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We recently ran a survey of marketing professionals and business owners looking to uncover the impact COVID has had on their brands in 2020 and how they’re planning to respond in 2021.

The results show businesses have been resilient and have adapted despite the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, the survey paints an optimist picture for 2021 with 100% of respondents feeling positive and looking forward to growing revenue.

About the respondents:

90% were UK based, 10% were based in the EU.
70% were directors or owners.

Industries: Agency / Manufacturing / Hospitality & Tourism / Technology / Retail – Fashion / Retail – FMCG / Retail – Other / Professional Services (B2B) / Trade & Home improvement (B2C) / Charity & Not for profit / Education / Financial Services & Banking / Construction / Energy / Events, Training & Coaching / Marketing

The results

How has COVID-19 impacted your business this year?

70% of respondents have been negatively impacted by COVID, 20% have been positively impacted. Home improvement and fashion have performed well despite the pandemic.

Positively – 20%

Negatively – 70%

No Impact – 10%

How has revenue been impacted?

50% of our respondents have seen their revenue decrease as a result of COVID. Only 20% have seen revenue grow in 2020.

It’s grown – 20%

It’s declined – 50%

It’s stayed the same – 30%

Have you changed your marketing strategy and tactics in response to COVID-19?

Marketers and business owners haven’t sat around waiting for things to change, they have been proactive with 80% of respondents adapting their marketing strategy and tactics.

Yes – 80%

No – 20%

Has your marketing spend changed because of COVID-19?

Similarly, 40% of marketers have increased their marketing budgets in response to the pandemic.

Yes – it’s increased – 40%

Yes – it’s decreased – 20%

No – it’s stayed the same – 40% 

How was your marketing spend weighted? Did you allocate more to digital or offline marketing in 2020?

75% of respondents allocated all of their spend to digital.

25% had an even split between digital and offline.

What tactics have you found working best for you during the pandemic?

COVID threw marketing playbooks out the window with marketers needing to speed up digital transformation of their marketing strategies. Manufacturing and education have seen the biggest change in marketing tactic selection in 2020. Social media and content marketing are perhaps unsurprisingly the most effective tactics throughout the pandemic, keeping audiences informed and engaged to help others has been a key theme for most marketing campaigns.

Online – Organic Search – 30%

Online – Email – 30%

Online – Content Marketing – 60%

Online – Social Media – 80%

Online – Influencer Marketing – 10%

Offline – Television / Radio – 0%

Offline – Leaflets / Direct Mail – 0%

Networking – 10%

How are you measuring marketing success in 2020?

Return on investment has remained the biggest measure of success in 2020 with number of leads closely behind for B2B businesses.

Number of leads generated – 20%

Number of sales made – 10%

Organic search rankings & traffic 

Social media audience size / engagement -10%

Email marketing audience size / engagement -10%

Return on investment – 30%

Conversion rates

Cost per acquisition (CPA)
All the above – 10%

Client retention and new business wins – 10%

How are you feeling about 2021 for your business?

With a vaccine programme underway, brands are feeling positive about 2021. 

Positive – 100%

Negative

Are you predicting to increase revenue in 2021?

All of our respondents are predicting to increase their revenue in 2021. A marked difference to 2020.

Yes – 100%

No 

Where will most of your marketing budget be allocated in 2021?

100% of our respondents are increasing their marketing budget allocation to digital.

Digital – 100%

Offline

What are your plans for your marketing budgets in 2021?

All of our respondents are keeping budgets at the same levels as 2020 or increasing them (60%).

We’re looking to increase them – 60%

We’re looking to decrease them

They will probably stay the same – 40%

Which tactics will you be relying on the most in 2021?

Social media isn’t going anywhere in 2021 with 90% of respondents planning to use it in 2021, with 40% planning to add or increase their paid media spend across social and search. Content marketing and organic search are two of the other most important tactics selected by our respondents.

Online – Organic Search – 50%

Online – Email – 30%

Online – Content Marketing – 70%

Online – Social Media – 90%

Online – Influencer Marketing – 20%

Online – Paid Media (Social & Search) – 40%

Offline – Television / Radio – 10%

Offline – Leaflets / Direct Mail – 0%

Networking – 10%

A positive outlook for marketing in 2021

Our survey has shown marketers and business owners have been hugely impacted by the pandemic with revenue and growth taking a hit. Despite that marketers have responded by adjusting their strategies, spending focus and plans. The pandemic has taught us all how important it is to adapt, adjust and be proactive with our marketing. New skills, more empathetic messaging and digital transformation are just some of the positives for marketers.

2021 is a new year and brands are feeling positive. So are we.

Get in touch about how we can help you grow sustainably in 2021.

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