Survey: Covid-19 global response (March 2020)

Survey: Covid-19 global response (March 2020)

Marketing Organisation & Strategy
2 minute read

This survey gathered input from senior multinational marketers on how they are reacting to the global Covid-19 epidemic.

Article details

  • Author:WFA


Benchmarks & surveys
2 April 2020

WFA members can download the full survey results here.
Non-members can download a summary version of the results here.

Four out of five (81%) marketers from major multinationals say they are deferring planned campaigns as a result of the Coronavirus crisis.

A third (34%) have initiated short one- to two-month delays, 28% are holding off for a full quarter and 13% will wait for six months before bringing campaigns back to market.

However, at the same time 79% are creating new messages that respond directly to the huge impact of the crisis on the people who use their products and services. Fifty percent of these new messages have already started running or are about to go live and a further 29% plan to start creating new messages soon.

The net result of these changes, however, is a drop in annual marketing budgets with 57% of respondents saying they are cutting spend and 32% showing no change.

The numbers are based on a survey of 32 WFA membership companies, with a collective annual marketing spend of nearly $60bn across 10 industry sectors. The data was collected between March 25th and 30th. Sixty-nine percent of respondents had global responsibilities with 31% in regional roles.

In a separate poll of 58 media leaders conducted during a WFA member webinar on 31st March, respondents anticipated an average reduction in media budgets of 23%. Twenty-one percent of the sample predicted cuts of 40% or more.

The survey also finds that marketers have been mindful of the impact of the cut in spend on their industry partners. Eighty percent have already “provided guidance, to industry partners” relating to this and how they plan to operate in the short-term.

Anecdotal responses to the survey indicate a notable focus on “zero-based thinking”, with members looking to be useful to their people, customers and partners in the short term, whilst planning effectively for the longer term.

Key Take-outs
• 81% of members surveyed have deferred their campaigns as a result of the crisis;
• 50% already have new campaigns in response (another 29% plan to);
• 6 in 10 have reduced their media and marketing budgets;
• 80% have already provided guidance, to their own teams as well as to industry partners.

WFA members can download the full survey results here.
Non-members can download a summary version of the results here.

For more information, please contact and also view WFA's Covid Compendium.

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