What is the Marketing Behaviour during COVID -19?

YRSK | Published: 18-01-21
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused severe business disruptions due to suspended operations, consumers’ changes in priorities and buying patterns. Organisations now need to re-think their marketing strategies to get over the current state of business disruptions.

According to a Forbes article, brands and marketers need to tweak their marketing approach to sustain, such as becoming more agile, portraying a positive brand image on social media, using the digital platform, and more.

When it comes to deciding on marketing/advertising campaigns, marketers need to consider the factors that are affecting each industry and changing consumer behavioural patterns

What does the CMO Survey Reveal about the State of Marketing during COVID-19?

The CMO Survey provides marketers key insights into how the pandemic has influenced marketing activities, spending, jobs, and performance during the past three months.

The survey included 2654 leaders from US marketing enterprises, of which 97 percent are in the VP level or above.

Here are excerpts of the key findings in the survey:

Customer Behaviour

The CMO Survey report reveals consumer behavioural pattern during the pandemic. The report shows the following:

  • 85 percent of respondents have been open to new digital offers during the pandemic.
  • 84 percent of participants placed increased value on experiences.
  • 79 percent of participants acknowledged the companies’ attempts to do good.

Firm Performance

The survey data outlines that marketing leaders consider growth metrics the most important key performance indicator (KPI) when it comes to assessing marketing performance in terms of ROI.

Participants stated that their organisation has been using traditional accounting metrics such as sales and profits much more than current metrics like customers lifetime value to gauge marketing performance.

Marketing Spending

  • During the pandemic, the marketing budget growth came down to 7.6 percent compared to the 8-year high growth rate of 8.7 percent in August 2019.
  • The percentage of marketing spending in the overall company’s budget has remained stable at 11.3 percent.
  • Spending in digital marketing has remained quite strong, with a 13 percent increase. However, traditional media advertising has been downward at -.4%.

Marketing Jobs

Strategic marketing hiring declined to 5.8 percent, which is close to the historical average over the last decade, with a 5.6 percent increase. The industries that are showing nearly double hiring growth are communications, healthcare, retail, and technology.

Mobile and Social Media Marketing

  • There has been a spike in the mobile marketing budget, and it may further increase up to 73 percent in the next five years. Particularly, healthcare companies may double their spending on mobile marketing during that period.
  • Spending on social media marketing has increased to 13 percent of overall marketing budgets. It is likely to increase to 21.5 percent in the next five years.

Managing Marketing

Organisations continue to manage themselves by developing new marketing capabilities. Around 57.9 percent of companies state that they will expand their marketing capabilities by training existing or hiring new employees.

Managing Growth in Uncertain Times

  • Companies will focus more on organic growth, as 72 percent of investments will be about using internal sources of growth. The growth rate via partnerships is 11.4 percent, for acquisitions is 11.3 percent, or licensing at 5.1 percent.
  • The percentage of Internet sales as part of revenues has gone up to 13.5 percent, the highest in a decade.

You can get more details on the CMO Survey here.


It is challenging to forecast right now, as to when the market situation will get back to normalcy. Meanwhile, marketers should ideally focus on making their organisations more agile and flexible by integrating digital processes in the best possible way. Besides, they can use their downtime to develop organisational capabilities.