Study: COVID Impact On Agencies, Marketers Is Not Uniform

Although the entire advertising industry has been disrupted due to COVID-19, the effects have not been one-size fits all, according to new research from 99designs and Corus. 

Factors like age, seniority and whether you work in-house or at an agency all seem to play a role in how work and careers have been affected. 

For example, while about a third (32%) of marketers believe their productivity has improved, account managers and brand managers are almost twice as likely to indicate improved productivity levels than their senior leaders when working remotely (44% vs 25%). 

Conversely, younger marketers have found creative collaboration significantly more difficult working remotely when compared to their older colleagues.

Bosses seem to have harder times adjusting to this new normal. Half of C-Suite and agency owners said their productivity levels had stayed the same, with only 25% reporting an improvement.

Fifty-six percent of external agency employees would prefer to return to the office full-time, compared to 38% of their in-house counterparts.

For many reasons, 2020 has also changed the nature of client/agency relationships. Nearly two in 10 marketers (18%) expect fixed retainers to become obsolete in a post-COVID world, while 39% expect there to be much higher demand for project-based work over monthly retainers.

Agencies themselves are less optimistic than their in-house counterparts about the future of the traditional business model. A quarter of outside agencies anticipate retainers disappearing altogether whereas only 14% of in-house marketers agree.

“Pandemic, climate crisis, social movements, civil unrest – each month of 2020 has brought something new to test every single one of us, both personally and professionally,” says Shayne Tilley, head of marketing, 99Designs. “While we’re certainly not out of the woods yet, the good news is that we're starting to see some silver linings emerge from the chaos that have the potential to positively impact the industry for years to come.”

Three in 10 marketing professionals (30%) find creative work and collaboration on creative projects more difficult since working from home, but a similar number (31%) said they actually found it easier remotely.

At least some unexpected benefits have also emerged: one in five marketers believe opportunities for career advancement have actually increased during the pandemic, and 42% of managers said communication with their teams has also improved while working from home.

The survey tracked 772 responses from marketing professionals collected online via market research platform Corus in August 2020. Responses were collected from the United States (528), Australia (145) and Germany (101). Thirty-seven percent are currently working in an agency, 36% are employed by a brand in-house and 27% are currently freelancing. 

 

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