In uncertain times, it is more important than ever to share experience, insights and advice with your peers so we can all learn from one another. With this in mind, we are having conversations with members across various sectors to understand how themselves and their teams have been coping with the COVID-19 pandemic, what they have learned from it and how they continue helping their customers.
For this week’s instalment in the series we’ve chatted to Rob Pryce, Chief Revenue Officer at Xtremepush.
MII: Hi Rob, can you tell us about how have you been adapting your marketing activities during the COVID-19 outbreak?
Early on, we looked at our budget spend in detail, adopting a more ROI focused approach to all marketing pillars. There was so much uncertainty, especially in those initial few weeks, back in March and April, ensuring medium to long-term focus was key.
And then it was a case of looking at how our client verticals were being impacted and reflecting this in our strategy. Working across 6 core verticals, we leaned more into opportunities in eCommerce, banking and media and defocused hospitality and travel. Initially sports betting stopped completely, but this accelerated quite a bit once live sports came back.
One of the core strands of our marketing strategy is events. We very quickly embraced digital events, working closely with organisers to ensure we were getting as much value as possible from our sponsorship commitments.
We also embraced webinars, and within six weeks we were delivering three webinars per month, focusing on core challenges and opportunities within each of our pillar verticals. As industry experts within each vertical, attendance was extremely high averaging 150+. They have allowed us to not only engage with a new audience, but also enhance our relationship with existing customers who attended in large numbers. Over the course of the year, we have built up a library of resources that have long-term value.
How have you been engaging with your team?
We are a global team and, as such, have managed somewhat virtually for the past few years. As a business, we have been using Slack and Google Hangouts for several years, and they have proven to be invaluable tools. We also ran daily stand ups initially and moved to stand-ups every second day, where we can align on priorities, identify blockers, and generally just catch-up.
And it is not just work-related conversations either. We are fortunate to have a wonderful group of people working at Xtremepush, and the personal, social interactions throughout the day are important. We run weekly health and wellness sessions which have been very well received and a daily virtual coffee for non work related catch ups.
What have you learned from a marketing perspective from COVID – 19?
I think very often teams put huge amounts of time and effort into strategising and analysing new ideas for campaigns or tactics. And, of course, that is important. But this year has proven that sometimes timing and speed of execution are critical. You just need to launch and iterate as you go.
Our webinars are an example of this. It is something we had on the radar for a while, and we had talked about the structure it would take, and the topics we would discuss. In the end, all of that became much clearer once we started producing them. We have discovered the right formula for our brand and our audience.
Also, it is important to celebrate wins internally with the teams. This year our marketing team drove key outcomes for the business such as leading challenger within the Gartner Magic quadrant, 2 short listings for global SBC awards and another inclusion in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50.
How have your work practices changed? What will you do differently going forward?
The biggest change, naturally, is remote working. I think there were members of the team who were sceptical about it initially. Would we be able to maintain the same output, how would it affect the overall culture?
I have to say all those fears were quickly dispelled. The level of productivity shown by the entire organisation, not just the marketing and sales functions, has been incredible. People are enjoying being able to spend more time with their families, with less time stuck in traffic on the commute. It has been a refreshing change and we’ve seen it reflected in the quality, output and consistency of the work being produced.
As all of us gear up for a return to the office at some point in 2021, we will implement a blended office/home balance.
Has your brand purpose been challenged by COVID 19? How?
Our brand purpose has not changed, but I would say it has been crystallised. The pandemic has accelerated the trends we have seen in digital adoption and reinforced the importance of constant and relevant personalised engagement with your customers. More and more purchases are being made online, our banking is now exclusively done on websites and mobile apps, and so on.
So, our mission to help brands better understand and engage with their online users is more important than ever.