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Marketing In The Age Of Covid

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As part of our new series, ‘Marketers Playbook for 2020 Post Covid-19′, Sumit Sehgal, CMO, Sheela Foam Ltd. says that for marketers subjective evaluation will be replaced by objectivity and new ROI models will link marketing spends to sales.

The marketing landscape across industries has been impacted massively due to Covid-19. The way a user consumes goods and services has seen a drastic shift. The pandemic has made people hesitant about services to avail and products to use. A new normal is being adopted by consumers and businesses globally. Meanwhile, advertisers will need to think of ways to deal with volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in 2020. Companies will have to explore innovative ways to make up for lost revenues & profits and will have to adapt themselves to the evolving scenario.

As a marketer, below are some of the areas that would need to be key in building strong strategies post Covid-19:

The first and foremost step will be realigning of strategies. The marketing team may need a relook at the optimum and innovative ways of customer acquisition and retention. It is time for traditional communication specialists to forget the old ways of measuring marketing performance and effectiveness. Analytics will reign supreme and teams will need to upskill. Digital competencies will need to get fast-tracked and each team member will have to be digitally trained. Sales and marketing will work together like never before for driving sales.

Digital will become the new normal. Over the last decade the digital medium has been accelerating at a rapid pace. It has overtaken print as a source of brand awareness and now is marginally behind TV. Digital will become the lead medium on two fronts – E-commerce and Advertising. E-commerce will take a big leap and brands would need to either accelerate the ecommerce channel or launch one. Digital will become the lead advertising medium given its measurable benefits. Print is likely to reduce further and BTL will suffer the maximum given gradual opening of the lockdown and social distancing.

Marketers will need to take a hard look at their product portfolio. Given reduced income levels, essential commodities will manage to stay afloat but discretionary products will be under stress. With the decline in the saving pool, consumers are likely to trade down. Product mix will need to get rationalised to provide higher value at the same price points. The sensitivity to health and hygiene will go up during the year and brands can leverage this current sentiment to either build health & hygiene features in their products or create new ones.

Advertising budgets will see a drastic cut and therefore marketers will need to drive more ROI. Marketers have always been under revenue pressure but are able to escape this measure in their KRAs but that won’t be possible now. It will be performance marketing across media, expected to perform religiously to assist sales growth. Short-term will be prioritised over long-term which may result in an increase in product and promotional advertising. Subjective evaluation will be replaced by objectivity and new ROI models will link marketing spends to sales. Marketing will explore cost cuts in media, incentives and product costs.

Driven by declining revenues, organisations will be forced to innovate – newer distribution models, entering new consumer segments, new geographic areas and most importantly transform the product and value proposition to capture a higher share of the depressed market. Launch of new brands will go down due to high investment; extensions will accelerate to capture more segments. In fact each function within the organisation will have to find new ways to save unnecessary expenditure and link all spends to measurable parameters.


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Sumit Sehgal

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