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COVID-induced 'always on' culture puts pressure on marketing teams
Clients and agencies alike are feeling the strain from ‘full-on and exhausting’ working practices adopted during COVID-19, and both parties want to return to a more balanced way of working.
Why it matters
Research from global client-agency evaluation consultancy Aprais (based on its global database of 24,000 client-agency evaluations) shows contact between client and agency teams ramped up during the COVID lockdowns. But this increased contact has not led to improved relationship scores; many teams are finding their mental health is suffering as a result and staff are going on leave citing burnout.
In the first half of 2020, just 21% of clients touched base with their agencies daily. In the second half of 2020 this leaped to 35%, with a further 47% checking in one to three times a week.
By turn, 31% of agencies contacted their clients daily in the first half of 2020, but in the second half of the year this increased to a whopping 50%.
Data from 2021 shows contact is showing signs of returning to pre-COVID levels, but daily contact is still more frequent than in the first half of 2020.
Increased client needs for their agencies outside the planned and agreed scope of work has led to an increased intensity day-to-day and a perceived lack of focus.
There is a perception from agencies that working times have been less respected, with more last-minute changes requested from clients.
Packed agendas and back-to-back Teams and Zoom meetings have resulted in a lack of time for focused discussion.