The majority of marketers stretched themselves to breaking point during the pandemic, amid pressure to retain customers and adapt to a purely digital environment, according to new research.
The research, from Sitecore, reveals that most marketers wanted to quit their jobs at least once during the pandemic amidst pressures to retain and attract customers and drive commercial results in a purely digital environment.
- 74% of UK marketers found the pandemic to be the most challenging time in their careers.
- 61% wanted to quit their jobs at least once in the past year.
- 58% of UK marketers believe their work negatively impacted their mental health during the pandemic.
- 77% had to fundamentally change their customer experience delivery strategy in response to the pandemic.
Global research specialist Advanis conducted the research for Sitecore, as the UK reaches the one-year anniversary of its first lockdown, to help understand the increased pressures on brands during the pandemic and how this affected the wellbeing of marketing professionals.
Gathering the views of over 400 UK marketers across all levels of seniority, the study finds that as a result of being on the front line of increased customer digital engagement, nearly three quarters (74%) found the pandemic to be the most challenging time in their careers. Over half (58%) stated that work negatively impacted their mental health during the pandemic, with senior marketers more affected than their junior colleagues (61% compared to 51%). Layoffs, furloughs and redundancies impacted the teams of 30% of marketers in the UK.
The sudden, unexpected arrival of a digital-only approach to customer engagement brought an accelerated pace of change, with the vast majority (77%) stating that they had to fundamentally change their customer experience in response to the pandemic. Seventy-five per cent saw their responsibilities increase a lot in the last year, with the most commonly cited areas being customer acquisition (41%), content development (41%) and adding new online or virtual services (40%). Over two-thirds (72%) needed to upskill quickly to meet the changing demands of their jobs.
A corresponding consumer study from Sitecore carried out by Advanis reveals a less patient, more fickle customer, with brands fighting harder to maintain customer loyalty in a year of online-only interaction. The arrival of this more demanding customer contextualises why marketers felt intensely pressured over the last twelve months:
• Most consumers (67%) have less patience with slow or poorly functioning websites since the pandemic.
• 70% will navigate away from a site and choose an alternative if they can’t find what they need in just a few clicks.
• The majority of UK consumers (52%) will only give a retailer one second chance if they experience a poor online shopping experience.
• Almost half (45%) are less loyal to the brands they usually shop with since the start of the pandemic.
Paige O’Neill, CMO, Sitecore, comments on the findings and their significance for the changing online customer experience, “The customer that was supposed to turn up in 2030, has turned up in 2020; not by their own choice, but driven by a world that needed to switch to digital-only engagement to survive and thrive. Consequently, rising expectations of exceptional customer experience and speed of transaction is the new battleground across industries. The extreme pressure that marketers underwent in the previous 12 months shows the industry was caught short, without the necessary agility and infrastructure to enable marketers to do their best work, from content to commerce. This meant they struggled to accelerate their innovation and upscale their digital capabilities, without the right tech stack and support in place.”
About the research
Advanis conducted a survey among consumers and digital marketers, commissioned by Sitecore, reflecting on COVID-19 impacts and priorities going forward. 400 marketers from the UK, 88 from the Republic of Ireland, and 402 from the US completed were surveyed from March 5-10th 2021. An accompanying study of 2022 UK consumers, 1000 consumers from Republic of Ireland and 1000 US consumers was conducted March 10-16, 2021.