As the looming recession approaches and mass layoffs continue, your organization’s efficiency is under more and more scrutiny. And as the way we work continues to evolve and become more complex, your efficiency begins to suffer.

Over the past few years, modern work complexities have been eating away at your bottom line through an invisible yet powerful presence in your organization — what we call the Dark Matter of Work. Just as CERN identified Dark Matter as the “invisible” content that makes up 95% of the mass of the universe, the Dark Matter of Work represents activity and details that we can’t immediately see but that have a significant influence on everything around it.

From the tools we use to conduct our work to where and when we execute it, work complexities have truly exploded in recent years and will only become more complicated over time — making it increasingly difficult for employees and business leaders to get visibility into work and truly understand work in progress. 

Wrike is focused on shining a light on the Dark Matter of Work. That’s why we recently commissioned research to investigate its impact on marketing leaders, employees, and organizations as a whole. We wanted to understand to what extent Dark Matter exists and discover the financial cost of Dark Matter affecting us all. The results are staggering and can point marketers towards key ways they can increase efficiency to endure the unknown economic future.

Let’s dive into what we found.

Impact on marketers and creative agencies

While we cannot “see” the Dark Matter of Work, we can identify where it exists. It lives in synchronous applications and unstructured work, such as instant message threads and video calls, as well as the gaps between systems and applications that aren’t integrated. Without a single work platform that is powerful and versatile enough to track, manage, action, and align all work to goals across an organization, there exists a dangerously low level of visibility amongst knowledge workers and leaders.

At present, most marketing leaders generally have little visibility into the work their teams are doing and cannot track the progress of much of that work in real time. And if we ask knowledge workers, they say employer visibility into their work is even lower — suggesting there may be more Dark Matter of Work than we think. 

Wasted time

Time wasted on activities such as repeating work that’s already been done, attending unproductive meetings, or following up on actions and statuses costs the average enterprise millions. In fact, for marketing departments and creative agencies, the biggest loss of money is from wasted time.

Statistics showing the cost of wasted time caused by the dark matter of work

Greater cost of the Dark Matter of Work

The total cost of Dark Matter for marketing departments and creative agencies is more than those for any other department. 

Graphic with statistics showing the cost of the dark matter of work to marketing teams

Low visibility

For business and marketing leaders, visibility into work has only increased slightly since 2020 — from 52% to 55%. And other marketing professionals are struggling to view their assignments and expectations.

Graphic with statistics showing the cost of low visibility to marketing leaders

More human costs

Amid the Great Resignation, mass layoffs, and continuing remote work environment, marketing departments and creative agencies must work to address the human costs of the Dark Matter of Work, as well.

Graphic showing statistics of the human cost of the dark matter of work

Too many martech apps

As hybrid work continues, marketing departments and creative agencies rely more and more on applications to connect them. But many of these martech tools do not integrate with each other, decreasing visibility, increasing wasted time, and resulting in duplicative work. Plus, app integration is also moving at a slow pace from 2020 (45%) to now (52%).

Graphic with statistics showing the downsides of too many martech apps

Illuminating the path ahead

If left unchecked, Dark Matter will increase by 62% in the next five years. According to the survey, the projected cost of Dark Matter in 2027 looks to be:

Graphic showing the expected costs of the dark matter of work by 2027


How can you minimize these costs? A single source of truth is essential. Marketing departments need an approach that is robust enough to manage and orchestrate complex workflows and simple enough for team members to use. The organization with full visibility into these workflows and applications and the data they create at all levels will be best equipped to overcome the impacts of the Dark Matter of Work and come out on top.

Graphic with statistics showing what businesses and workers are doing to combat the dark matter of work


For more on the Dark Matter of Work, its costs, and the solutions, check out the full report here — and usher in a new age of digital collaboration. Or start a free two-week trial of Wrike today to see how our work management solution can centralize work and increase efficiency for your marketing department or creative agency!