COVID-19 has dramatically shifted every industry — and marketing is no exception. Overnight, budgets were cut, priorities shifted, and the media landscape as we know it might have changed forever.
As a company that has helped over 500,000 businesses grow with our marketing software, we wanted to know precisely which marketing priorities and tactics were most affected by this shift. We also wanted to discover what marketers in particular have been prioritizing in terms of content creation as well.
With these goals in mind, we launched a study to uncover trends emerging from SMB marketers during the pandemic and explore how marketers are paving new paths to customers in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Commissioned by Wistia and conducted by Qualtrics, the 2020 State of SMB Marketing & Content Creation Report surveyed more than 300 senior-level SMB marketers at B2B and B2C companies.
We quickly learned that marketers have ramped up content creation despite budget cuts, using content as a way to access new customers. We also uncovered that marketers are leveraging podcasts more than ever before. Explore our top takeaways and dig into the full report below.
“Marketers have ramped up content creation despite budget cuts, using content as a way to access new customers.”
68% of marketers indicated they have experienced budget cuts, averaging 19% across the board. Despite this, marketers are creating and prioritizing more content across platforms.
“68% of marketers indicated they had experienced budget cuts, averaging 19% across the board.”
Notably, video content was the most popular form of content created before the pandemic, with 51% of respondents indicating that they had produced a video, like a product walkthrough or webinar. Video has remained a vital tool during the pandemic, with 59% of respondents now exploring video as a way to connect with their audiences.
Given the shareable nature of video and the length of time marketers can spend with the customer through video, this popular tactic makes sense for SMBs, and we have the numbers to prove it. Our recent report looked at Wistia data and found that since early March 2020, the year over year increase in video uploads has jumped 120%. We’re now seeing an average of 280K videos uploaded to Wistia each week.
“Since early March 2020, the year over year increase in video uploads has jumped 120%.”
The SMB survey also revealed that marketers are getting creative and considering new channels, like virtual events and podcasts. In fact, podcast launches have more than doubled during the pandemic; only 14% of respondents reported creating a podcast pre-pandemic, which has increased to 29% who now have a podcast.
“Podcast launches have more than doubled during the pandemic.”
Creative marketers are looking beyond video to new content channels as well. While video can be an effective storytelling tool, podcasts have a much lower barrier to entry and are easier to execute in a remote environment.
Almost all respondents (87%) noted that they are considering launching a podcast in the next 12 months. Common reasons for initiating a podcast included increasing brand recognition, highlighting company culture, and reaching a specific audience.
“Almost all respondents (87%) noted that they are considering launching a podcast in the next 12 months.”
Marketers have been using video to tell meaningful stories that build connections with their audiences for years. And while video will continue to play an essential role in the marketing mix, podcasting has emerged as a new way to tell stories and engage audiences.
Wistia understands the challenges of creating a podcast and crafting engaging audio content, which is why we’ve launched a full suite of podcast hosting and marketing features on our platform. This new functionality will enable marketers to host and share engaging podcast content, streamline distribution, and understand and grow their audience. The platform also provides performance insights to track each episode’s engagement to help marketers make informed spending and creation decisions moving forward.
When asked to rank priorities over the next 12 months, increasing organic traffic, customer lifetime value, and overall digital presence topped the list.
What were the top challenges facing marketers in pursuit of these goals? Well, 59% of respondents said finding new ways to reach new customers was the top challenge, followed by 51% of respondents who said it was expanding their customer base.
Marketers have been tasked with expanding their digital footprint and increasing existing customer value while also finding innovative ways to reach net-new customers — all under extraordinary circumstances.
While the pandemic has created new challenges and constraints for SMB marketers, it has also forced marketers to get scrappy, ensuring the industry is more creative than ever. With the amplification of existing owned channels, increased digital content creation, and a new focus on podcasts, SMBs have the power to share their stories and attract new customers.