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How has the crisis affected marketers?

How has the crisis affected marketers?

If someone told us a year ago that soon we would all be staying at home, working remotely, and dealing with one of the most significant social crises in our memory, we would ask him what you are going to call your fantasy novel. No one could have predicted what would happen in 2020 - and the year wasn’t over yet. Pandemic, Civil protests, Climate crisis etc. The list of problems in each country is different, but one thing is clear - both personally and professionally, this year have become very difficult for all marketers and brand managers on the planet. 

This article brings together the views of senior executives, top marketers, account managers, and band directors from around the world to understand how the events of 2020 have impacted and continuing to affect the industry in 2021.

Not an easy year, but every cloud has a silver lining 

The marketing industry is slowly but surely moving towards more flexible working conditions, with almost three-quarters (74%) of marketers working from home since March. This rapid and profound change in the working model has far-reaching implications, as many social and economic challenges of 2020. But even with the adversity, you can already see the benefits that could positively impact the growth of the marketing industry for years to come.

The main findings are as follows:

  • By working remotely, account managers and brand managers are nearly twice as likely to be more productive as their top management.
  • Remote creative collaboration is much more difficult for young marketers than for their more experienced counterparts.
  • One in five marketers believes that career opportunities have indeed improved during the pandemic.
  • 42% of managers believe that communication with the team is better when working remotely.
  • Working from home has become the norm, and most marketers say telecommuting will impact their hiring plans in the future. 
  • Marketing employees are far more eager to return to the office than their home-based counterparts.
  • Direct mail and outdoor advertising are promotion channels that marketers assume will be a thing of the past after the pandemic, and there is already a rise in paid social activity, digital advertising and podcast sponsorship.

Productivity in a remote environment 

Does working from home make us more productive? No need to be distracted by a fancy coffee machine, no need to care for office plants and chat with colleagues. Yes and no. Everyone has it differently. 

Almost a third (32%) of marketers said their productivity improved when working from home, and just under a quarter (23%) said their productivity had dropped dramatically. All the others said that their level of productivity remained the same. 

But if you look closely at specific examples and how working from home has affected the productivity of marketers, you'll see that there is more to the statistics than meets the eye. Two in five (38%) account managers and directors and 44% of brand managers and marketers said they were more productive when working from home. On the other hand, top executives and agency executives said their productivity levels remained the same, with only 25% reporting improvements.

It seems that performers work better remotely, while managers maintain the same level of productivity. Although the leaders have probably refined their style of work and have already found a balance.

Career changes and opportunities 

Marketing budgets are often cut in the first place when it comes time to tighten their belts, even though they shouldn't. Thus, layoffs and layoffs hit the marketing industry hard when the pandemic began. But new opportunities and changes have emerged that will help the industry in the future. The layoffs and the experience of working together during difficult times have led people to learn to rely on each other more than ever before, both professionally and personally.

 As a result, nearly a third of marketers (31%) now believe their managers have more confidence in their abilities than they did before the pandemic. Since, many marketers have taken on additional responsibilities and workloads in the past six months, 22% also believe that career opportunities have improved during the pandemic.

Communication and teamwork

With much of the industry now working remotely, phone calls, video calls, and instant messaging tools have quickly become a necessity for communication and collaboration. 37% of marketers said the number of meetings they attend increased while working from home. Many marketers have found significant benefits in working with a team remotely. In fact, 42% of managers believe that interactions with their direct reports and the team have improved during the pandemic.

The future belongs to remote work, long live freelancers! 

While the shift to telecommuting has been gradual over time, the pandemic will affect the way brands and agencies interact with staff both in and out of the office in the long term. The majority of respondents (57%) said they expected their company or clients to attract more telecommuting talent as a direct result of the normalization of work from home during the pandemic. More than two-fifths (42%) expect their companies to hire remote workers full-time, and almost a third (31%) expect to work with more freelancers in the future. The opportunities are clear: as the industry becomes more comfortable with remote professionals, brands and agencies will be able to hire more different employees, benefiting both companies and customers.


No one was prepared for the number of changes that society has gone through, both personally and professionally over the past months. Much remains unclear about the future of the marketing industry beyond 2020, though. On the positive side, marketers and their teams have proven to be far more resilient and adaptable than anyone has ever imagined. 

Although no one had and any ready-made recipes how exactly, you should communicate with your audience in the new conditions, or what content is most relevant for it now, whether to create more landing pages, switch to social networks, or get by with a newsletter, because every business is unique. Let's hope your company has found its balance sheet, adjusted to the current situation, and adjusted its strategies.

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