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Digital Marketing Threw Creative Agencies a Lifeline During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic dealt an economic blow to creative agencies across the board, but a new industry report says full-service firms that were able to offer clients digital marketing showed the most resilience.

The 2021 Creative Industry Trends Report: How COVID-19 Affected Creative Agencies from Function Point is a survey of more than 100 creative agencies across North America.

“The majority of agencies felt the impact of COVID-19 on their bottom line,” said the report. “More than half of the agencies had a decrease in revenue. Over one-third of agencies reported a decrease in profit margins as well.”

With consumers and companies shifting to digital and online experiences during the pandemic, creative agencies able to tap into that demand not only survived, but some flourished with one in five reporting that their revenue increased last year.

Lack of Digital Marketing Guaranteed Revenue Drop

The Function Point report found that those firms that offered a digital strategy and related services had a better chance of stavingdiggity-marketing-SB0WARG16HI-unsplash off a drop in revenue.

Those firms that did not offer digital marketing were almost guaranteed a revenue drop:

  • 92 percent of agencies that did not offer digital marketing had a drop in revenue with 68 percent having their profit margin shrink.
  • 76 percent of agencies that did not provide social media and website services had a drop in revenue with 59 percent having their profit margin shrink.

“Being able to offer online services (websites et al.) and social media services was essential for agencies' financial health,” said the report.

“By surveying a large sample of agencies across a number of different service types, the final results provide a glimpse into how the industry has evolved., and where it may be heading.”

Digital Content Creation Market Forecast for Growth

A report by InsightSLICE shows that the global digital content creation market is forecast for robust growth in the coming years.

“Businesses are focusing on implementing digital marketing strategies to benefit from the increased online traffic and are adopting digital content creation tools and services,” said the report.

The global digital content creation market is projected to grow to U.S. $38.2 billion at an annual rate of 12 percent between now and 2030.

“The prevalence of COVID-19 has encouraged organizations in strengthening their digital footprint for sustainable growth. With the majority of the operations conducted from isolation, digital content creation has helped organizations to keep up with their digital strategies. This is anticipated to drive the global digital content creation market in coming years,” said the report.

Digital Marketing Jobs in Demand

A new LinkedIn study shows that marketers are in big demand, especially those in digital marketing.

“While the economic impacts of COVID-19 decimated businesses of all types in the last year-plus, the marketing industry has made an impressive comeback,” the study said.

The study found:

  • 381,000 marketing job openings were posted on LinkedIn in the last year.
  • In the last six months, LinkedIn saw an increase of 63 percent of marketing jobs posted.

“Demand for marketing jobs has grown over the last six months because of the increased importance of marketing during the pandemic,” Connie Chen, LinkedIn senior insights analyst told The Drum. “Digital marketing gives organizations the ability to accurately target audiences, measure impact and get in front of consumers during a time where the average adult is online more than ever. As the majority of the country’s workforce was sent to work from home, customers’ desire for digital experiences skyrocketed. This, in turn, has provided marketers with more heightened visibility in their companies and stronger positions to provide strategic direction as new opportunities crop up.”

Other highlights from the LinkedIn study:

  • 1 out of every 2 top marketing jobs listed on LinkedIn are in the digital or media space.
  • Most posted marketing job is “digital marketing specialist”.

“Traditionally, marketing has been a cost center for a business and has always had to prove its value in order to maintain or increase investment,” Chen said. “With the pandemic speeding up digital transformation [such as] retail shifting more to e-commerce, companies are hiring more specialized marketers who understand the digital landscape and are able to market to consumer concerns with solutions.”

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