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Message from regional marketing leaders: Time to be seen

Message from regional marketing leaders: Time to be seen

Senior regional marketers from across various industries reveal why and how brands must communicate in the current situation

With the world bracing for a recession, many organisations and brands are slashing costs across the board. However, despite the tough situation, it is very important for companies to continue investing in communicating their message to consumers and clients.

Sweta Kanoria
Regional manager – Digital Marketing, Huawei Enterprise Business, Middle East
Our customers are looking for ways in which technology can help them find solutions to some of the challenges they may be facing today, be it in terms of connectivity or remote collaboration. Hence, continued investment in marketing is key for us, especially in the current situation, so that we can continue to engage with our customers and the wider ecosystem, even though virtually. We are now investing more on social and digital channels, such as webinars, to share knowledge and information with the ICT community online.

Sharad VK
Director of Marketing, Century Financial
It is natural for businesses to cut back on marketing spends during an economic downturn. But historically, if you look at all the past economic crisis situations, companies that were most visible have recovered the fastest. We at Century Financial believe that it is important to maintain the marketing budget, subject to driving higher ROI during such unprecedented times. Hence, while the share of our advertising budget devoted to traditional media has shrunk, the share of more-measurable marketing channels has increased. These include email and digital lead generation campaigns supported by well-planned content marketing that is relevant to the current context.

Clare Holburn-Archer
Chief marketing officer, Cafu
Covid-19 has caused a shift in consumer priorities as well as impacted the entire marketing landscape. While it is natural for companies to cut back on marketing spends, it is also important to stay present and – if possible – build brand awareness and affiliation. While relevance is important, brands also need to keep consumers informed and engaged while also showing empathy, care, and authenticity during this time. Businesses must reassure their customers that they are there for them and that their technology will make lockdown easier – Cafu, for instance, launched its contactless fuel delivery service to allow people to order fuel at their homes.

Sandra Skairjeh
Head of Marketing, Emerging Markets, Micro Focus
Focussing on digital marketing is inevitable in the current scenario and content that cuts through the noise will be critical. Businesses will need to strategise around digital tools and platforms, such as webinars, virtual events, social media, syndicated content, tech cartoons and augmented reality. However, we must resist overloading customers with content by being succinct and relevant in conveying a value proposition. In the technology industry, our customers are particularly receptive to solutions that are ‘keeping the lights on’ – such as cloud solutions for remote working, business continuity, testing, and security for applications and data

Ajit Johnson
Head, Strategic Business – Marketing, Lulu Financial Group
Selling when few are buying can be a challenge. However, the best organisations understand that they need to place trust in the value delivered by their product, whatever be the situation. We identified an urgent need among customers for mobile-first solutions and accordingly increased our marketing efforts in recent weeks to build brand loyalty by promoting our mobile remittance application, Lulu Money. We opted for traditional and digital marketing channels and the results have been extremely positive. Our experience shows that this layover time provides scope for organisations to assess their customers’ needs better and realign marketing strategies accordingly

Claire Roper-Browning
Head of Marketing and Student Recruitment, Heriot-Watt University Dubai
During unprecedented times such as these, while it’s natural to attempt to contain costs, it is critical that marketers nimbly adjust strategies in response to changes in demand. One must always remember that loyal customers are at the heart of everything we do and therefore investing in marketing is essential in reaching out to them. This is also the time to build and maintain a strong brand to reduce business risk and stay resilient, and continued investment in marketing and engaged activities is one of the best ways to achieve that.

Rashmikant Dhanrajellu
Senior manager – Marketing, Danube Home
A business’s lifeline is its relationship with the customers. But that relationship has never been as significant and critical as it is today. It is important for brands to send out unambiguous messages of reassurance and support. As a marketer, you have to walk a fine line between information and irritation. You cannot afford to look exploitative and end up upsetting your customers – especially when there is a crisis going on. You should experiment with new ways of reaching out to customers but remain careful, helpful and creative in your messaging.

Mai Huang
Chief marketing officer, OPPO MEA
Marketing is always at the forefront of interacting with customers. The impact of the Covid-19 epidemic is inevitable as consumers hold a cautious attitude towards consumption in general. Despite the changing dynamics, we believe in the power of sincerity and in engaging with people in a way that genuinely connects and even moves them. We will continue to invest in content that is targeted and authentic.

Afreen Aslam
Director – Marketing, MEA, Julius Baer
The Middle East, especially the UAE, is one of Julius Baer’s core growth markets and we believe it is important to continue investing in our brand in the region. While we have adapted our marketing strategies to enable real-time response to the crisis, it is essential for us to plan for our longer-term growth. Our top priority is to remain closer to our clients by providing them with information on how to keep the current news in perspective and we see an opportunity to deliver quality content via various marketing channels. We also continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that we support each other in these trying times

Sarah Bentley
Managing director, Flume Marketing
It is crucial that marketing efforts continue in order to keep the entire region’s cogs turning. We recognise that we need to be smarter, think long term and consider the best way to reach our client’s audience now that they are mostly working from home. Now is the time to raise awareness in the region through integrated digitalised ABM (account-based marketing) campaigns and lead nurturing to build a healthy pipeline to get through this period and hit the ground running once normal business resumes.

Abhilasha Sharma
Marketing lead, Casa Milano
The world is facing a pandemic as well as an economic downturn. People are concentrating more on their health, rather than spending money. In this scenario, marketing doesn’t have to be direct – we should relate our brand with the current global pandemic scenario while keeping the right message. As Henry Ford said, a man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.

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