As the UK readies itself for a period of deep economic recession as a result of the coronavirus crisis, marketers are bracing themselves for a significant slump in demand.

More than a third of UK marketers (34%) expect to see demand for their brand’s products and services slump by more than 50% over the next two quarters.

A further 13% expect demand to slide by between 41% and 50%, while 11% predict a drop of between 31% and 40% and 19% a decline of 21% to 30%.

The exclusive survey of 477 UK brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy, found that just 3% of marketers expect a drop in demand for their brand’s products or services of 10% or less.

In total, 75% of UK marketers expect to see some form of lowered demand for their brand’s services during the next two quarters of 2020.

This number rises to 80% among smaller companies (revenues of under £50m), which are bracing themselves for some form of decline in demand, compared to 66% of larger businesses (revenues above £50m).

Smaller organisations expect to take a harder hit over the next two quarters, with 38% predicting a fall in demand of more than 50%, compared to 23% of larger businesses.

Analysis of the more than 850 marketers at global brands, also conducted by Marketing Week and Econsultancy, finds that 77% of B2B marketers and 71% of B2C marketers expect to experience some form of lowered demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Over a quarter (27%) of consumer-facing marketers and those working in B2B (26%) are bracing themselves for a more than 50% drop in demand for their brand’s products and services over the next two quarters.

Learning lessons

In the face of recession and declining demand, marketers are set to make changes post-outbreak based on what they have learnt under lockdown.

Some 83% say they have developed new ways of working they will implement once the pandemic abates, while 61% expect to introduce new processes post-outbreak.

In terms of innovation, 48% of marketers say they expect to introduce a product or service innovation in response to the outbreak, while 43% are looking to innovate their marketing messaging and branding, and a further 42% look set to make changes to their customer communications.

B2C marketers appear more likely to be introducing new ways of working post-outbreak (88%) than their B2B counterparts (75%). Likewise, 62% of consumer facing marketers say there are new processes they will implement once the lockdown has ended, compared to 57% of B2B marketers.

Marketers make ‘radical’ changes to customer journeys amid pandemic

However, 43% of B2B marketers expect to introduce innovations to customer communications, compared to 38% of those working in B2C. Business marketers are also more likely to implement product or service innovations in response to the outbreak (49%) than their consumer-facing counterparts (42%).

Larger companies appear slightly more likely to introduce new ways for working post-outbreak (86%) than smaller businesses (82%). However, marketers at both large (63%) and small (61%) organisations see new processes emerging that they plan to implement once the pandemic ends.

When it comes to innovation, close to half of marketers in large organisations (49%) and 41% in smaller companies expect to innovate their approach to marketing messaging and branding post-outbreak. Furthermore, 50% of marketers in smaller businesses, and 47% in larger companies, expect to introduce product and service innovations in response to the pandemic.

Back to normal?

There is much talk about what the ‘new normal’ will look like once the lockdown eases and society returns to life post-pandemic. Just 7% of marketers believe people will return to their past behaviours as soon as possible.

In fact, 64% say some specific behaviours will change long-term, but in most cases people will return to past behaviours. A further 29% of marketers believe the coronavirus crisis will have a long-term impact on how people behave in many aspects of life.

Two-thirds of B2C marketers (66%) and 65% of B2B marketers believe some specific behaviours will change long-term once the lockdown has eased. Likewise, 66% of marketers working in small companies, and 64% in larger organisations, agree some changes will be made.

With demand expected to plummet and some behaviours likely to change for good once the Covid-19 pandemic abates, marketers are preparing to introduce new products, services and ways of working to help their businesses cope with life post-lockdown.

the lowdown on coronavirus and marketing

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