NEWS26 November 2021

UK marketing emerges stronger from pandemic

B2B News UK

UK – New research from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) shows that despite the challenges of the past 20 months, marketers are optimistic for the future growth of the sector.

Conceptual image of the marketing function with cogs

Nine in ten ( 90%) believe it has a key role to play in the UK’s economic recovery, compared to 85% when asked in 2019.

The latest figures show that six in ten ( 60%) marketers who were furloughed now feel they have the right mix of skills to succeed. Nearly a fifth ( 19%) of respondents were on furlough at some point during the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet it appears many invested this enforced downtime in skills development, with half now offering a wider range of services. 

This contrasts with earlier findings from 2019 when 87% of people CIM surveyed admitted they worked with marketers who learnt on the job and had little formal training, demonstrating a significant need for improvement in skills for the industry. 

Today’s report is the third and final instalment of CIM’s The Impact of Marketing, a research series that has spanned the pandemic and explores the impact of Covid-19 on the sector. The series reveals the widespread economic loss for both the marketing sector and its employees, with 69% of agency staff and 59% of in-house teams reporting reduced demand for marketing activity through 2020 and 2021. 

The latest findings echo the emphasis the Government’s autumn budget placed on skills, with a £3bn investment in personal development to help the UK economy recover from the pandemic. 

Earlier research carried out in partnership with CIM by recruiter Hays also found that 42% of the 723 polled marketers planned to prioritise upskilling in their current profession. 

Chris Daly, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said: “This latest report reflects the resilience of the marketing profession as it steps up to the challenge of helping the country recover from the pandemic. I am immensely proud that despite personal and professional setbacks, so many across the sector responded with ambition and determination. Covid-19 touched countless lives and livelihoods, and I believe that marketers will have a critical role in shaping an economy that works for both people and the planet.”

Opinium conducted three batches of research, starting with an online survey of 1,000 marketing professionals, followed by 200 interviews with CIM members. The first batch of research took place between 3 and 13 September 2019, with CIM members being interviewed between 18 September and 14 October 2019. Additional research both desk and via the CIM membership base was undertaken between July-August 2020 and again in May-June 2021, speaking to 545 marketers in agency and in-house roles, one third of whom were based outside of the UK.