The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) has interviewed 344 of its members to discover their priorities as lockdown eases. Brands treaded carefully during the pandemic and, it appears will continue to do so, with brand reputation being the priority for most.
The survey ran between July and August. With brand equity the focus over recent months, sales figures are a side-concern for the majority of marketers.
The Drum explores the research here.
Brand reputation remained the number one priority for six in 10 respondents, while sales-based activities were sidelined.
The communication of employee and public safety messages came in at number two.
Online sales were the highest-ranked of sales promotional strategies, emerging as a top priority for 15% of marketers.
Discounts and promotions to increase product sales and footfall was a “very low priority“ for the vast majority of marketers (73%). Only 2% said it was their top priority. Generating in store footfall was only a top priority for 3% of marketers.
Things have been tough. One in 10 (9%) of the respondents said that they had been made redundant; a fifth took a pay cut (20%) and that they had (17.5%) taken an enforced holiday. One in six (17%) said they had been placed on furlough during the period of the pandemic.
Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said it is reassuring to see reputation ranked first despite the very clear commercial difficulties right now.
“It is clear that the UK marketing community is not prepared to sacrifice short-term gain for long-term pain,“ he added.
He was concerned at a lack of confidence in promotional activity however: “Marketers have worked hard to maintain customer engagement during lockdown. As restrictions now ease it is key they make the most of this opportunity to help drive the recovery we are all hoping for.”
What state will the industry be in once the furlough period ends? The survey included estimates of the size of the UK marketing industry. It is estimated to employ 415,000 staff, 37,000 redundancies are expected and 83,000 are taking pay cuts.
However, good news may be around the corner. 87% of marketers felt confident or very confident that the marketing sector would bounce back after Covid-19.