COVID-19: Online, Social Media Marketing Growing Fast

Business spending on mobile and social media marketing spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, at 70% and 74% growth, respectively, to reach 23% of marketing budgets. The Special Edition of The CMO Survey, Covid-19 and The State of Marketing, anticipates that mobile spending will continue to grow over the next twelve months, while spending on social will remain close to this new high level.

The growing investments in online and social media marketing are in response to real changes in consumer behaviour caused by the pandemic:

  • Lower in-person marketing engagement (e.g., sales/store visits, tradeshows)
  • Increased openness to new digital offerings introduced during the pandemic
  • Increased value placed on digital experiences
  • More reviews/blogging/posting about brands online
  • More online research before purchasing

The good news is that the increased budgetary allocations to online and social media marketing are producing positive results. Social media investments are showing increased contributions to company performance, marketing executives believe. The contribution of social media to company performance has increased 24% since the February 2020, reflecting the first major increase in 12 years.

Sales over the Internet have grown to the highest level, marking a trend in more companies selling online. Small companies are taking most advantage of selling online.

Strategic Marketing Objectives

Covid-19 and The State of Marketing survey reveals that during the pandemic, firms are using social media for brand awareness and to attract and retain customers much more often than for market research, engaging employees, or other social media pursuits.

Marketers’ key objectives during the pandemic are:

  • Building brand value that connects with customers
  • Retaining current customers
  • Customer acquisition

Considering marketing opportunities, resources are being shifted toward building better customer-facing digital interfaces, transforming their business models, expanding into new offerings, and building partnerships. Marketers believe these strategies will create important long-term opportunities and competitive advantage for their companies.

Top Platforms or Channels

Currently, 7.5% of businesses’ marketing budget is focused on online influencers as they anticipate large gains in the use of influencers in the next three years. Strategically, the top platforms or channels are:

  • LinkedIn
  • company blogs
  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Again, marketing strategists demonstrate a clear prioritization of mobile website optimization over app creation and maintenance. They believe mobile websites deliver better results that apps do.

The growing trend in the marketing department is that employees are being used to get active online promoting the company, developing new promotional strategies, and reaching out to current customers:

  • Getting active online to promote the company and its offerings
  • Reaching out to current customers with information
  • Improving digital interfaces for customers
  • Deepening back end digital marketing capabilities
  • Performing customer research

Again, C-Suite marketing executives expect that spending on online and social media will continue to grow while spending on social will remain close to this new high level.

Sponsors of the Special Edition of the CMO Survey, Covid-19 and The State of Marketing, include Deloitte LLP, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the American Marketing Association.

COVID-19 and the State of Strategic Marketing Survey

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