What’s likely to change?
Comms teams are being asked to achieve more results with fewer resources. They face increased KPIs, tighter budgets, and greater scrutiny. In short, they must do more with less. Rising to meet these new challenges requires creativity, tenacity, and great adaptability.
Comms leaders foresee questions about where and why they are investing budget. As well as what this activity will achieve. Going forward, almost three-quarters (72%) expect greater scrutiny of their plans and actions.
Despite a challenging market, comms leaders expect KPIs to stay the same or increase. Two-fifths (42%) of comms decision-makers expect their targets to increase in 2021. While a similar number (39%), are not expecting their KPIs to change over the next year.
While expectations are rising, comms leaders expect budgets to tighten. Almost half (45%) of the decision-makers we asked are anticipating budgets cuts in 2021.
But many are more optimistic. More than a quarter (28%) expect their budgets to increase, while 27% aren’t expecting any changes.
How are comms leaders responding?
Comms leaders face a changing marketplace. The pandemic has influenced customer behaviour, attitudes and perceptions. Action and inaction during the crisis have affected the reputation of brands too. The impacts of this are only now starting to become clearer.
Many comms professionals are looking to data and insights to get closer to audiences. Almost two-thirds (65%) of the leaders we asked are planning to make greater use of data and insights in future.
Understanding audience needs and wants is now a top priority. Over two-thirds (71%) of decision-makers think this has increased in importance. Likewise, understanding how and what is influencing buyers is becoming more important. Three-fifths (60%) of leaders we asked said this is now more important than it was pre-lockdown.
Monitoring brand reputation has also risen up the agenda for many because of Covid. More than half (53%) of the leaders we asked told us they want greater insight into how this is changing.
Yet, while leaders want to make greater use of audience insight, many face barriers doing so.
What challenges are comms teams facing?
A lack of time and budget are the biggest challenges that comms leaders face in using data and insights. While internal barriers can often be a difficult obstacle to overcome for many.
Almost two-thirds (65%) of decision-makers are lacking the time to make more use of data and insights. While the same number (65%) pointed towards budget constraints.
More than half (53%) face internal barriers. Common issues include using company-owned data, retargeting pixels and analytics. A similar number (53%) pointed to a lack of skills. Many comms leaders don’t believe they have all the skills in-house to become more data-driven.
Using data to inform, track and measure communications remains a challenge for many. A third (33%) of the leaders we asked said measurement and evaluation are not viewed as a necessity.
What actions should comms leaders take?
When the unexpected happens, we must find new ways to move forward. In a world with Covid, no brand can afford to stand still. Comms leaders must respond to new pressures while tackling existing challenges. Becoming more data-driven can help.
By making smarter use of data and insight, leaders can make decisions with confidence. But the challenge is not getting the data. There are more tools and ways to inform and measure comms than ever before. The real challenge is sifting through the data to identify intelligent insights.
It’s a challenge worth taking on. Smart audience insights can help brands to drive greater results and improve performance. While brands can prove impact and optimise communications with intelligent measurement and evaluation. In a world of change, how we respond is what matters. Leaders that take on the challenge to innovate and adapt, will reap the biggest rewards.