7 May 2020
We co-hosted a webinar this week with a candidate who we had placed in a content role at our client Soldo. She runs a great content community, ContentUK and the webinar was intended to offer some advice and tips to content marketers currently job hunting through Covid-19.
It is impossible to claim that the situation currently is anything other than difficult for marketers, creatives, agencies and of course anyone currently job hunting.
I was determined to offer some positivity on the webinar about the job market, specifically for marketers but I was concerned it would be challenging. However, when researching I was actually pleasantly surprised by some of the data and forecasts that I found.
Firstly, although marketing and advertising budgets are often the first to be slashed during a difficult period, there is more and more evidence that actually continuing to invest in marketing and technology is the best long term strategy and these were lessons learnt back in 2008 from the last big economic crash. Back then, John Quelch wrote in the Financial Times in 2008: “It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at a lower cost than during good economic times.”
Victoria Searl, another previous candidate of ours, founder of DataHawks and hugely experienced within the hospitality industry, recently discussed in the Propel Hospitality Newsletter some “lessons from history” showing that those who advertise and market through a crisis, reap the benefits.
And for the job market, perhaps one of the most encouraging signs I found, came from the hospitality industry. A recent survey by Hosco, found that 76% of respondents expect to start hiring again over the next 12 months.
In the content marketing sphere specifically, an early snapshot of the effect of Covid-19 reported that content marketing was one of the least impacted among agency services (and even saw a slight positive impact). 122 agencies were surveyed by Orbit Media Studios and Agency Management Institute on the 26th of March and it will be repeated in the coming months.
The IPA Bellwether report is always a rich source of insight and future trends and the most recent one published, again has some positive results.
Marketing Week reported that the Bellwether data from Q4 of 2020 (which was compiled between 2 and 27 March) showed a net balance of -6.1% of companies revising their total marketing budgets lower.
But those respondents were much more positive about their 2020/21 financial year budget plans, expecting a sharp rise in total marketing budgets over the coming year.
What was very encouraging is that the main media advertising segment recorded the strongest forecasts, with a net balance of 8.4% of companies expecting upward budget revisions.
Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, events marketing budgets are also predicted to see growth (net balance of 6.3%) with many businesses seeing a need to invest once lockdown measures have been lifted. Modest upward revisions to direct marketing budgets are forecast (net balance of 3.7%) and the outlook for public relations was narrowly positive (net balance of 0.6%).
The message from the IPA was very much for marketers to “hold their nerve” and I think it’s absolutely the right one. I know things are difficult now and it is easy to say not to reduced marketing and advertising spend, when you might not have any choice, but I suppose the message is to do what you can to maintain activity and keep your brand front of mind with your audience and your marketing team engaged and motivated.
If nothing else, now is the time to stay positive, plan ahead and take the opportunity to prepare for the upturn.
There is more and more evidence that actually continuing to invest in marketing and technology is the best long term strategy.