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Creative & Marketing Productivity Soared in May, Despite Predictions

Written by Abbie Hatch, Marketing Manager for RoboHead

There have been few times in history more interesting to be a part of the creative industry than now. Between the adoption of AI into our workflows, looming economic troubles and turbulence caused by the great resignation, it’s hard to determine what the “state of productivity” really is. With data from the RoboHead 10000, we’re taking a close look at an unexpected development: the surprising productivity surge in May 2023 and what the trends might be indicating overall.

May is Typically Part of a Summer Lull

Historically, May has not been the most productive month in the creative and marketing industry. It usually falls on a downward arch that doesn’t pick back up until fall. In our four years of tracking, productivity has always had a downward trend compared to the previous month, which is easily attributed to time off, the Memorial Day holiday weekend, and warmer weather leading to less output.

RoboHead 10000 Index Monthly Comparison

A Noticeable Uptick

May 2023 defied the odds and the data tells an intriguing story. Contrary to the previous trends, the productivity level for last month shows a notable rise, reaching an average score of 103 on the index. This number even outpaces a slight bump we would expect to see for June. This performance defies the expectations set by the past years, indicating a potential shift within the creative and marketing industry.

Digging Deeper

What factors might be driving this impressive productivity surge? There could be several elements at play here. First, the rise in productivity may reflect new, more productive ways of working—like better project management practices or even the adoption of AI in the creative process. Second, fear has been an unfortunate but solid motivator for individuals to kick their productivity into high gear. As we noted last year, when economic indicators decline, productivity often increases. When economic questions persist, it’s possible that productivity will follow suit as well.

Will This Be the Summer of Productivity?

While businesses outside of creative and marketing are still seeing unprecedented decreases, the significant productivity increase in May 2023, as documented by RoboHead 10000, presents a promising outlook for the future of the creative and marketing industry. If this upward trajectory continues, we might be looking at a year of high productivity for 2023.

YOY comparison for aggregate index activity

For the first 5 months of the year, 2023 has ranked significantly higher for productivity compared to previous years. In the most positive outlook, we see teams digging in and doing the work as the waves settle on years past and we find our new creative normal. With teams seeing fewer workers leave their roles, it’s possible that we’ve finally found a balance that fosters productivity and creativity.

This shift underscores the critical importance of adaptability, innovation, and resilience within the industry. It also illuminates the potential for growth and success in the face of changing circumstances as we continue to embrace new ways of working.

In essence, the robust productivity seen in May 2023 offers a bright spot for teams facing limited resources and hiring freezes. Thanks to adaptability and curiosity in the face of headwinds, creatives will always find a way to work around problems and rise to the occasion.