Consumers are spending less this year as a result of the pandemic. And, also as a consequence, some 6 in 10 marketers have seen their budgets cut since the start of the pandemic, with about one-fifth (39%) reporting cuts of more than 25%. Alongside these cuts, a report [download page] from OpenX and The Harris Poll reveals that three-quarters (74%) of marketers have made changes to their strategy because of the pandemic.
As consumers spend more time with digital channels such as social media and online video during COVID-19, marketers have followed suit and increased their investment in digital channels. Of the 3 in 4 marketing professionals who claim they have made changes to their marketing strategy because of COVID-19 and intend, more than half (56%) say that they will continue to concentrate on digital channels even after the pandemic is over. Another 46% say they will retain changes to their media mix, while 43% plan to continue to more directly address issues in the news as part of marketing.
Factoring in the percentage of respondents who haven’t made changes as a result of the pandemic, these results suggest that more than 4 in 10 marketers overall responded to the pandemic by concentrating more on digital channels and will retain those changes. Likewise, about one-third responded by altering their media mix and will keep that change.
More than one-quarter (28%) of those who have made changes as a result of COVID-19 say they will continue to spend less money than they did pre-pandemic. However, about one-third (34%) of all 500 respondents surveyed say they expect their 2021 budgets to be larger than pre-COVID-19 budgets.
The final quarter of 2020 is also somewhat promising for marketers. Some 46% overall are planning to add money back into their budget in Q4, with 8 in 10 believing their Q4 budget will be the same as (43%) or more than (37%) it was before COVID-19. This is right on time for the holiday season, where 6 in 10 (58%) consumers surveyed expect to spend the same or more than recent years.
The question looms about what marketers will do if there is a second wave of COVID-19 (editor’s note: the survey was conducted in July) or if there is a prolonged effect of the pandemic. Seven in 10 (71%) reported they would change strategy if this were to occur. Of those, half expected that they would put a strategy in place to facilitate online shopping, while 45% planned to more directly address the pandemic in their marketing.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 500 business professionals who are employed full-time and who have influence on marketing/advertising decisions for organizations with 50+ employees and $250,000+ in revenues. Consumer data is based on a survey of 1,000 adult consumers (18+).