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Merkle’s COVID-19 Customer Engagement Report Finds 52% of Marketers Increased Spend Since the Pandemic Outbreak

June 30, 2020
Columbia, MD

Data highlights how marketers have been impacted and are innovating as a result of the COVID-19 crisis

Merkle, a leading technology-enabled, data-driven performance marketing agency, released a special edition of its quarterly Customer Engagement Report (CER) focused on the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on marketers. The report features findings from a survey of 400 marketers at major US and UK brands spanning industries including retail and consumer goods, financial, travel, media, entertainment, health, insurance, and nonprofit.

Despite COVID-19’s numerous challenges and impacts on the industry, marketers continue to prioritize and invest in new innovations to better serve and retain their customers, with 52% of respondents increasing marketing spend since the outbreak. The findings also break down spend by vertical with marketers across health, insurance, and retail consumer goods industries seeing the largest increases in spend, and nonprofit marketers overwhelmingly indicating a decrease in spend.

“The world has been significantly disrupted by COVID-19, and as marketers, we’ve had to find new ways to innovate in order to thrive during this time,” said Jose Cebrian, senior vice president, marketing strategy at Merkle. “Our research indicates that despite the challenges, marketers have found a silver lining and adopted new and innovative solutions with customer-centricity as the common theme. We aim to showcase these impacts through our report, with our findings highlighting how the power of data and the importance of the customer are encouraging signs that we can move forward as an industry.”

Over 90% of respondents indicate that they are reassessing historical practices to eliminate under-performing activities or campaigns. Marketers have also been using this time to cut waste in their marketing programs, with 67% implementing new programs to improve first-party data capture, and 57% investing more in existing programs. Additionally, 74% of marketers have changed their approach to content developed for consumers and an overwhelming 96% of respondents state that their organizations will continue with their recent customer marketing innovations once the crisis is over.

Looking ahead, the report shows that marketers are optimistically prepared for the possibility of future stay-at-home orders with about 80% of respondents stating that they are better positioned to continue operating business as usual should stay-at-home orders continue. In addition, marketers are better prepared from a technical perspective with 41% feeling “significantly better,” while 51% feel they are “a little better” prepared from a strategic perspective. Marketers also report preparedness for re-opening in the form of plans for getting “back to normal,” with 95% of marketers having a plan for a national lockdown exit, and 62% having multiple sets of plans.

To learn more from Merkle’s thought leaders about the COVID-19 Customer Engagement report findings, register for our upcoming webinar and download the full report here.


The insights in this report were developed from a survey conducted by Ugam, a Merkle Company, in June 2020, which consisted of 400 marketers at major US and UK brands spanning industries including retail and consumer goods, high tech, financial, travel, media, entertainment, health, insurance, and nonprofit.

Kite Hill PR for Merkle
Moira Shannon
[email protected]

About Merkle

Merkle is a leading data-driven customer experience management (CXM) company that specializes in the delivery of unique, personalized customer experiences across platforms and devices. For more than 30 years, Fortune 1000 companies and leading nonprofit organizations have partnered with Merkle to maximize the value of their customer portfolios. The company’s heritage in data, technology, and analytics forms the foundation for its unmatched skills in understanding consumer insights that drive hyper-personalized marketing strategies. Its combined strengths in performance media, customer experience, customer relationship management, loyalty, and enterprise marketing technology drive improved marketing results and competitive advantage. With 12,000+ employees, Merkle is headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, with 50+ additional offices throughout the Americas, EMEA, and APAC. Merkle is a dentsu company. For more information, contact Merkle at 1-877-9-Merkle or visit www.merkle.com.

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