In January 2020, Sortlist released its first marketing barometer, and the conclusion was striking: marketing has changed more in 2019 than in the previous 50 years. The evolution of this field, which is mainly characterized by increasing complexity and specialization of tasks, is only accelerating. And the crisis we are going through today is intensifying this phenomenon, so much so that our latest barometer has become obsolete, barely two months after its publication!

It has been two months since the COVID-19 crisis hit Europe hard, and beyond the health aspect involved in this crisis, the economic consequences are already beginning to be felt by a large number of companies.

It is in this context that we asked ourselves a question: how has the coronavirus pandemic impacted the marketing landscape so far?

In two months, we have seen notable developments in the marketing field and this article seeks to present which expertises are suffering the most from the crisis we are going through, and which expertises are in greater demand than usual. Because we help companies partner with the best marketing providers, we are perfectly positioned to measure market developments and understand what the trends are.

If you are a marketing professional, knowing such information could allow you to adapt your offer and services to better meet market demand and thus get through the crisis more easily.

Table of contents

The Impact of COVID-19 on Marketing 🔎

Methodology

In order to determine this impact as accurately as possible, and to be able to provide you with the best possible information, we have compared the number of projects that have been submitted to Sortlist in 2019 with the number of projects that we have received between February and April 2020, for the 15 expertises that are generally the most requested on our website.

Concretely, to make this comparison between 2019 and the February-April 2020 period, we looked at the percentage that each expertise represented among the total number of projects posted on our platform.

To take an example: In 2019, the number of projects posted related to event marketing expertise represented 6.4% of all the projects we received. However, over the last two months, this expertise represented only 3.5% of the projects that were posted on Sortlist. This means that this expertise has seen a 45% drop in demand over the last two months, compared to the results it had in 2019.

In addition, you should know that we have made this comparison on several scales:

1. For all the countries where Sortlist is active ;
2. A focus on Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands;
3. A focus on the international level, excluding the 5 countries mentioned above.

Growth by expertise – All countries combined

covid_all_countries

Here you can see that the demand for web applications, e-commerce sites, SEO, and digital strategy is on the rise. On the other hand, event marketing, mobile application creation, and online advertising expertise is crashing by at least 30%.

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Growth by expertise – France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands

These 5 countries are our native markets, that’s where we are the most active, hence the fact that we pay more attention to them. Here we can develop different assumptions to interpret these trends.

First of all, the increase in demand for web applications, e-commerce, digital strategy, and website creation could be linked to the confinement that these countries are going through. Concretely, the impossibility of making offline sales, in stores, for example, seems to push companies to rely much more on their online presence to compensate for the losses induced by the confinement.

But on the other hand, investments in online advertising are declining. Even if it may seem contradictory, we believe that this is linked to the fear of making advertising investments that would not have a positive ROI. Nothing could be more logical: in these times of uncertainty, financial resources are more valuable than ever.

In terms of content strategy, the boom can be explained by the containment as such. Given that the vast majority of people from these countries are locked up at home, online content consumption has exploded and there are abnormally high traffic spikes. Confinement is leading to a situation where there has rarely been so much attention on the Internet, and especially so many people asking to consume content. From this point of view, if demand is increasing, it seems normal that companies want to position themselves to meet it and to do so by producing their own content.

Regarding the drop in mobile application development, we can hypothesize that it comes from the fact that the highest priority of the moment is to move from an offline to an online operation. Thus, it seems plausible that the increase in demand for e-commerce and digital strategy may be detrimental to the expertise specific to mobile development.

Unsurprisingly, event marketing is of course on the decline, given that gatherings are currently prohibited.

Finally, for graphic design as well as branding & positioning, it seems that their fall is linked to the fact that marketers are focusing much more on short-term strategies. This makes sense, in times of crisis, the priority is not to establish a brand, but to keep the company afloat, and for this, it is short-termism, pragmatism, and efficiency that prevail.

Growth by Expertise – International

covid_intl

Internationally, i.e. excluding France, Belgium, Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands, it is once again the event marketing sector that is experiencing the most drastic drop, and rightly so. Conversely, E-Commerce is experiencing remarkable growth, followed by the demand for web applications and SEO.

Conclusion

What can we learn from this information? The demand for expertise in SEO, e-commerce, content strategy, and web applications is growing, and rightly so: companies need to be able to gain online visibility and put in place tools that allow them to sell their solutions effectively, to compensate for the loss induced by the confinement we are going through. And they need to be able to do this while minimizing their advertising costs, hence the fact that the demand for advertising and online advertising has fallen over the last two months, compared to 2019.

All of these trends we have seen are consistent with the slowdown in offline commerce and the acceleration of the digital transformation that has already been observed for some time. The only difference being that this COVID-19 crisis puts businesses in a situation where their digital transition must be faster and more painful than expected.

In a marketing world that is not only changing faster, but also stronger, it is more important than ever to be able to remain agile by collaborating with hyper-specialized partners, and this crisis is a good reminder of that.

Sortlist was born in such a context and is better placed than anyone else to observe these changes. In just two months, the transformations have been radical, and that’s why we will continue to help marketers be more agile than ever by allowing them to partner with the best players in the marketing world. Anytime, anywhere, for any need.