Post Pandemic: Transcending Marketing Challenges
To what extent did marketing and marketing strategies change throughout 2020? Was this change positive or negative? Under the title “Post Pandemic: Transcending Marketing Challenges” the American University in Cairo School of Business hosted its first Online Marketing Summit on November 10.
The goal of this summit was to bring together insight and expertise of various regional and global practitioners, providing a forum for discussion of current and potential marketing challenges evoked by the pandemic and how marketers can shift these challenges to the benefit of consumers as well as the marketplace.
In his opening speech, Dean Sherif Kamel provided an interesting perspective on the pandemic, describing it as the “perfect storm” that forced us to live, work, shop, and study differently. “Ironically, digital transformation, [which] was seen as disruption, in a way saved the day [...] not totally, but to an extent”, claimed Kamel, emphasizing the spiking importance of technology post-COVID-19, and how the pandemic accelerated the adoption of new technologies and pushed people to actually change their behavior and consumption of it.
Despite having more time on their hands due to the lockdown, people were much more conscious about what they choose to spend their time on. And now, in spite of the partial uplift of lockdown measures in Egypt, they still opt for virtual conferences, online shopping, and remote work. All of these options save time, energy, and money and help them live much more efficiently, making more room for other activities during the day.
Marketing Challenges Redefined
The event featured prominent guest speakers from around the world and incorporated five sessions as well as a "hands-on experience" multidisciplinary panel discussion to answer attendees' inquiries that fit within the theme.
The speakers discussed how the above-mentioned consumer behavioral change presented a paradigm shift in the marketing industry. E-wallets and contactless payments are now much more desired, consumer safety and wellbeing has become an integral aspect of business, and the acceleration of personalized and customized marketing campaigns is as evident as ever. Needless to say, of course, the importance of social media as a marketing tool and its power in influencing buyers’ decisions is now undebatable.
With 2021 only a few weeks away, it was important to discuss all these changes, so that we take them into consideration when creating marketing strategies for the new year. But for now, we can say this: companies, regardless of their size, need to have strategies built on strong customer relationships fueled by consistent engagement and diligent customer care.
COVID-19 changed what people are buying, as well as why and how they are buying it. People saw different ways of doing conventional things; they will never go back. The new norm is here to stay. Or is it? In his closing remarks, Summit Chair and AUC Assistant Professor of Marketing Ibrahim Al Sahouly concluded the discussion with an open question worth contemplating: “Will life return to its normality after COVID-19, or will its impact live with us?”
The Summit resulted in many fruitful discussions on new marketing channels, strategies, audiences, among others. Read more about the topics discussed at the AUC School of Business Online Marketing Summit here or watch the full recorded version here.