Maintaining Customer Engagement During Coronavirus
We all know that COVID-19 has had a transformative impact on content, marketing strategies, and the ways in which we work (in fact, NewsCred recently commissioned Sirkin Research to conduct a survey aimed at identifying the specific impact of the coronavirus on marketing teams).
But we wanted to speak with some of our best customers directly, in order to learn how they were leading their teams in these unprecedented times, and get a better sense of how we could help.
In this edition of “COVID-19 Q&A”, NewsCred’s CMO, Matt Malanga, sits down with Susan Campbell, Marketing Group Manager at Panasonic to discuss some of the adversities her team is experiencing around remote work, customer communication, and budgeting during these difficult times.
- What are the biggest challenges you and your team are facing as a result of the pandemic?
- Due to in-person event closures, brands are shifting their focus on digital events. Is your team experiencing an influx of work because of this?
- Is NewsCred’s Content Marketing Platform (CMP) helping you manage your digital events? And how?
- With shifting priorities, are you still continuing to use the CMP for collaboration or are you finding other ways to get all that work done?
- What have you learned about your team and your work processes as a result of COVID-19?
Q: What are the biggest challenges you and your team are facing as a result of the pandemic?
SC: Well, a couple of challenges, clearly, remote working as the first one of them that we had to tackle and figuring out how to use remote platforms so that we could have video conferencing and team meetings remotely, so we had to all get through that adjustment. But I would say the biggest challenge for us is the impact on the business, the increased need for communication. So since our sales team can’t be out selling, we need to be creating more communication for them, with their customers.
I would say our biggest challenge is the increase in the volume of work that we’ve had come our way. The fact that the team that I lead is very much focused on the digital aspects of marketing that really all fell squarely into our laps. So working on the email channels, on the web channels, social media, trying to get sanitizing and disinfecting communications messages out through all those channels. That was really our biggest challenge as we started off, and now it still remains to be just a volume of requests. We support five different business units who all have their own independent sales teams. And so everybody wants to make sure that they’re communicating with their customers. A lot of our customer base is essential workers so that just further makes things more urgent.
Q: Due to in-person event closures, brands are shifting their focus on digital events. Is your team experiencing an influx of work because of this?
SC: Yep. So while we would normally support an event from the perspective of doing email invitations and registration pages on websites and that thing, we had not historically run a lot of webinars. And so we’ve had to very quickly, working with our trade show team, evaluate a virtual platform so that we could host webinars with video content and Q&A availability and all that stuff on reliable, stable connections. So getting that up to speed and then setting up an internal process, because now everybody wants a webinar. How do you go about requesting it and allocating the resources and prioritizing each of the different topics based on the priorities of the business at that given point in time? So we’ve been working through that and we’re actually going to be launching, or hosting. I should say, our first global webinar next week.
Q: Is NewsCred’s Content Marketing Platform (CMP) helping you manage your digital events? And how?
SC: Absolutely. The fact that prior to everybody working from home, we already worked with a very geography distributed team. So we have partners in Salt Lake City, MRM McCann is our agency out there, Race Point Global is our PR agency, they’re based in Boston, my team based in Newark, New Jersey. So we already covered some territory and needed a place to collaborate. So thankfully working in the CMP, we’ve got all of our social and blog posting and everything campaigns there so we all know where to go to figure out what needs to happen and where things are in the process. So that has helped us tremendously.
Q: With shifting priorities, are you still continuing to use the CMP for collaboration or are you finding other ways to get all that work done?
SC: No…We work all of our social and blog posting is all done through the CMP and we rely on that for the ability to see across the team and even cross-teams, because I have two separate teams that use it. So if anybody’s looking to find out what the status is of a program or where we are in terms of views or analytics for something that we ran, we have that centralized information.
And that’s just the communication factor alone too. So anytime there’s something that’s posted that you need to review or approve, you get the notification, you’re not having to slog through all the email back and forth. Do I have the latest version? Has, so-and-so seen this? It’s all right there, you get the email notification, you click on it, you’re in the CMP, you see what needs to be done, you see who touched it last, you touch it, you leave your comments and you see where it’s going next. So that sort of takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process.
Q: What have you learned about your team and your work processes as a result of COVID-19?
SC: Well, I am very, very lucky, I work for a great company. Panasonic is very supportive of trying new things and innovating. And so we’ve got that going for us. But even within that, the team that I lead is so connected and we have not let the barrier from getting together, in a physical sense, keep us from being tightly knit group and a strong unified team. We have our weekly team meetings on Fridays. We use Microsoft Teams, so it’s always on video and we’re very creative. So we have a theme, we’ve had backwards day and favorite sports team day, and just keeping it light to get a little bit of that camaraderie, to keep us all motivated and connected. And I think really that feeling that you’re still connected to the team, you’re still part of the team is important.
And then we just have workgroup meetings also that… I have my web squad that’s on Tuesdays. And I have a guy in Colorado and then two guys who are located in New Jersey. And we get on just almost like a hangout, a virtual video hangout, where we just talk through some of the different issues that we’ve got, that maybe somebody solved for another product line. And we work on things across the board and then sometimes we just chit chat for a minute. So I’ve learned they’re a resilient, very creative bunch of people who I’m really looking forward to seeing again, live, but we still stay pretty close.
Interested in learning more?
Contact us to learn how global brands, like Panasonic, maintains customer engagement during difficult times.