Like many businesses out there, the coronavirus pandemic has left our heads spinning. From confounding statements by government officials, to the long and tedious weeks without our usual social activities, it’s been a testing time for mankind. As we look at slowly easing into a post-crisis world, one thing is for sure: things won’t be the same again. But this doesn’t have to be ominous. The digital agency industry has proven just how resilient and innovative it can be, from shifting gear into remote working to adapting service offerings for the current needs of clients, this bunch is truly a group of survivors. Research by the WOW company has given us some great insights into how the industry is adapting and what you can apply to your own strategy in the new climate. For a vision of the future, read on…
With consumers spending more time at home and on devices, more marketing budget will be allocated to online activities. As a digital agency, this means you’ll see a change in your clients needs because their customers buying habits are changing.
While thinking long-term is an essential factor when planning a marketing strategy, in a bid to take a more proactive approach to the pandemic, marketing teams are implementing short-term changes. This could mean adapting content to address the new concerns of customers, or offering free support to help see loyal clients through a tough time.
The big marketing investments, however, will be in website optimisation. Businesses that operated brick and mortar locations will now be moving their stores online, requiring more robust hosting and background support to handle the traffic and functionality demands. If you’re an agency that once only had a service offering around brochure websites, you may want to extend this to accommodate e-commerce style websites.
User experience (UX) is at the forefront of any web development design project. If you’re launching or upgrading an e-commerce site, marketing will play a significant role in shaping and enhancing online customer experiences.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, major cities around the world have seen a surge in internet traffic. Online shopping, entertainment, access to news and information, as well as the shift towards remote working has seen a significant increase in internet use. In many ways, the internet is the unsung hero of the pandemic how else could we have survived the weeks of self-isolation?
For agencies managing the hosting of their clients’ websites, this has resulted in the need to upgrade or find flexible packages that can support the new demands. The pandemic has challenged rigid pricing structures that lock customers into limiting price plans. This, along with the need to control budgets, has spurred businesses to find new hosting partners who offer smoother upgrades and downgrades as and when they are necessary.
With more companies than ever trialling out remote working, security is a common concern. Dev teams are working from home, often during hours more suitable to their environment, and many companies are in fact outsourcing developers as their web project demands increase in line with the shift from physical to online stores. This means that companies need a safe way of controlling permissions in order to keep their projects secure, regardless of where in the world their developer is working from.
Working from home is the new norm for many companies. While some are complete novices, many have had some experience in the past and are looking at ways of optimising this working model. 42% of agencies claim to be doing a bit more remote working, while 27% are embracing the opportunity in full force.
To counteract some of the financial impacts of COVID-19, some companies have moved to a four day week, allowing employees to keep their jobs and livelihoods while getting a little more time to spend with family and decompress from the stress that the abrupt changes to everyday life have caused.
Work hours have become somewhat flexible in general. Since many households include children, pets, and other distractions, many remote workers are putting in the hours at night or shifting their schedule to allow for time with family. This adjustment is a positive one in terms of employee satisfaction as it allows for a healthier work-life balance and gives individuals the opportunity to take charge of their schedules and work during the hours when they are most productive.
For businesses that have been reluctant to embrace remote working in the past, the pandemic has certainly shed light on the possibilities and opportunities this model provides.
Rent and costs associated with office space are no doubt concerning for agencies that may have been harder hit financially. Only 42% say they will keep their office space the same, while others are considering reducing the size (17%) or getting rid of it entirely (9%).
It’s safe to assume that, whatever happens in terms of office space, companies wishing to hold onto their physical locations will have to redesign layouts to allow for social distancing and put new stringent hygiene measures in place. Another solution could be to rotate teams between working remotely and working in-house to reduce occupancy at any given time.
The current world situation has inspired a lot more collaboration and some creative initiative in responding to the sudden changes. 84% of agencies plan to adjust their services in order to have a more relevant offering for their clients. Companies are diversifying the range of services they provide and seeking the help of external specialists to take on new or more complex projects.
32% of agencies have begun to offer completely new products and services, while 29% are targeting a brand new sector. These bold moves are largely motivated by the necessity to generate new revenue streams and shift companies out of their comfort zone towards a more progressive approach to the changing markets.
New service offerings may include reselling of hosting packages and website maintenance which offer steady income streams for businesses that need a little boost while also enhancing the benefits they pass on to their clients.
The agency model is certainly changing, and in many ways, these transformations have been positive and encouraging. From helping employees to get more out of their day, to prompting leaders into searching out new ways to diversify and grow while reducing costs and improving services, we’ve seen some promising evidence that agencies will be able to bounce back and thrive in a post-COVID-19 world.
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