Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 17 seconds

The Impact of a Long, Strange Year on Marketing

Meghan Keaney Anderson, HubSpot’s VP of Marketing, notes that 2020 has been a “strange mix of bright spots and really dark moments.”

COVID coronavirus 4942077 640 smallAnderson notes that on the plus side people are moving online and learning new marketing strategies. However, customers are having a difficult time. That’s according to a recent article from MarTech Today.

The first three quarters—both in B2B and consumer marketing—created challenges that some overcame and some didn’t. Some firms have been able to accelerate their innovation during the pandemic. Many that weren’t able to do so have gone by the wayside. 

Part of the problem was that many firms—even big ones that relied on face to face interaction—didn’t have a great online presence or even one at all. For some, the story of 2020 was “the last breath of long-tail businesses that weren’t online are now online,” according to MarTech Today.

Another important trend during the pandemic is that sales fell while marketing spending went up. Web traffic grew substantially, email open rates jumped, online chats increased, other forms of engagement went way up, and free educational material was on the rise as well. At the start of the pandemic, consumers tolerated clunky online shopping experiences, but as the pandemic has drawn on, consumers are looking for better experiences and firms are feeling pressure to improve.

Spending for Market Share

Some firms have seen the opportunity presented by the shift in market dynamics and have investing in growing market share. 

For its part, Etsy is “doubling down on its marketing campaign” as it seeks to retain customers it attracted the last few months. So reports CNBC. CEO Josh Silverman says he’s pleased with the returns Etsy has seen from its marketing expenditures.

The company spent $127 million on marketing in its most recent quarter ending in September. Its marketing expenses were a large part of the 86% increase in operating expenses it has seen since last year. Etsy does acknowledge that it is anticipating a lower return on investment from its marketing dollars and that will impact its margins.

At the same time, its growth and improved reputation has put it in the same conversation with the likes of Amazon, Target and Walmart, according to the CNBC article.

CMOs on the Rise

The circumstances of the year has also changed the power of the CMO. That’s according to R3 and Campaign's latest CMO Outlook.

The outlook finds that the “CMO is closer to the head of the table than ever, and with that comes the pressure to perform,” according to an article from Campaign. The increased prominence of the CMO is due to, in part, marketing’s integration with many areas of the business.

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