Marketers are facing the double whammy of increased pressure to deliver sales leads since the Covid-19 outbreak but with drastically reduced budgets, forcing a major rewrite of their marketing plans.
Research conducted by Dun & Bradstreet, reveals that nearly three-quarters (70%) of marketers have seen their budgets slashed as a result of pandemic, with the same number (70%) struggling to plan for the future.
When it comes to the biggest cuts, advertising spend (50%), events (43%) and paid digital (41%) took the heaviest hits. While budgets have not disappeared entirely, pre-Covid marketing strategies have been significantly impacted, with teams now looking to refine their approach.
The research found four-fifths (80%) of respondents were now changing their plans and scheduled activities as a result of the pandemic.
Dun & Bradstreet sales and marketing solutions leader Adam Leslie said: "After the pandemic, there is no going back - the world as we know it has been turned upside down. Customer needs have changed overnight and marketing departments have needed to adapt.
"Instead of lamenting the end of traditional activities such as events, the best marketers are already looking at how they can use data and analytics to retune their tactics, support their customers and play a critical role in the survival of their business."
Despite limited budget, marketing departments are under increased pressure to deliver more for less. Over three-quarters of respondents (78%) reported that their sales teams had become more reliant on marketing activity and collateral since the outbreak.
However, although 77% of senior marketers said new business leads have reduced in the wake of the pandemic, teams have been quick to pivot their strategies – switching the focus from hard selling to customer support.
Leslie added: "It’s a quality over quantity approach, underpinned by accurate data and analytics that is serving marketing teams well. To gain a deeper knowledge of their customer base, we’re seeing an increased focus on optimising website form fills from clients who are tracking web visits more diligently and trying to reach higher-value prospects rather than the masses. Times are changing and marketing teams need to be ready to react, to adapt, and stay ahead of competitors."
Despite what the report brands "significant headwinds", it is not all doom and gloom, with over four-fifths (83%) of marketers already preparing to bounce-back from the current challenges.