Marketing Barometer: How Covid-19 is impacting the marketing industry – Update Q2 and Q3 2020
In spring 2020, Sortlist published its first Marketing Barometer on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the industry. Measures such as contact and travel restrictions had left serious traces in just a few days and weeks. Some industries experienced a severe blow, others were suddenly more in demand than ever.
Two full quarters have already passed since Covid-19 became a pandemic. For us at Sortlist, this is an occasion to look into our data and take stock of how the marketing industry has changed over the past six months.
Sortlist is a B2B matching platform that helps marketers find the best agencies. On our platform, around 10,000 projects are posted every month worldwide. This allows us to analyse the current business climate in different marketing industries.
Our assessment can help you to adapt your offer accordingly and to react to marketing trends better and faster.
Table of contents
For this Marketing Barometer, we looked at project requests published on our platform in the first three quarters of this year. Lockdown measures were imposed in most countries at the end of the first quarter of 2020. The second quarter was then dominated by various restrictions, which were eased again in many places in the third quarter.
By comparing the three quarters, we can assess how demand has changed in the respective industries. Internationally evaluated projects fall into the 15 expertises that are most in-demand via Sortlist. In the country-by-country evaluation, we evaluated the ten most sought-after sectors in each case.
Overview of international trends
Worldwide, the event, public relations and film sectors were hardest hit by the corona crisis during the second quarter. Event bans and social distancing led to a decline in demand for event marketing by almost half in the period from April to June 2020. Project requests in the area of public relations dropped by almost 20 %.
E-commerce, digital strategy and social media are the marketing activities where demand grew most in the first three months after the outbreak of the pandemic. Many shops had to close in spring, which is why demand in the e-commerce segment rose sharply.
But it was not only the retail trade that shifted to the internet; many aspects of communication with customers now take place online. This could explain the increase in project requests in the area of digital strategy and social media as well as content strategy and graphic design.
In the third quarter, the business situation for marketing companies in the event, public relations and film sectors recovered somewhat. This is likely to be directly related to the relaxation of the Corona restrictions. In the areas of e-commerce and digital strategy, demand returned to normal in the third quarter, after the industries were among the “winners” of the crisis in the second quarter.
Sortlist’s core countries in the overview
Sortlist has offices in Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. These five countries reflect some international trends.
Demand for those sectors that are heavily affected by social distancing, lockdown and travel restrictions also declined in our core countries in the second quarter. In the third quarter, these marketing sectors recovered somewhat.
The trend that companies want to improve their online communication is also emerging in Sortlist’s core countries. Content strategy, graphic design, SEO and digital strategy were increasingly in demand in the 3rd quarter.
The decline in demand for the creation of mobile apps and websites in the five countries is remarkable. This could be related to the economic consequences of the pandemic. Already in May Sortlist carried out a survey among 500 small and medium-sized companies on their web presence. In this survey, 60% of the respondents stated that their budget for creating a website had been cut since the outbreak of the pandemic.
In Germany, event marketing and public relations activities recovered particularly well in the third quarter of 2020. This could be due to the fact that Germany has a relatively low infection rate in international and European comparison to date and restrictions in the event sector have therefore been less strict.
The above-mentioned trend that know-how for the creation of websites and mobile apps is less in demand is also evident in Germany. This is probably due to the general business situation and negative outlooks that are causing German companies to postpone major one-off marketing investments.
France is one of the European countries where the public health consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are particularly evident. This is likely to have a longer-term impact on the marketing industry.
On the one hand, demand for event marketing continued to decline in the third quarter and demand for e-commerce returned to normal. On the other hand, services related to digital communication are in greater demand among customers. Graphic design, digital strategy and website creation were able to grow in the third quarter of 2020.
However, there was a decline in the areas of branding and mobile app. This could be due to companies focusing on existing communication channels in the face of negative business expectations and postponing long-term and more cost-intensive projects.
In Spain, the last three months have also seen a recovery in those marketing sectors that suffered a major blow in the second quarter of 2020. In detail, demand from customers for know-how in event marketing and film increased again in the third quarter. The development in e-commerce and digital strategy returned to normal.
Similar to France or Germany, the need for expertise in mobile apps, website creation and branding has decreased in Spain. In the current business climate, marketers in Spain could increasingly focus on short-term goals. Long-term projects such as branding or major investments such as in a new website or mobile app could currently be out of reach for many companies due to the poor economic situation.
Belgium reflects many international developments. The marketing areas of public relations and events recovered over the summer. Demand for graphic design also increased in Belgium in the third quarter, which could be due to the fact that brands are increasingly focusing on communication on the internet.
The demand for skills in the creation of websites and apps also declined among Belgian marketing clients.
In the Netherlands, the situation regarding marketing trends is somewhat different when compared internationally. Event marketing recovered somewhat here in the third quarter. The demand for services in the area of digital strategy and website creation is currently high, which could be due to the fact that companies are shifting their communication with customers to digital channels in the long term.
The Sortlist Marketing Barometer for the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020 gives a first indication of the longer-term consequences the corona crisis could have on the marketing sector.
The increased demand in the 3rd quarter for services such as graphic design and content strategy could be due to the fact that companies are focusing their communication on existing digital channels and are hesitant to invest in new channels such as apps or new websites.