Alexander Storozhuk, Internet entrepreneur, founder of the PRNEWS.IO online service
The expiring year seems too unpredictable to sum up any results. That is why business
representatives more and more prefer to get off with the phrase 'It's not about thriving, it is about surviving’ out of public view.
There is some truth in it. According to various studies, the spring of 2020 is called the most
difficult period for small businesses since the financial crisis of 2008 in the CIS countries. But
from all appearances, the coming winter with quarantine waves, partial or full lockdowns will be another test for both small businesses and middle- and large-sized enterprises.
It was the hardest year for such industries as tourism, catering and entertainment. IT and e-
commerce areas suffered less and adapted faster than others to the new conditions. In
particular, a transition to online and the automation of most business processes became
common practice for sustainable development this year.
But it was not only this that helped businesses survive. PRNEWS.IO surveyed customers and partners of the online service; the survey results were used to rank the most efficient promotion tools, advertising and PR in 2020.
Thus, according to the studies, in which more than 25 Ukrainian companies from different
industries took part, the category of the less popular advertising tools included:
● outdoor advertising (billboards, wall advertisement, posters, banners, etc.);
● offline advertising (radio, television, print media, transport advertising, handing out
leaflets, cold calls, etc.);
● targeted advertising on social media.
The outdoor advertising, the efficiency of which experts questioned even before the pandemic, took a beating the most. Under the quarantine restrictions and a decrease in the number of people traveling by public transport or walking around the city, the number of contacts with advertising media decreased several times. As a result, more and more advertising items are idle or dismantled today. And there is no telling that they will be able to regain their lost ground when the Covid-19 consequences come to naught.
The same fate shared the distribution of printing (during the current year, we learned how to
avoid unnecessary touches), posters in subways, advertising units in print media, etc.
Targeted advertising on social networks unexpectedly joined the top three advertising outsiders. Despite the fact that the lockdown led to a sharp increase in the Internet audience making room for fans of traditional TV, CRM and the level of competition decreased. PRNEWS.IO respondents classify it as one of the least efficient tools in 2020.
In particular, it can be explained by the fact that today, such advertising is relevant, first of all,
for delivery services, online grocery stores, household appliances, essential goods, and online training. It is definitely not suitable for businesses with a non-mass coverage (for example, software developers) and markets that were affected by the pandemic.
Also, according to internet marketers, social media lost its value for lead generation this year. During the lockdown, Facebook and Instagram became some main sources of positive
emotions for Internet users. Therefore, in search of emotional posts and impressions, people
are less and less likely to focus on well-targeted, selling content. Today, social media rouse the audience and announce new products, but do not make purchase requests. Take this factor into account when drawing up a strategy.
In 2020, the most efficient tools for sales promotion are:
● integrated marketing;
● situational marketing;
● content marketing;
● collaboration, affiliate marketing;
● contextual advertising;
● participation in specialized online events (webinars, conferences, digital summits).
As a separate item, the respondents emphasize the distribution of press releases about news and new products of the company, as well as the posting of expert articles on topics that are relevant during the quarantine. Thus, the posting of high-quality materials for business in the industry and major media simultaneously solves a number of important tasks: attracting extra customers, SEO, increasing the level of brand confidence.
To accurately determine the customer pain points and provide a sufficient number of transitions to corporate sites, companies review what issues in a particular business market the customers are interested in. Further to the study, the companies prepare and post articles, in particular, about what benefits and loans the state provides for business development, the specifics of economic and tax activity during the lockdown, etc.
It is noteworthy that it is the content marketing that became a multi-purpose tool both for e-
commerce companies, software developers, etc. and for businesses that suffered the most
during the quarantine restrictions.
First of all, it enabled to develop a customer base and increase the number of orders. Second, despite the minimal activity of the entertainment, catering, travel and beauty industries, it enabled to continue the conversation with the customers and draw attention to the companies until better days or quarantine relaxation.
Despite all the challenges and introductions that 2020 was rich in, customer expectations and requirements did not change. According to the PRNEWS.IO survey, today they primarily
● product/service quality, price, promptness;
● high-quality content, answers to relevant questions;
● friendly customer care, willingness to discussions;
● care, personalized service;
● high-quality maintenance support and customer care.
During the economic instability, a customer always takes particular care over minimizing his
costs and measures the effectiveness of money spent on advertising and promotion. That is
why, he will prefer to cooperate with the companies that not only conform to the above-
mentioned requirements but also have a transparent, understandable pricing policy.
It is noteworthy that during the lockdown, any attempts by the company to gain immediate
profits, even through outright price gouging, are accepted negatively. Also, the unwillingness of the company to be flexible in the new conditions (especially regarding improving the customer care) causes rejection of the intending purchaser that leads to the fact that he refuses to purchase and black-lists the company.
Remember: today, a customer chooses the company where he will be comfortable parting with money. This is the main trend of interaction with customers.