Coronavirus cases in the US are still on the rise, despite what all the outdoor brunch tables in New York City and the packed Florida beaches we see in our timelines may lead us to believe. The recent push to reopen and get back to some semblance of normal feels, more than ever before, out of step with Google results for “coronavirus statistics.”
till, most companies we work with are planning for a future shift back towards stability. There are some promising leading indicators: as The Information notes (paywalled), ad costs per click on platforms like Google, Facebook and Bing have risen 1% every ten days since April (which marked the low point for prices since lockdown began). Maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising, then, that (according to Gartner’s new 2020-2021 CMO Spend Survey) B2C marketing budgets are expected to grow by 78% in 2021.
Digital ad spending is a smart enough idea: in that arena, things seem like they could edge back to recognizability soon enough. 73% of the 432 executives surveyed in Gartner survey expect COVID-19’s negative impact to be short-lived, and 57% of them believe that “business-as-usual” will resume in the next 18 to 24 months.
For marketing execs who are beginning to budget for 2021, the optimism at the corporate level combined with the facts on the ground present something of a quandary: do they plan for a return to normal, or hedge their bets?
Spoiler alert: they should probably plan on doing both. That means staying cautious and light on their feet both in terms of budgeting and comms strategy, while laying the groundwork for potential major projects if business continues to pick up into late Q3 and early Q4. That million-dollar rebranding project that got put on hold in March? Probably not quite the time to press go, but keep your finger near the button.
Things are happening
There’s no doubt about it, folks: coronavirus is taking a huge toll on digital agencies, with a Marketing Charts study showing that two-thirds of the companies surveyed have charted revenue reduction since the outbreak. Not a major surprise!
In related bit of good news for those of us in the content space: a new ANA report shows that brands’ projected budgets for content marketing are only going to continue to grow in the next two years. Download the full report if you want to maintain a little hope about the state of our jobs a few years from now.
Digiday has a new report on the current status of virtual schmoozing in schmooze-heavy industries—a topic we explored in this space a few weeks ago.
Patagonia Provisions—the wing of the outdoor wear brand you know and love that specializes in organic food stuffs—has launched a beautiful new print journal.
Take a good Larry-David-style look at your co-workers during those Zoom meetings. You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that an estimated 47% of Americans WFH are pantsless while on the clock.
Make sure that the COVID lifestyle isn’t making your dog feel “overly bonded” to you, or you might find yourself on the receiving end of a tantrum when you start having to leave them alone again.
Sick of staring listlessly into your own backyard/brick alleyway? Try somebody else’s. Window Swap is a soothing COVID-era escape into people’s views from around the world.
Resourceful teenagers have recognized the possibilities afforded to them by face-obscuring coronavirus masks—that is, buying handles from the liquor dressed as grandmas and posting footage to TikTok.
What We're Listening To
At the end of last month, the Tom Petty estate blessed us with a beautiful one-off: a stripped-back, mellow, extra-sweet 1993 demo of one of Petty’s greatest smashes. The string sounds of the acoustic guitar create the beat as much as the faint kit, and there’s a plaintiveness to the vocal that might well make true Petty-heads get a little misty.