COVID and Recession to Dominate Societal Considerations in Strategic Plans

January 7, 2021

WARC Impt Societal Concerns in Marketing Strategies Jan2021Although 2020 is finally over, marketers are looking to a lot of the changes brought about by the pandemic and the resulting economic impact to inform their strategies this year. Indeed, a report [download page] from WARC shows that topics and concerns such as changes in consumer behavior and the economic recession will have a significant impact on marketing strategy in the year ahead.

WARC surveyed more than 1,000 marketing executives on the client and agency sides and found that nearly all believed that the impact of economic recession would have either significant (68%) or some impact (29%) on the development of their own or their client’s 2021 marketing strategy.

Similarly, these marketers believe that health and hygiene concerns related to COVID-19 (91%), low-attention economy (83%) and data (including privacy, consumer control and ethical internet; 82%) will have at least some impact on their strategy for the coming year.

However, the one societal topic that will surely inform just about every marketer’s considerations is post-pandemic changes in customer behavior, which virtually all respondents say will have either a significant (74%) or some (25%) impact on strategy.

Among those changes in customer behavior, increased shopping online (53%) and increased time spent at home (52%) are thought to have had the biggest impact on marketing strategy. To a lesser extent, demand for greater value (36%), a decline in travel and leisure spend (32%) and a re-evaluation of lifestyle choices (32%) have also had an impact on marketing strategy, according to respondents.

Other research has shown that one of the biggest struggles marketers expect to face in the coming months is being able to understand which of these changing customer behaviors are temporary and which are here to stay. And, while earlier in the pandemic CMOs believed that certain behaviors such as the unwillingness to pay full price would eventually return to pre-pandemic norms, they were ready to acknowledge that consumers will continue to place importance on the digital experience.

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Findings are based on a global survey of more than 1,000 marketing executives.


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