9am, Friday 24th March, London - Businesses are losing the capacity to plan for the future as comms execs are feeling stressed and overworked, according to new Octopus Group research of 200 UK comms and marketing directors.


As planning cycles get shorter and long-term strategies seemingly become a thing of the past, comms execs are facing change from all directions, with 77% admitting to being stressed, 65% saying they’re more stressed than this time last year, and 61% working beyond their contracted hours on a regular basis.

Comms directors are torn between delivering on strategy and getting the day job done, whilst battling to cope in a changing world that’s in hyper-drive. 59% are having to become more creative and innovative in order to compete with other suppliers in the market, whilst 52% are having to get to grips with more areas of the business in order to be effective.

Commenting on the findings, Billy Hamilton-Stent, Octopus Group’s Client Strategy Director said: “This year, we discovered a series of problems comms execs face around strategy, competitive pressures, internal priorities and coping with innovation. Despite nearly half of those surveyed thinking about strategy outside core hours, they’re losing the battle and spending too much time playing catch up.

“Unsurprisingly, their stresses are a reflection of the challenges their businesses face, with 61% saying their company doesn’t spend enough time thinking about the future or view comms as strategic in its approach.”

Billy concludes: “Comms and marketing directors need to get their breath back by becoming slicker, smarter and stronger through innovation, using available resources better, and renewing the focus on the customer.”

Octopus Group’s Breathless Business survey was carried out by its research unit, Loudhouse, in March 2017. 201 comms and marketing executives were surveyed, as well as 400 senior B2B buyers. The firm hosted a roundtable on this topic in May with the Holmes Report.