Curveball, or Catalyst?

When the coronavirus caused a nationwide lock down, it immediately changed everything we know about marketing, the workplace, and agency relationships.

The landscape as we know it was turned upside down, and the trends we had observed and acted according to were thrown out the window.

But did it really change everything?

Or did it just force companies to examine where the real foundations of marketing lie?

Did it really warp the landscape beyond recognition, or did it just reveal it more clearly?

And the trends we thought we knew – have they really been rendered obsolete, or have issues bubbling for years rocketed to the forefront?

Let’s take a look at a few things that, while hugely accelerated by the public health crisis, have been in the works since long before then.

Digital Media, and the agencies that drive it
With agencies facing a forecasted decline of 30% this year, and another 20% in 2021, the agency as we’ve come to know it isn’t coming back any time soon.

This is creating an increased strain for marketing departments that face unprecedented challenges both now and, as most forecasts predict, an even steeper climb as demand returns alongside the economy.

The agencies that have most effectively weathered the storm of layoffs, however, are those specializing in digital media – a logical development, given their head start in the space that’s been most resilient throughout the crisis.

As digital marketing takes center stage in a socially distanced world, ensure that your brand’s efforts are fully integrated within your larger marketing plan, and not simply another silo.

MarTech Automation
As agencies continue to shrink in terms of headcount, oftentimes these empty roles are filled not with typical creatives, but with the capabilities and automation that comes from innovative MarTech.

It’s something we’ve been keeping an eye on, and with the round of layoffs unfortunately hitting agencies across the size spectrum, it’s only becoming more prominent.

As a result, part of the new marketing challenge will be to delineate agency fees based on platform in addition to traditional team labor.

Of course, this is assuming you continue to work with an agency, and don’t bring programmatic buying in-house – another potential ripple effect of a long-tailed trend.

CMO Creativity
We’ve made note of the “disappearing CMO” trend in the past, but as the outbreak has forced leaders of all sorts to improvise, perhaps nowhere is there a higher demand for strategic creativity than for the CMO.

The demands on the position has only increased as brands look to the c-suite for guidance through, quite literally, uncharted territory.

The relative winners of the post-lockdown marketing period will be those with strong leadership and agencies that are willing to adapt the collaboration model to the new normal.

Adjustments need to be made, and we’re certainly far from being out of the woods, but now isn’t the time to abandon your marketing instincts, and part of that back-to-business strategy needs to be an agency roster that’s willing to roll with the punches.

If you’re in the process of resetting, realigning, and searching for an agency to help you find that road forward, give us a call at 513-559-3101 or email us at