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In our latest interview series, we’re sitting down with some of our specialists, for a quick Q&A on business updates and to review new developments in the marketing industry. This month we caught up with DQ&A’s Managing Director NACE, Pieter Slingerland to find out how Covid-19 has impacted the advertising industry, and what brands can do to better prepare.

1) How has Covid-19 impacted your business experience?

Honestly, I was quite overwhelmed. We were only halfway through March when the gravity of Covid-19 became apparent and businesses worldwide began to experience the ramifications. It was when the global lockdown was announced that I thought ‘OK, we need to assess this situation and consider the implications it might have’ – what the economic impact would be, and what it would mean for us.

We expected our clients to experience a decline in both their online media spends and existing workload. This was particularly true of our travel clients who, over the past six months have seen colossal disruption to their industry and their businesses as a direct result of the lockdown.

Alongside supporting our clients, it was incredibly important for us to implement a support system for our team. Naturally, the lockdown meant that our teams were all working remotely, so it was important to us that all of our staff felt continually supported and valued throughout this time. Thankfully, we had already become accustomed to working remotely; and for this I will always be grateful.

We’ve encouraged our team in consistent communication – both work-related and not – which has helped to connect us despite the distance. Company-wide social events have also played a big role in raising staff morale and well-being. Regardless of the challenges, our overall experience has been positive, and I am beyond grateful to my team for their continued support and effort.

2) Do you think the online advertising landscape has changed and if so how?

Yes, absolutely; and this is evident even on a societal level. Lockdown has had a drastic impact on our lifestyles and the ways we work. People have had to come together like never before to overcome new challenges, such as working from home and geographical differences.

From a business perspective, we’re talking about a colossal shift in consumer behaviour. When brands are concerned with reaching the right consumer at the right time, it’s become increasingly difficult to do that as consumer behaviour has shifted so significantly.

In terms of what we can expect to see in the future, DQ&A predicts a significant increase in the use of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence across the advertising industry.  Brands will take ownership of their data to improve internal insights and prepare the company for the inevitable influx of ML technologies.

3) How should brands modify their online marketing strategy to fit the current situation?

Primarily, through enhancing and maximising their user experience. No one is going out, therefore customer interactions are limited to digital platforms. Brands need to optimise their content and focus on strengthening their communication and user experience structures. Having a solid online presence is more important now than ever before.

Brands must also appreciate and prepare for the surge of competition that is likely to surface throughout the industry, over the coming months. In a saturated market, brands must ensure that their online activities are consistently watertight and focus on audience expansion.

Future marketing strategies should include an equal balance of creative input, technological solutions and valuable content to target specific audiences with the right message. Particular focus should be placed on homepage content and consumer sale journeys – some companies are prepared for these changes whereas others will have to considerably alter their original structures to support future endeavours.

DQ&A will continue to support our clients through GMP training and enabling data ownership, implementing a more holistic approach within our brand strategy. In turn, this will allow our clients to develop personalised creative solutions and prepare them for the imminent trend in ML.

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