The COVID-19 pandemic created profound disruptions in the way people live, work, and buy. In the midst of it all, Advertisers and retailers had to adjust their media spend and advertising strategies to better meet their organizational goals. During the imposed confinement, Mass Analytics gathered the Marketing Measurements industry’s leading experts to share their thoughts on what is happening in their perspective organizations, and give us some valuable advice.

Ajay is a Business & Marketing Analytics leader with over 10 years of experience with FMCG (Supermarket) data. Working in a variety of roles ranging from Descriptive, Predictive & Prescriptive Analytics, he manages the Market Mix Modeling Program for European Business. The role puts a prime focus on quality and on-time delivery to drive fact-based decisions in the organization.

How is the recent COVID-19 outbreak impacting your day to day work life and what steps are you taking to cope with this?

Covid-19 has impacted our planning for this year drastically on mainly three main areas:

  1. Media: As you can imagine, a complete revamp of our media plans was necessary as the new reality came to life. Unfortunately, the planned campaigns and creatives would have been completely out of context due to social distancing. Over-night we had to come up with new ways to communicate with our consumers & shoppers. “Raise your bowl for Front line workers” was a campaign where Kellogg Donated 15 million food servings across European food banks. The support from our media agencies and Cross-functional teams and partners was phenomenal; it would not have been possible without them.
  2.  Promotions: Due to country lockdown, our in-store promotions, secondary displays, and various other elements that amplify the shopping experience went out of the window. We had to think of innovative ways to stay connected in these unprecedented times and drive value for our customers.
  3. Supply chain: We saw a spike in sales; it was clear from our customer/retailer demands that we had to engage resources to stay on top of the supply. Salute to our Kellogg front line workers i.e. Supply Chain who delivered for our customers and continue to do so.

In summary, a lot has changed on both business and personal fronts, working from home, juggling with kids, and busy work at the same time. Insights and Analytics play a key role in these exceptional circumstances to future-proof our business.

“The art here is to master how to balance life and how to prioritize during these times.”

Kellogg's launches #RaiseYourBowl campaign to support the NHS and key  workers

Kellogg’s launches #RaiseYourBowl campaign to support the NHS and key workers

According to you, how will the COVID-19 outbreak impact Marketing, Marketing Measurement, and Marketing Mix Modeling in particular?

From a marketing perspective, the main priority now is to focus on the message to respect government guidelines and relate to the situation of our shoppers and consumers. It is our social responsibility to give back to our community during these challenging times and refocus our campaigns towards CSR initiatives our Better Days program and supporting our community.

This is still marketing, but this is the kind of empathetic marketing, we understand we are facing a hard time, but we are all in this together, and we should do our best to support one another.

In terms of measurement, the question will be whether to continue with the same full Marketing Mix Modeling or to postpone this to cover a wider data set that will include Pre COVID-19, during & Post COVID-19? Another question is around the application of the learning from the measurement, we can certainly run a model to measure and throw in key variables to control for COVID-19 impact but when can we utilize the findings of how marketing works during a pandemic? Would we wait for the next pandemic? Hope not…

How do you think Marketing Measurement can contribute to overcome the economic consequences of this crisis?

We can measure our marketing right and you can try to overcome these situations but the most important thing at the moment is to be ready for what is next. The current reality has impacted different industries in different ways, while we are witnessing an upward trend in terms of sales in some parts of our business, we are seeing other industries crashing and the question here is how to be ready for what’s next?

In a nutshell, I believe that we have to be well-prepared for the future, we have to focus on our strategy and work with the right teams to reach the insights needed to be well-equipped for the next period and respond with the right communication which resonates with consumers.

What can we do as a community to prepare to help the industry thrive again after this crisis?

So first we have the social responsibility initiatives towards our community, I believe that in these times, it is very important to reshape our focus to give back to the community and do our best to reach those in need through creating more community-focused campaigns. Being on the right price point will be important, being available where the shoppers can shop confidently without fearing social distancing will be important also.

Secondly, we need to make sure that we can sustain a balanced supply chain to meet the demand now and be ready for the potential fluctuations of this demand in the near future.

“Thus, we have to introduce the right innovations at the right time to be able to adapt ourselves to deliver, regardless of the circumstances. “

Any advice you would like to share with the community to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak?

The human race is very strong; we learn to adapt in the most difficult circumstances. I would recommend following these key five methods that my friend Dr. Veer Pushpak Gupta at the NHS is recommending. Veer fought the virus himself and helped recover many with these five ways to reduce stress:

  1. Physical Exercise: No matter how little get something in your routine
  2. Sleep: Have a regular sleep pattern
  3. Schedule: Put a structure to your day, exercise, breaks
  4. Balanced Diet: Multivitamins, minerals, essentials, and a healthy diet
  5. Mindfulness: Reduces the stress level in our body

Look after yourself & your mental health, I can take examples of how we are using technology to stay connected. In this interview using video conferencing, my wife is doing Zumba classes online respecting social distancing are some great examples. With the help of technology, I am joining webinars, yoga sessions, quizzes, play Poker online to stay connected.

My advice is to follow the five methods above & utilize technology to keep in touch with your family and friends. I personally know this is easier said than done and with the sheer amount of change in our daily life & growing workloads for some, it can be extremely difficult. My young daughter can confirm that I need to play more with her. No matter how challenging this time may be, we must find the time.

“It has become more and more important to find the time to connect with our loved ones. “

If you are still reading, go make a call to someone you care about and tell them you miss them. I just rang my mom and dad, did you call someone you care about?