Campaign’s latest assumption of the UK’s ad market contracting by at least 40% in Q2 with no real recovery until 2021 will be grim reading for many. Ads across the board have been trading at near record lows to tempt brands who can see the light through the dense forest of Covid-19 conifers. However as those with experience from the Dot.com boom, the financial crisis or the Brexit ups and downs will tell you, there’s winners as well as losers in every downturn.
In Part 1 of our ‘Digital & Marketing through 2020 into 2021’ blog we’ve managed to gather the opinions of some of the leading marketers in the region and beyond, as well as those at the coalface of the industry to tell us how they see things developing over the next 12 months or so.
‘The period will significantly accelerate digitisation across all businesses’, explains Paul Frampton-Calero, European President at Control v Exposed, a marketing services business from London. ‘Larger legacy businesses will be planning for a more digital first retail model whilst the fast growing DTC community is already benefiting from a growth in online shopping of all kinds. We will see a more marked shift towards digital and data driven marketing out of this and a faster decline in traditional media channels.’
‘The market will likely not recover fully in 2020, with initial recovery in Q1 2021 but a full recovery not until later that year.’
Peter Kersbergen from Icelolly.com, one of the UK’s leading low cost holiday price comparison sites ponders over the time it will take to recover from this explaining that, ‘The market will likely not recover fully in 2020, with initial recovery in Q1 2021 but a full recovery not until later that year.’ With their focus largely on the travel sector they will be hoping for confidence to return soon but see some benefits in terms of how far their budgets could stretch, ‘Some sectors will not see a full recovery back to full normality until late 2021, possibly Q1 2022. This means that digital Marketing budgets will be under real pressure as companies have sustained significant losses during this period in order to pull through. However the positive of this is that demand would be lower and costs of advertising online in terms of CPC/CPM might be favourable for those jumping back in early.’
He continues highlighting that ‘Some of the biggest challenges will be the difficulty to predict in terms of jobs and the number of people coming back into the market once the quarantine and furlough scheme are lifted.’ He goes on to ask some of the key questions which the business community are currently deciphering like, ‘Can businesses afford to maintain their full staff levels? Will there be high demand or high supply of employees? What about all those who are currently working in supermarkets, deliveries, etc. pulling extra shifts which will be in less demand?’ It is extremely likely that our attitude towards commuting, working from home and flexible working hours will fundamentally and permanently change.’
Tim Hutchinson, Head of Digital Experience & Product at Slater & Gordon has learned two main things during this period of lockdown and isolation. The first is the development and rise of importance in remote collaboration. ‘We have always discussed the benefits of remote working and collaboration, and we've tried our best to develop and integrate tools to enable our teams to take advantage of a work anywhere approach. But because we have never been forced to collaborate remotely, it has just been a nice to have and a last resort for when people need to be out of the office. This last 6/7 weeks has shown me how this approach to working actually does work, probably more effectively than I have ever seen.’
‘There seems to be a newfound respect and empathy for our colleagues and a can do attitude for anything thrown at us’
Explaining how this has impacted his company, they haven’t seen the distance between stakeholder in projects impacting the productivity, ‘There seems to be a newfound respect and empathy for our colleagues and a can do attitude for anything thrown at us. At Slater and Gordon we have worked tirelessly to deliver new digital tools and information to support our customers during this time of uncertainty and every project has had people involved from all over the country. At no point have I needed to be sat in the same room with them, nor have I considered where they actually are. Is this the new norm? Should it be? I for one will continue to champion the benefits of flexible and remote working!’
Tim continued his thoughts with how the period will impact reputations moving forward. ‘All of us will remember those companies and brands who have supported us during this period of uncertainty and not tried to profiteer from the situation. Marketeers have had to tread very carefully during this time and in most cases have considered the effect this global pandemic is having on everyone's emotional and physical states. Has this greater consideration taught us more about each other? Have we finally learned that supporting instead of exploiting is actually what people need? As a digital product designer I have always tried to understand how people think and what they need, but this past few months has opened my eyes even further and taught me a lot about my family, friends and peers and without doubt will impact how we market and design products for people in the future.’
‘Digital first-and-foremost as customers make a further switch from face to face. Retail sadly may see a further decline.’
- A fairer society. Covid has shown our human side; NHS support, looking after elderly neighbours etc. Post covid brands will become more community friendly and altruistic, not just out of customer demand but brand values.
- The use of cash has been given an early goodbye as customers experience daily life without it.
- Digital first-and-foremost as customers make a further switch from face to face. Retail sadly may see a further decline.
- Learned to live without? - what products and services and channels have become dispensable/ indispensable? Is an office environment now dispensable? How about research, are focus groups now a remote reality versus typical viewing facilities. Media consumption may also have changed as home working and living becomes reality, so local vs city centre media becomes more valuable. So many changes have arisen as a result of Covid, we could spend a good afternoon writing a very long list of things that have changed - the known knowns, and how about the known unknowns? I suspect lots of brands and planners will be busy developing scenarios.
Thanks to all your contributions this week, it’s really interesting to hear the views from a range of clients and backgrounds. Clearly the future is completely unknown (as we’ve learned from the events so far in 2020!) but hopefully you’ve taken something away from this that will help you to plan your own course over the coming months.
We’ll have a follow up to this blog next week when we’ll hear from more of you and your interesting predictions and insight.
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