For obvious reasons, the coronavirus crisis put a halt in certain activities of marketers. Business trips, meetings and meetings with clients were first postponed, then they moved to the virtual universe and video calls and finally, if they recovered, it was done in a very local and very reduced way. Many companies have, in fact, policies that not only encourage teleworking but also prevent their workers from taking business trips.
At the end of the day, the recommendation has been to reduce movements as much as possible and to avoid all those contacts that were not necessary, to avoid the transmission of the virus.
However, the passage of time has begun to change the balance. On the one hand, everyone is already suffering from pandemic fatigue and is looking forward to getting back to normal, be that as it may. A study by Ipsos has just indicated that 64% of the population shows signs of feeling pandemic fatigue (although Spain and Italy are the countries surveyed in which fatigue is felt the least).
Still, there is a certain desire to return to normalcy, which is leading to vacation plans or activities such as dining out.
On the other hand, companies also feel that they need to resume ‘normal’ activity, to regain economic positions and stability. Except for certain very specific players, such as e-commerce companies, the crisis caused by the pandemic has been a very hard impact on the companies’ waterline.
And finally, the progress in vaccination and the increasing number of immunized people is also creating a certain sense of security. People go back to plans because they feel less vulnerable.
The return to the face-to-face of marketers
The plans of the most important congresses and fairs are, in some cases, to return with the summer. It is true that a few conferences and major fairs have been canceled, but others continue. This is what happens with the Mobile World Congress (MWC), although this year it had to launch a ticket at a very low price to attract local attendees. Other fairs and conferences are already being held. Fitur has closed its doors not long ago, on its return after the pandemic.
Agencies and marketers have also begun to return to a certain normalcy, as reported in Digiday. The analysis of the media starts from what is happening in the US market, but it is not difficult to see it as a potential warning of what may happen in Europe.
If one takes into account that now the activity stoppage for the summer is coming, but that in September it will return to an environment with an even higher vaccination rate, a stronger face-to-face return among marketers can even be seen.
Marketers are once again flying on planes and reaching out to clients and workspaces. The latest study by the Association of National Advertisers already indicates that 77% of vaccinated marketers are willing to travel within the country for work reasons.
In February, and with the same starting premise, they were only 23%. The prices of business hotels and airline tickets have already started to rise and activity has started to take off in the large convention centers. To begin with, creative productions have also started.
Some changes will stay forever
Despite this certain return to normality, it is possible that the normal-normal, the patterns of 2019, will never return completely. The reason will not be so much the fear of the virus as what has been learned during these months.
During the months of teleworking and reducing meetings to what is strictly necessary, he gained in productivity and efficiency. Marketers do not want to lose that (and we must not forget that one of the recurring complaints they have about their work is precisely that of time wasted in meetings that are useless).
To this must be added the costs. Pandemic life – at least for companies – has been much cheaper. Maintaining cost efficiency is very important in especially complex times.