The world has witnessed a paradigm shift since early 2020, and the effects of the sudden change are still being felt. The pandemic changed the way people went about their lives, how they worked, and everything in between. On the work front, the closure of offices resulted in a topsy-turvy situation. Telecommuting or remote work became a norm rather than an exception. People had to set up their home offices to help their companies and employers because the show must go on.
Now, when the lockdowns have been lifted up, many companies have mandated or included work from home in one form or the other. Employees have gotten accustomed to remote work in the last year and a half — they have even increased their productivity levels in many cases. All of this has prompted workers to demand some form of remote work for some of the time— even when normalcy gets completely restored.
Just like most other industries, the digital marketing industry has also experienced the ripple effects of telecommuting in a multitude of ways. The pandemic has overwhelmed the projections of every business, with digital marketing being no exception. From an increased need for virtual marketing to hiring employees remotely, the impact of this shift to telecommuting has been multipronged for the digital marketing industry. It needs to be looked at from a couple of angles only then can we paint the complete picture.
If you are looking to grasp the complete aftereffects of telecommuting on the digital marketing landscape, you have come to the right place. Keep reading.
In this article, we will be looking at the effects of telecommuting on the different aspects of the digital marketing industry. First, we will look at the window of opportunity created for digital marketing by the sudden shift to remote work. Second, we will dive into how remote work has impacted the inner working of the digital marketing businesses. Lastly, we will combine our findings and decide how telecommuting has shaped the digital marketing landscape for better or worse. Let’s begin.
Telecommuting: A Window of Opportunity for Digital Marketing
As we have discussed above, the work-from-home culture is here to stay and has taken the mainstream by storm. With online interactions, dependence on the internet, and digitization of services gaining more prominence than ever before, the opportunities for digital marketing to grow by leaps and bounds have presented themselves quite dramatically since the beginning of the pandemic. When most industries were reeling with a plethora of problems in terms of dwindling sales of products and services offered by them with a decrease in demand and fall in revenues, digital marketing emerged as a savior for all marketing needs of many behemoths of companies.
The pandemic compelled brands to completely shift their bases online, especially for marketing their products and services. This, in turn, created a need for content creation for occupying a larger share of the attention spans of their target audience — content that was relevant and contextual and appealed to the prospects concerning their confinement at their homes and the situation outside.
The sudden transition to telecommuting prompted the requirement for promoting brands virtually, interacting with customers, and conducting businesses online as much as possible. The effects of the sudden shifting of gears proved to be quite drastic for certain businesses. For example, alcohol brands started producing hand sanitizers and disinfectants in their distilleries — owing to the sudden exponential increase in its demand by remote workers and the general public alike; the clothing industry witnessed a flood of mask manufacturing with most brands taking advantage of the growing demand and also for staying relevant and earning some profit when other sales were dwindling, etc.
Now, these shifts in operations of major brands needed the able support of effective and flash marketing to pivot their new products in the psyche of the consumers. Now, this is where the digital marketing industry got its first immediate opportunity in the wake of telecommuting taking over. The rebranding effort required the expertise of digital marketing stalwarts to create a new image for driving sales of the new offerings of traditionally different brands.
Digital marketing techniques like designing creative online ad campaigns, with the help of videos and other appealing visual elements, saved the day. SEO best practices, when coupled with quality content, effective social media campaigns, and email marketing, provided the desired impetus to the online marketing strategies of all such brands. Digital marketing enhanced the visibility of brands to help them survive in the uber-competitive world of the internet, where attention spans are difficult to grab, and even more so in holding them.
What are the tangible effects of harping on the digital bandwagon?
With the inability of brands in creating real-world experiences for customers, they have had to shift to digital marketing for emulating an equivalent experience digitally, to cater to telecommuters and general audiences alike. Manufacturers of essential products and services required by telecommuters like home-office goods, ambience creation goods, online training, essential software etc. have had to increase their transparency quotient — to allow these consumers to associate and engage with such brands more effectively.
Change in lifestyle and overall perspective required the digital marketing agencies to tweak their usual strategies in order to incorporate a human side in their digital content, to make it more palatable and consumable for the new target audience. They have had to think on their feet along the way and create marketing success roadmaps in a very short amount of time. Therefore, the adaptability of the digital marketing industry to the needs of a new set of consumers has been a success story in itself. The relevance of digital presence has been highlighted and accepted more than ever before.
Businesses have understood that this situation might not stay forever, but the prowess and relevance of the digital marketing industry in creating and promoting brand identity is unparalleled. The realization has made the future of digital marketing look even brighter with businesses — big and small — starting to make digital marketing the anchor of all of their marketing strategies, even when things are on the path of returning to the old ways.
Digital Marketing Industry and Effects of Telecommuting
Just like every other industry, digital marketing has also faced many changes in the way it functions because of the shift to telecommuting. Although digital marketing has always been open to, and to some extent dependent on remote work, the pandemic has entirely overturned the usual notions and added layers to the way remote work is approached and impacts the working of digital marketing companies.
