From content to COVID these statistics provide benchmarks for marketing and creative operations and demonstrate the value of creative in a year of uncertainty
One of the ways inMotionNow strives to keep in tune with creatives, designers and marketers is through survey research. This year we fielded two surveys: our annual Creative Management Report and a flash survey exploring how creatives and marketers were responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Both studies surfaced findings that provide an interesting look back on the year – and also set some benchmarks for future performance. We recently went back through these reports and pulled out some of the statistics we think will be most useful to our community as we round the corner on the New Year.
1. Most creatives switched to remote work.
The vast majority of creatives (92%) that answered this survey said they switched to remote work all the time. The other 8% said they were working remotely at least some of the time.
2. Creatives took the transition to remote work in-stride.
About 50% of creatives said the process of transitioning to remote work was “easy” (39%) or “very easy” (11%). Another 27% were indifferent, indicating the transition was “neither difficult nor easy.” About a quarter (23%) said the transition was “difficult” or “very difficult.”
3. The pandemic has had a modest impact on the ability to get work done.
Most creatives said the Coronavirus had “a little” (29%) to “moderate” (35%) impact on their ability to get things done; 15% said the pandemic had no impact at all. However, one in five (21%) said it has adversely affected their ability to get things done (“a lot” or “a great deal”).
4. Cloud tools eased the transition.
Most respondents (82%) say their creative organization was already using cloud-based tech tools. This helped pave the way for a smooth transition.
5. What do creatives need from tech providers?
In a word, integration, according to the sentiment in open-ended comments. One respondent wrote, “Ensure easy, seamless, comprehensive tools or integration. So, we aren’t jumping from one tool to the other.”
6. Top COVID challenges facing creatives during the pandemic.
An open-ended question asked creatives – what’s been your organization’s biggest challenge in responding to the pandemic? – answers centered around creative project intake and the creative process.
“The influx of projects directly related to COVID-19, while undertaking major projects like website redesign and email system migration and having to prioritize projects daily,” said one respondent.
“Figuring out how to collaborate and harness that ‘creative connection’ that comes from working face-to-face with the team virtually. Some of the team has had to figure out how to set boundaries so as to not work 24/7, while others have not put in their full time because of the nature of remote work,” wrote another.
“Network and technology issues and increased demand for deliverables,” were the top challenges, according to a third.
7. Businesses are more dependent on in-house creative teams.
About three-quarters of creatives (72%) reported their in-house team handles over 75% of their organization’s creative needs; 60% of respondents said their company has had an in-house team for 10 years or more.
8. Businesses waking up to the value creatives bring.
Most respondents (89%) said creative work is important to meeting business objectives. Similarly, 87% said their organization is giving them the same or more credit for the business results their work delivers for the organization.
9. How creative helps reach business goals.
When asked specifically how creative helps meet business objectives, creatives said businesses recognized the value their work adds in areas such as brand recognition (56%); engagement metrics (51%); lead generation (31%); and return on investment (31%).
10. Creatives are being tasked with new responsibilities.
The greater appreciation creative has earned with the business is being parlayed into more strategic business duties. Two-thirds of respondents said they are being tasked with new responsibilities such as company culture, marketing strategy, analytics, customer experience, and even mediation for other teams in the business.
11. Top challenges facing creatives.
Respondents identified several challenges as among the most significant facing creative and design workers: the speed at which creative teams are expected to work (77%); the volume of work (72%); being seen as a strategic contributor (63%); and the increased variety of digital channels that require creative projects (55%).
12. A need for performance data about creative work.
More than half (55%) of creatives say they “rarely” or “never” get qualitative performance data about the creative content they’ve created. In other words, creatives want to know what projects lead to marketing and sales results – and which ones didn’t.
13. How long does it take to get creative approved?
A majority of respondents (83%) said creative projects are approved within five or fewer rounds of review, which is an improvement from 77% last year. In terms of time, 78% of projects are approved within a week, up from 65% the year before.
14. Creative review and approval as measured by rounds of review.
How the creative review and approval process breaks out by round:
- 18% say the approval of creative work takes 1-2 rounds of review
- 65% say 3-5 rounds
- 14% say 6-10 rounds
- 3% say 11 or more rounds
15. Creative review and approval as measured in time.
How the creative review and approval process breaks out by time:
- 8% say the approval process takes 1 day
- 43% say 2-3 days
- 27% say 4-5 days
- 10% say 6-7 days
- 8% say 8-14 days
- 4% say two weeks or more
16. How much time creatives spend on admin duties.
Nearly half of creatives (47%) still spend about one full day per week on administrative duties, which is flat from the same survey in 2019 (48%). This is important because creatives need the mental space to be creative – and they have less of that when they are chasing around administrative tasks.
Additional reading and chance to participate
If you’d like to explore any of these data points in more detail, we invite you to download a copy of either report:
Finally, we just launched the survey for what will be our fourth annual creative trends report – and we’d welcome your participation. Click here to take the 2021 creative trends survey.
Elise Hauser is a product and content marketer with a passion for telling brand stories. She has produced inMotionNow’s annual Creative Management Report for 4 years, webinars, content sessions for major industry events reaching audiences of 11,000+, and of course, countless blog posts. When Elise isn’t writing about the marketing and creative industry at inMotionNow she is teaching economics and hanging out with her cat, Tucker, at her home in Raleigh, NC.