of sources to build a more complete customer profile. A rise in the practice of combining first and third party data is also predicted. This involves using information pertaining to actual purchase behavior in combination with different forms of intent data, such as that which reflects online searches. The amount and scope of data available to marketers will also generate opportunities to personalize advertising and deliver it in real time to various platforms. On the downside, the report expects advertising fraud to remain a significant problem. Control is seen as more difficult as the emergence of different players that include publishers, ad servers, ad exchanges and providers on both supply and demand sides.

Growth predicted for construction in the UK

The latest forecasts generated by the Construction Products Association, expect the construction industry in the United Kingdom (UK) to experience 23 per cent growth by 2018. In the next two years, the sector will contribute around £12 billion to the country’s economy. Private housing, commercial and infrastructure will account for most activities in the short term, but the indications are likewise becoming more positive for public sector construction. The possibility of higher interest rates, affordability and the impact of the 2015 General Election, prompt the organization to anticipate more moderate housing market growth from 2016. Business investment prompted by consumer spending will see growth levels increase each year to 2018 in commercial, the largest sector. On average, the next four years will bring 8.2 per cent growth to infrastructure. Public sector construction has suffered due to austerity measures imposed by the government, reports. But funding released for such as schools and hospitals is expected to bring average growth of around 2.6 per cent between 2015 and 2018. Optimism is, however, tempered by awareness of uncertainties. The strength of the UK and Eurozone economies pose a risk, along with policy decisions in the wake of the forthcoming election. Any supply issues could likewise negatively impact on growth levels.

Why companies must look to evolve

An article published by points out the importance of forward planning. Firms are advised to be proactive and remain alert to potential changes in the industry or economy. Flexibility is a must if opportunities are to be capitalized on when they arrive. The article also suggests that an objective appraisal of the business can be productive. This should involve seeking out past and present clients to get valuable feedback, which can help ascertain particular strengths and weaknesses. It could also provide some insight into what additional provision customers might be looking for. Monitoring the activities of the competition is another useful idea. The aim should be to maximize value for clients whether in the shape of price or services offered. A business that is flexible and adaptable will be better positioned to evolve more easily, such as to provide products or services that complement core offerings. Retaining the status quo involves risk. It is much better to seize the chance to venture into new territories if the scope exists to do so.

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