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Webinar Follow-Up

Plan B: How Are Marketing And Communication Changing In Times Of Coronacrisis?

Irina Obushtarova [Upper left], Georgi Malchev [Upper right], Bernhard Holzer [Bottom left], Hristo Hristov [Bottom right]

During these uncertain times, what should be your top communication priorities and goal? Should you freeze your planned campaigns or make use of the growing demand for digital products and services? Can you really do anything to reduce customer churn? What are the rules for effective brand positioning in the middle of everything that’s happening around? 

Last Wednesday, Trending Topics SEE premiered its webinar series with ‘Plan B’: a discussion on how the marketing landscape has changed since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. We had an insightful talk with three well-known professionals from the advertising, communication, and media world  – Georgi Malchev, Hristo Hristov, and Bernhard Holzer.

“Maybe we can observe how this crisis is affecting consumer behavior because this will inevitably affect how we also do marketing. Can we already identify new opportunities?”, said Irina Obushtarova, Managing Director at Trending Topics and moderator of the webinar, to kick-start the conversation.

Right now everything about audiences is a bigger assumption than ever

As explained by Malchev during his presentation, there are currently three broad market segments: customers who have challenges of lifestyle and perspective nature – for instance, those whose biggest problem at the moment is finding a private space to work from home; customers who are anxious about serious life changes – people who are wondering about the security of their job or the survival of their business; and customers who need to secure the basics. 

Businesses need to think in which group do their customers fall and how can they reframe their value proposition to fit the mindset of the corresponding group. Nonetheless, “everything about audiences right now is an assumption. More and more of our clients are open to testing and looking for the data,” added Malchev.

The sectors that are doing well

“If you go back to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, of course, right now, a big part of the demand goes to the sectors that are at the bottom of the pyramid, the most basic things we need to survive. Another segment that I find super interesting and comes as an opportunity today is telehealth. So far it has been super niche but now people want to postpone every regular visit to the doctor or the hospital because they are afraid of getting sick,” noted Hristov.

“Also, when we are at our houses and don’t have social and cultural events, we still need to be entertained. So, eSports and almost everything related to gaming is experiencing a very big spike as well,” Hristov continued.

The campaigns that are doing well

What works from Malchev’s perspective: 

  • Convey security
  • Community support 
  • Framing the product within what’s currently happening
  • Product combos/ bundles
  • Co-promotion:  two complementary brands, one campaign

Find your twist

“Given that all the news is now about the corona, I see an opportunity for startups to find a twist and easily attract media attention. For example, Klarna made a survey about how online shopping has changed – it’s a neutral topic but media outlets really liked it,” said Bernhard Holzer.

To run ads or not to run?

“Don’t cut on search advertising as it is high-intent – people who are looking to buy still need to find you. And, don’t cut on social media – people are spending lots of time there and you can engage with them,” replied Malchev.

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