Ready for restart thanks to marketing automation

Turning crisis into opportunity #2

This week, Juri Camagni, CMO of Andreas Messerli AG, talks about his everyday work during this challenging time.

By Juri Camagni

It’s no secret: the trade fair and event industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and has essentially been shut down since the end of February. This has forced us to scrap all our marketing plans and strategies, which were based on continued economic prosperity from the beginning of the year. If large events are prohibited by the government, there is no competition and no further cultivation of the market in general. This was essentially our initial reaction and the conclusion we reached at the start of the crisis.

Juri Camagni, CMO of Andreas Messerli AG

«How do we come back after lockdown, especially considering the fact that we have introduced short-term work and therefore have fewer resources at our disposal?»

The Marketing department faces exceptional circumstances

But what do these exceptional circumstances mean over the medium term for the marketing strategy of a company that works in a highly competitive market and needs to use effective marketing communications to differentiate itself from its competitors? How do we come back after lockdown, especially considering the fact that we have introduced short-term work and therefore have fewer resources at our disposal? What is our current position, what opportunities does this situation afford us and how can we actively leverage these opportunities? As Head of Marketing, I have spent a great deal of time considering these and other questions over the past few months, especially as it is my job to look to the future and anticipate what is to come.

Areas of focus during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Despite the fact that our industry was at a standstill and that we were essentially banned from our profession, it was clear for me from the beginning that we still needed to create a marketing and communications plan that would guide our communications throughout the various phases of the crisis. Based on our areas of activity and the current situation, we created a list of communication topics and offers. It took a certain amount of imagination and courage to predict how the crisis might develop. It was helpful to think about different scenarios and then use these to prepare and implement concrete communication measures. This «stockpile strategy» allowed us to react quickly and communicate with our target groups based on current events and client needs.

Juri Camagni, CMO of Andreas Messerli AG

«When it came to the redesign of our website, it was important that we have a flexible, modular system that we can manage and expand autonomously.»

Agile and flexible communications thanks to automated processes

We have been looking for ways to optimise our internal processes and procedures in order to communicate more quickly and efficiently for some time now. The introduction of a cloud-based marketing platform allowed us to cut down on the time and costs required for newsletter design and publication. Various templates allow us to not only generate content that complies with our corporate design guidelines based on the respective topic, but also to reuse this content for our social media channels, thus allowing us to reach even more prospective and existing clients. This increases the reach and strengthens the impact of our communications. Now, due to the greatly reduced number of working hours in our department, these advantages have been particularly useful.

Quick, independent publishing

When it came to the redesign of our website, it was important that we have a flexible, modular system that we can manage and expand autonomously. Today, we can make major changes to our website on our own, without the help of external service providers. During lockdown, this allowed us to quickly launch an expanded range of products for protective measures and our new digital activation solutions for trade fairs and events as separate landing pages. We greatly value this independence and autonomy, and feel that this aspect is vital for maintaining our competitive edge because it allows us to react extremely rapidly.

Flexible planning is key

Despite the fact that many regulations are easing, our industry has a rocky road ahead before things are truly back to normal. For this reason, we in the Marketing department have no choice but to remain flexible and adapt to the situation at hand. Thinking through various scenarios has proven to be an effective strategy and has allowed us to communicate quickly and appropriately.