Deloitte study: companies redirected almost half of the marketing budgets towards social media and mobile activities during the COVID-19 pandemic

Mihai-Alexandru Cristea 20/08/2020 | 15:52

During the COVID-19 pandemic, companies redirected almost half of the marketing budgets (46%) towards social media and mobile activities, according to the latest edition of Deloitte Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Survey, twice as much as before the pandemic. The study also emphasizes that marketers anticipate a continuous growth for mobile spending over the next 12 months, while spending on social media will remain close to the new high level. Deloitte CMO Survey was the result of an analysis of almost 300 responses from top marketers active in 13 industry sectors in US.


In these past few month, social media played an important role both in brand awareness and in company performance. Three quarters of the respondents used social media mainly for brand awareness and brand building (84%) and over half of them focused social media activities on the retention of current customers (54%) and the gain of new customers (51%). Additionally, the study underlines that social media’s contribution to the company performance spiked during the pandemic, with a 23.5% increase from February 2020. Another finding is that marketers make little use of influencers campaigns, as only 8% of their budget is allotted to online influencers on social media such as LinkedIn, company blogs, Instagram, Facebook and others. Respondents anticipate that in the next three years they will increase their budget allocated to influencers to 13% of the total marketing budget, and the highest growth is expected in industries such as banking and professional services.

“More than ever, the CMO is in the right position to bring the voice of the customer on the table. This resides in the ability of the CMO to respond to three challenges: turning customer data into actionable insights, creating relevant customer engagement and building the organization that delivers. Without data sources connected from inside and outside the organization and discipline in place for data quality, customer insights simply can’t materialize. At the same time, carefully aligning technology and data with human values and identity is a must for attracting customers. However, if the customer-centricity can-do mentality is not set in the DNA of the organization, no amount of data and technology can save you,” said Ruxandra Bandila, Marketing and Business Development Director, Deloitte Romania.

Despite a 70% increase in mobile spending during the pandemic, marketers observe a very little lift in mobile’s contribution to company performance, as 28% of respondents believe that mobile activities don’t help at all in performance improvement. The study also highlights that when investing in mobile activities, marketers demonstrate a clear prioritization of mobile website optimization (70%) over app creation and maintenance (30%).

The role of the marketing department inside the companies changed during the COVID-19 pandemic, as almost two thirds of the respondents (62%) report that marketing function has increased in importance, with business-to-business (B2B) companies seeing this increase most strongly at 63% (B2B products) and 72% (B2B services). Alongside a recognized key role of the marketing function, findings of the study reflect the importance of the priorities set by the organization for the marketing department, such as retaining customers and maintaining brand awareness, as the pandemic raised the marketing budget to 12.6 % of the firm’s overall budget compared to the pre-pandemic period (11.3%).

This importance is striking given the fact that marketers are doing more with fewer people, as 9% of the marketing jobs were lost during the pandemic. Workforce inside the marketing function could raise concerns in the nearest future, as a quarter of respondents (24%) anticipate that these jobs will never return.

Deloitte CMO Survey is conducted twice a year, via an online survey, covering companies from industries such as technology, banking, retail, healthcare, professional services, communications, consumer package goods, manufacturing, consumer services, transportation, mining and construction, energy and education. More information is available here.

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