Covid demands stretch marketers ‘to breaking point’

angry laptopAs the UK commemorates the one-year anniversary of the first lockdown, it seems that marketers have been sharing the pain of health workers throughout the pandemic, with three-fifths (61%) saying they wanted to quit at least once in the past year and three-quarters (74%) claiming it has been the most challenging time of their careers.

According to research for Sitecore, conducted by Advanis, many marketers have been at breaking point during the pandemic, with their mental wellbeing also being severely affected.

The study quizzed over 400 UK marketers across all levels of seniority, and found that over half (58%) stated that work negatively impacted their mental health, with senior marketers more affected than their junior colleagues (61% compared to 51%). Layoffs, furloughs and redundancies hit the teams of 30% of UK marketers.

The sudden, unexpected arrival of a digital-only approach to customer engagement brought an accelerated pace of change, with the vast majority (77%) stating that they had to fundamentally change their customer experience in response to the pandemic.

Three-quarters (75%) have seen their responsibilities soar in the past year, with the most commonly cited areas being customer acquisition (41%), content development (41%) and adding new online or virtual services (40%). Three -in-four(72%) also needed to upskill quickly to meet the changing demands of their jobs.

A corresponding consumer study reveals a less patient, more fickle customer, with brands fighting harder to maintain customer loyalty in a year of online-only interaction. The study’s authors suggest the arrival of this more demanding customer contextualises shows why marketers felt intensely pressured over the past 12 months.

It reveals that most consumers (67%) have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites, with the majority (70%) insisting they will navigate away from a site and choose an alternative if they cannot find what they need in just a few clicks.

In fact, most UK consumers (52%) will only give a retailer one second chance if they experience a poor online shopping experience and almost half (45%) are less loyal to the brands they usually shop with since the start of the pandemic.

Sitecore chief marketing officer Paige O’Neill said: “The customer who was supposed to turn up in 2030, has turned up in 2020; not by their own choice, but driven by a world that needed to switch to digital-only engagement to survive and thrive.

“Consequently, rising expectations of exceptional customer experience and speed of transaction is the new battleground across industries.

“The extreme pressure that marketers underwent in the previous 12 months shows the industry was caught short, without the necessary agility and infrastructure to enable marketers to do their best work, from content to commerce. This meant they have struggled to accelerate their innovation and upscale their digital capabilities.”

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