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The 3 Parts of the Marketing Ecosystem Set to Boom in a COVID-19 Recession
The sudden economic shock that has come with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been felt all across the globe. From a sudden forced shift to all-digital sales to depressed consumer sentiment, the news has been decidedly bad for businesses.
But what's becoming clear now is that the effects of the pandemic are going to continue to plague businesses even after the real-world danger subsides. One measure of this is the sudden pronounced decline in business marketing expenditures, which analysts now expect to last through 2020.
At last count, some 69% of brands were reporting that they were cutting their advertising budgets for the rest of the year, and that's likely just a preview of what's to come. As the economic fallout spreads, there's every reason to expect that more businesses will make similar moves.
That means there's a high likelihood that the focus for most marketing firms and professionals is going to turn toward efficiency in the coming months. With that in mind, here are three parts of the global marketing ecosystem that might benefit from the sudden changes in strategic direction.
1. Marketing Automation
Even before the pandemic upended economies everywhere, businesses had been moving toward automation in large numbers. Now that there's going to be less money allocated toward marketing, you can expect that some of the available funds are going to be earmarked for projects that automate marketing workflows.
There are already countless marketing automation platforms and tools making major inroads in industries far and wide. Now that businesses will need to do more with less, the companies that provide those solutions are going to get a big boost in customer interest. There's already evidence that some MarTech firms are leaning into this trend and adjusting their offerings to meet the demands of a post-coronavirus economy. They won't be the last to do so.
2. Content Marketers
When it comes to high return on investment, marketers know that it's hard to beat content marketing as a strategy. It's low-cost and has a lasting, high-value return. For that reason, content marketers are always among the first to benefit when budgets tighten. It's reasonable to expect that this time will be no different.
In the coming months, content marketing firms should start to see a steady increase in business, as more companies shift their budgets away from advertising campaigns and into more durable long-term marketing strategies. It's important to recognize, though, that the benefits will not extend into the once-flourishing influencer marketing space, as brands cut their sponsorships and opt instead for strategies focused on wholly-owned content like blog posts, videos, and user-generated content.
3. SEO and CRO Providers
One of the key goals of any marketing strategy is to deliver a steady stream of leads to a business so they can turn them into sales. As the amount of money dedicated to advertising drops, however, that stream is bound to turn to a trickle. That means making the most of every lead becomes of paramount concern to businesses that hope to make it through a downturn.
In today's digital environment, this means businesses will look to hire credentialed digital marketing experts or outside consulting firms to fine-tune their digital properties for maximum sales yield. In the present economic environment, that means firms and experts in the fields of search engine optimization (SEO) and conversion rate optimization (CRO) are about to get quite busy. It should also produce a surge in interest and investment in technologies that aid in those goals.
The Bottom Line
Although there's no precedent for the kind of economic disruption that the coronavirus has wrought, there's plenty of precedent for what happens to business marketing in a recession. Already, the available data shows that businesses are reacting according to a well-established playbook. They're trimming expenses and taking a wait-and-see approach that they expect to last at least until year's end.
Using previous downturns as a guide, it's reasonable to expect that the changes businesses are making now will last at least a year beyond that – and that's being optimistic. And judging by the recessions that have occurred in the internet era, the three parts of the global marketing ecosystem detailed here are all but certain to benefit in the near term. The only remaining question is for how long and how much of a boost they're going to see – and the answer to that comes down to how quickly the world deals with what's turning into a once-in-a-generation pandemic event.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes