Covid-19 presented numerous challenges for marketing specialists all over the world. How did the clients react? What kind of impact had the epidemic for the marketing communication plans? What kind of help and adaptation could the clients expect from the agencies? Progressive Advertising Agency was looking for the answer through these questions in its latest research.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus created a brand-new scenario for the advertising agencies and for the marketing specialist as well. It became crucial to recognize how to react and respond flexibly and quickly to the rapidly accelerating economic change and to be able to give the most effective answers to the new challenges.
It is vital that we are able to work together effectively in the following period to make the economic life to be efficient again. Furthermore, it is just as necessary to have a comprehensive communication between the clients and the agencies about the new expectations and adaptation strategies.
The aim of the research of Progressive Advertising Agency is to bring to the surface what challenges the client side has faced, what kind of responses they had, and what kind of agency support is needed to operate effectively.
New challenges for the marketers: higher expectations, expanded responsibilities
On the one hand, examining a short-term period; the epidemic and its economic effects had a negative impact on the companies’ outlook, however on the other hand, on the long-term run, the customers are more likely to be optimistic.
After the outbreak of the epidemic, the clients were forced to reduce their marketing budget. If this was not enough, the management expected a greater efficiency in the marketing communication. In addition, this expectation is not only for short-term, but also for long-term.
On the client’s side, the company leaders have a higher expectation towards to their managers. Firstly, flexibility, the reaction of immediate pursue to any changes and proactivity became much more important. Secondly, to have more cost-effective solutions, respectively, the strategic thinking has a higher value, just as the integrated approach as well.
A significant number of marketing manager’s responsibilities expanded. The clients experienced that due to the crisis, the number of campaign planning, strategic and tactical budget planning tasks have increased. Moreover, there is more market-and-campaign analysis tasks, just as it became important to learn about their consumer’s needs. Project management and implementation also requires more work for the clients.
After restructuring: new structures, digitalization, and new agency tasks
In response to the epidemic, the clients needed to take prompt actions. The consumers needed to change the previously approved communication activities and the marketing mix, moreover, they were forced to start new communication activities, and many of them diverted their communications to digital channels. The marketing communication budget has been significantly reduced, or they were reallocated to other areas, while in the opinion of client-side managers, the effective solution would be to restructure the marketing budget and not to reduce (or increase) it.
On the client’s side, after the outbreak of the epidemic, digital communication, social media communication and PR became the most valued characteristic in the marketing mix. Therefore, they expect that the focus will remain on these areas in the future when the epidemic finishes.
As a result of the crisis, every 5th client is planning to launch a new tender, furthermore, every 5th client has plans to renegotiate the terms of cooperation. 5% plan to search for a new agency in this new situation, additionally, 3% of the clients would replace their current agency. The reason why customers would like to have new tenders is to get creative ideas and more cost-effective solutions.
The role of agencies changed: clients need flexible, proactive, excellent strategy-minded and problem-solving partners
In parallel with the higher expectations for client-side managers, expectations for advertising agencies also increased in most cases.
It is not surprising at all that with the digitalization of communication the customers value their ability to manage the digital and social media areas better. In addition, with the increase of the volume of tasks, on the agency side, the strategic consulting and branding competencies became more valuable for the clients. Since, this allows to respond and react quickly and flexibly to change proactively with common thinking with a suitable agency.
What kind of agencies would the clients want to work with?
Flexibility became the most appreciated value in this changed situation. Due to restructuring the budget and its reduction, budget management for strategy and the application plus recommendation of cost-effective solutions became much more important for clients. Additional valuable feature is the ability to react quickly, moreover, the second highest expectation growth is proactivity. Proactivity shows that the clientele has become more open to prompt initiatives from the agency side.
One the one hand, the future belongs to those agencies and clients who are able to live together with the continuous changes and have the ability to think together. On the other hand, the future belongs to those who recognize the opportunities and can proactively provide a quick, flexible and relevant response. These answers must be accomplished within the limited budget and time.