More than half of marketers (55%) are delaying campaigns or have put them under review as fears escalate over the global coronavirus outbreak.
An exclusive survey based on 887 responses from UK brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy, reveals that 60% of marketers have delayed or are reviewing their budget commitments in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. A further 55% have paused product or service launches.
This sense of caution over the release of new campaigns and product launches is spreading to other parts of the business. Some 43% of marketers have delayed or are reviewing planned technology or infrastructure spending in light of the crisis, while a further 41% have put the breaks on any planned new hires.
More than a third of marketers (39%) say their company has already experienced lowered demand for its services, while more than half (61%) expect to see this lowering of demand continue over the next two quarters.
Of the 61%, 36% expect a drop of more than 20% in demand, while 16% predict they will see a decrease of between 16% to 20%. Some 24% of respondents say they have no ability to gauge.
The impact on consumer behaviour
Beyond the effects being felt within their own organisations, marketers are expecting to see significant changes in behaviour among both consumers and business clients.
Some 86% of respondents predict that consumers will delay major spending decisions, while 74% expect business customers to delay spending decisions.
A further 68% of marketers are readying themselves for their business customers to pause any forthcoming product or service launches and 87% say clients are reluctant to schedule in-person meetings.
Marketers in general feel that the changes in behaviour sparked by the Covid-19 outbreak will be wide-ranging and could change the way we consume media. Some 88% predict an increase in consumers’ use of online services, while 86% expect to see a rise in social media activity and 79% predict an increase in ecommerce usage.
This shift to greater use of online services is being experienced internally as brands attempt to transition their workforce to remote working until the outbreak subsides. While 38% of UK marketers say that remote working has been somewhat rare or rare until recently, 83% say it will become somewhat or very common over the next two quarters.