3 in 4 brands cut marketing budgets post Covid in India: Report

Over three in four brand marketers (76 per cent) in India have reduced the marketing budgets post Covid-19, shifting advertising budgets towards social media (76 per cent) and paid search (64 per cent) in the post-pandemic environment, a new survey said on Tuesday.

Maximising marketing return of investment (ROI) remains on top of the mind (71 per cent) followed by driving sales (76 per cent) and brand positioning (36 per cent) among those surveyed in India, according to German market research firm GfK.

Covid-19 has not only disrupted businesses globally but also shed light on future-readiness of brands and marketers to drive growth.

“The survey findings portray a clear gap between their business goals and the tools they leverage to achieve them. In a post pandemic environment, it is vital for brands to quickly realign objectives, measure effectiveness and lead through digital transformation.” said Karthik Venkatakrishnan, Regional Leader, Marketing and Consumer Intelligence, GfK.

Nearly 43 per cent of brands and marketers in the Asia-Pacific region are still finding ways to measure and optimize business while only 30 per cent brands consider themselves as a �game changer’ or �champion’ leading through digital transformation, the findings showed.

Since the pandemic outbreak, 73 per cent have reduced their marketing budgets in the Asia-Pacific.

While 56 per cent said digital transformation is increasingly seen as an important KPI (key performance indicators) to achieve their goals, 53 per cent agreed there is more focus on driving short term sales.

Half of the brands across Asia-Pacific are driving short-term marketing activities to seize opportunities while keeping long-term brand-building campaigns live.

“This is largely because the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviour and their path-to-purchase resulting in a massive shift to e-commerce and altering media consumption habits,” Venkatakrishnan noted.

As per GfK survey, four in five consumers said their decision to purchase a brand in future is largely dependent on how brands position themselves during this difficult period.

Therefore, in order to reach the target audience effectively, 60 per cent of marketers across nearly all industries in Asia-Pacific have allocated their budgets for social media marketing while 58 per cent used their budgets for mobile advertising and paid search.

“In a post-pandemic environment, digital is definitely the way forward for brands in the new abnormal,” the survey noted.

In the digital transformation era, one in two measure all their marketing activities but are using basic metrics such as last click attribution (58 per cent), media reach and frequency (57 per cent), shares (51 per cent), likes (49 per cent) and comments (47 per cent).

Nearly half of those surveyed are optimistic of recovery in the next 6-12 months.

The survey targeted 144 marketers in 13 countries in Asia Pacific across several industries.