This, never in our time seen situation, challenged marketing professionals in various ways. While some stayed on the communications level of the marketing mix, others went deeper making adjustments to the way their services and products are delivered.

Even the biggest brands employed their expensive symbols to promote social distancing. The publicity gained was probably worth the sacrifice. There are others who think the “covidisation” of marketing is a good move because the situation is a good “emotional setting” for the acceptance and use of brands. I’m not really a fan of that approach.

Now, I’m not saying that we, marketing people should stop working, nor that sales should stop because the “time of corona” is upon us. On the contrary, marketing initiatives which simultaneously help consumers and businesses really impress me.
We have a lesson to lear from those who did not concern themselves exclusively with the communicational aspects of COVID-19.

An excellent initiative from the region is the partnership between Podravka and  Hrvatske Pošta. Podravka assembled packages of the most purchased consumer goods and offered home delivery via the post. Consumers were all too happy to make use of the service. Some changes certainly had to be made on the packaging line, but everyone is doing well, and business hasn’t ground to a halt.

Another one to mention is the initiative by Uber Eats. This company has slightly tweaked its software to get restaurant owners their money faster, at a point in time where the hospitality business has slowed down significantly. Besides, Uber Eats open the door of their platform to new partners.  Large numbers of coupons handed out enable consumers to try food from places they have not used before. Once again – a fast marketing tactic that makes sense in the long run, as partnerships born of hard times tend to endure.Uber Eats understood that they have to help other businesses in order to grow in the future. What would they deliver, if retarurants do not make it thorugh the crisis?

P…S… fashion of Čačak is sewing protective masks, as is the Spanish fashion industry, and even donating them.

I believe that now is the time for marketing folk to shine, to work harder than ever before, because after this “new abnormal”, the “new normal” will be waiting for us and we will have to be ready for it with multiple marketing scenarios.

As well as keeping up to date with the moves of marketing pros, I have also been paying attention to the social media posts coming from the representatives of industries I take interest in. As expected, many messages with many thanks to employees, pictures in masks and gloves, and then a message like this: we reccomend senior citizens take precautions by using of e-banking, m-banking and contactless payments; ATMs as well?

It’s just a shame that when you go to that superdigitalised banks superdigitalised ATM, some algorithm failed to let “HQ” know that it’s empty. So you’ll have to take a hike to get to your cash, since as you know, an elderly person has to have a little something to give that young neighbour who’s doing their shopping for them. So much for for the bank taking care of your health.

Another bank – as opposed to the aforementioned Uber Eats – didn’t manage to tweak their software, so when you go to check your balance on their ATM, they ask you for 15 dinars. Doing the same in the bank’s office is free. Hello?

What I’m getting at is that clumsy communication can just be ignored if the rest of the marketing mix (like the product/service) works. I’m sure that most of these organisations are doing a lot of good and clever things, so I reserve my comment for the abovementioned cases.

I like Mark Ritsons article in Marketing Weekly (that was pointed to me by my friend  Patrick Collister. Mark writes  that one could make a strong agrument that the best Covid communication in the next trecherous five months is not to Covid communicate at all. Take care of your bussines and your brand and try to make difference on the market.

Take that plane from China for example, the one full of all those masks and other medical equipment. Someone got all that equipment together in COVID ravaged China, got all the papers in order, put it on the plane, then sent it to Belgrade. Then they did all the admin, distributed and then delivered all the goods to the paces they needed to be.

Hard-earned international quality certificates enable them to do what they do best. Even in the age of Corona”. In Europe. In the World. Just imagine, that same crew made corridors through Europe, and enabled the passage of lorries bringing goods to Serbia – from food to medicines.

Since there isn’t a border in Europe without one of their lorries, they have accurate real time reports from border crossings, which they share without getting caught up in the fluffy comms. Focus on business, on those other elements of the marketing mix –  works. Kwowledge works!

Its no secret, Milšped is our agency’s client, as the above mentioned brands ar not, so don’t thing I’m pulling some PR stunt.  I’m sure there are other, smaller businesses using their knowledge, experience, references, and credibility to make a difference and sustain their businesses.

Numerous factors affecting business performance have been deeply disrupted.
Marketing has already been hit hard enough by the cutting of supply chains which directly influence costs, followed by the global restrictions on movement, shortage of labour; not to mention reduced consumption in many industries.

I believe that in a situation like this, there is no need to further “Covidise” communication adding to your product and services Covid-relevant attributes.

The period ahead of us is a demanding one.  As businesses, we can concentrate on emphatic content for a bit longer because it helps us and others to feel better. That is nice of brands, as it is nice to show solidarity.

However, it’s time to shift the focus back to the name of the game – to business ideas, to otherelements of marketing mix, in order to recover and hopefully achieve profitable market presence. Or, for many, just maintaing the presence.

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