Many benefits have arisen for digital marketing companies due to the shift to telecommuting. These range from factors like employee hiring, productivity, engagement, better work-life balance, to name a few. Undoubtedly some challenges have also shown their faces because of this shift, but they are far and few. Before we start discussing these challenges posed by remote work, let’s take in the benefits of the same in the working of the digital marketing industry. Some of these remarkable and stand out benefits — that have helped the digital marketing industry thrive — are as follows:
- Reduction in costs — saving money
Naturally, having employees work in traditional office setups requires many expenses. From workplaces rents, electricity bills, stationery expenditure, costs of running and repairing equipment, utilities, administrative costs, and other miscellaneous expenses add up to make a hefty sum of money. Remote work also allows digital agencies to persuade employees to take minor cuts in their salaries against the money saved by them for expenses like commuting — according to a survey, 37% of millennials are willing to take pay cuts in exchange for the increased flexibility provided by telecommuting.Telecommuting helps in saving all of these costs and adds them to savings that may be used for other purposes — including business expansion costs. These savings makeup for the surplus of a digital agency and can also be used to provide incentives like regular bonuses to employees for better productivity.
- Better utilization of technology
Digital marketing in itself is a product of the advancement in technology. With the advent of newer tools, techniques, and software in the public forum, the digital marketing industry has accessed better options to automate their processes and increase the overall accuracy and productivity of their employees. In the wake of remote work, marketing agencies have been very efficient in adopting technology for many purposes such as self-promotion, handling online communication, digital onboarding, client interaction, and everything else.Since holding online meetings between employees and with customers has become a necessity, many video conferencing tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, etc., have become a mainstay in the arsenal of digital marketing agencies. The creative process of employees also gets a boost with the help of relevant software designed to decrease their workload by automating other official processes. More effective personalized online training options adopted by digital marketing agencies allow employees to polish their skills at their own pace and time. All in all, telecommuting has brought out the best in technology for the digital marketing industry.
- Streamlining hiring and onboarding process
A few of the major concerns while transitioning to remote work are: hiring new employees and onboarding them. All thanks to super-effective online communication tools and various learning management systems(LMS), both of these challenges can be tackled quite efficiently. The online hiring process saves the company time and money as several processes like in-person meetings, which otherwise take significant company time, can now be handled at the convenience and flexibility of both HR managers and candidates.The next step in the employee hiring process —onboarding and training —also benefits from the inclusion of online training modules customized according to the strengths and weaknesses of incoming employees — for making them job-ready. A capable LMS also allows marketing agencies to communicate in real-time and obtain feedback from their new employees to improve on any irregularities in the hiring process.
- Access to best talent irrespective of geographical locationIn a remote working setup, another significant advantage is the ability of digital marketing agencies to hire the most qualified candidates for various specialized job roles. When there’s no restriction of hiring new employees from a fixed geographical area, because of the physical office location, agencies can hire the best talent within their budgets from different parts of the world.Bringing in the best talent allows these agencies to improve their productivity, quality of the work they produce, propagate a work culture that values constant improvement, and foster increased levels of creativity. Therefore, telecommuting is a blessing in disguise for the digital marketing industry.
- Building trust between employees and employers Since remote work allows employees and managers to work in a safe environment of their choice, they feel more comfortable in sharing their grievances and suggestions with their teams and the management. This, in turn, allows for the resolution of their issues and instils confidence in the overall work culture of the marketing agency.Limited mobility aids the call for unity between remote employees and helps build trust between team members. Trust between employees leads to a happy workplace, where ideas flow freely, and as a result, creativity (the bread and butter of digital marketing) and efficiency gain an upward trajectory.
- Better employee engagement and and increased productivity So far, we have already discussed several reasons why remote work increases the productivity of employees. Because of the flexible and convenient nature of remote work, employees engage more with their work, put in more effort (with the support of a homely environment), and as a result, help in increasing the quality of work produced by the marketing agency. Limited interactions with coworkers, confined to important issues only, allow for saving time spent in idle socializing. The time thus saved can be yet again be utilized in improving productivity.
- Flexibility of work increases quality of the creative processTelecommuting allows workers to choose the time and place for their work. Such flexibility gives them the option of completing multiple days worth of work in lesser time or doing lesser work every day to extend days in their workweek. Since they are their boss in terms of their work time, they can be more creative and add more value to the company.
Some disadvantages of Telecommuting for Digital Marketing Industry
- There might be a negative impact on creative collaboration
In-person meetings and collective innovation are some of the strengths on which digital marketing agencies build their campaigns and business strategies. In a remote work environment, employees can be productively creative and efficient individually, but the lack of interaction with others may lead to innovation and creative collaboration suffering. Thus, this is the main disadvantage of telecommuting for digital marketing companies. Moreover, in absence of healthy, in-person work culture, the sense of belonging of the employee towards the organization may dwindle.
- Possibility of work getting affected by household distractions
Another possible disadvantage of remote work may be in the form of multiple household distractions such as kids disturbing the workplace, increased expectations of performing house chores, etc. Therefore, sometimes, telecommuting can be a challenging undertaking especially for employees who live with their families. Since the role of creative thinking is paramount for a marketer, these distractions may prove counterproductive and negatively affect their workflow.
Once you finish reading this article, you will have a better understanding of the benefits and challenges of telecommuting in the digital marketing industry in proper detail. The number of benefits outweigh possible challenges and make a strong case for telecommuting. Rest is up to you as a reader to decide which way your opinion has swayed after going through it. You have to decide whether telecommuting has shaped the digital marketing industry for the better or worse.