W ith the world at what seems to be a global economic halt at the hands of the recent outbreak of COVID-19, digital marketers have been impacted drastically both positively and negatively. In the panic and chaos caused by COVID-19, digital marketers like many others, have been forced to use alternative methods to continue their businesses. I have conducted interviews with 12 digital marketers, varying from those who work on site or have always worked remote. In my research,I found that all digital marketers have been affected by COVID-19 in some way or another. There are some who have found success in the storm, and others who are struggling to stay afloat.
Meet Josie, Digital Marketer Negatively Affected:
Josie is like many digital marketers, who works with a few agencies and also directly with clients across the nation. When asked if COVID-19 has affected your business, Josie responded saying “Being affected by this disease is an understatement”. Josie was not the only digital marketer with this kind of response. Out of the digital marketers interviewed, 67% of them stated that their business has experienced negative impacts due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
Many digital marketers have felt a negative shift in their demand. “A number of swimsuits brands we work with are tanking at the moment, and the majority of our clients have inventory produced in China which they are short on, causing media buys to have been slowed down or paused” she said. Josie has lost one major client so far and has another client who has paid for her services but has not sent her any projects to work on.
As I got deeper in my research, I found that 50% of digital marketers that were interviewed worked in industries that were ordered to shut down such as hospitality or travel industries. This can result in zero work for some digital marketers. As the demand for traveling is on a decline, these digital marketers have had to reroute marketing efforts in other areas such as creating content focused on entertaining and educating their audience. Digital marketers who work for industries that do events have felt this firsthand as all large social gatherings and trade shows have been cancelled to prevent the spread.
Meet Michael, Digital Marketer Weathering the Storm
Michael is your average digital marketer who has worked remote for the majority of his career, with the exception of visiting clients for in person meetings if needed. I found in my research, this situation was quite standard. 58% of the digital marketers I interviewed had the same work set up.
Due to this, Michael has had an easy adjustment if any at all to this new digital era. As working professionals are ordered to stay in and work remotely, there are various resources Michael has worked with for years to allow him to communicate with his clients and team members from home.
When asked how he and his team communicate, he said they use video chats such as Microsoft Team for status calls. His team conducts this, as well as for individual meetings, about 3-4x a week to check in and see how everyone is progressing. Michael’s favorite feature is the live white board which allows for his team to brainstorm ideas interactively.
Digital marketers who have already been using these digital forms of communication have claimed to have had an easy transition. As many as 83% have found success using such methods as well as others such as Skype for clients who are international, or even Facetime. The tone of the digital meetings are the same as before as it was already set up with digital communication in place.
Why Should Digital Marketers Care?
Regardless of which digital marketer one relates the most to, it is important to understand and adapt to the changes happening around us. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, updated on April 1, 2020, the US has a total of 186,101 cases and 3,603 deaths. The effects of COVID-19 have changed the way we socialize, shop, entertain, and live our day to day lives.
With a situation that evolves every day, it is absolutely crucial that as a digital marketer, one evolves with it. Whether it be the use of digital communication, or being creative in ways to produce content in struggling industries that still attract your target audience, digital marketers have stayed resilient in order to make it through these trying times. Though there are some whose businesses are facing hard times, just know that there is hope and still ways to find success during this crisis.