At Econsultancy we’ve been talking to marketers and digital professionals about how they are adapting in the coronavirus crisis.
Today it’s the turn of Chloe Pascal, Senior Marketing Manager UK, Ireland & International at retail personalisation solution Nosto. She spoke to us about how her company is keeping morale up during the pandemic, the trends she’s witnessed from inside the ecommerce sector, and which brands have impressed her since the outbreak.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m a senior marketing manager at Nosto, a personalisation solution for online retailers. My role is focused on the UK and APAC regions, where I run initiatives across various marketing channels aimed at driving qualified leads as well as supporting brand awareness.
How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?
The whole of the company adopted a work from home policy in all regions since early March so I’m working from my London flat. This has been a fairly easy transition since – like many tech companies – we have always had the flexibility to work remotely.
We have a shared team to-do list for the day which we post every morning in a shared slack channel. This helps to keep us accountable and motivated. I also have a daily 30-minute video catch-up with my team, in which we can all say ‘hi’ and go through anything we need help on. It also means we can make sure everyone is feeling good – looking after people’s mental health has been made a priority at Nosto especially as we have a young team with many people living alone.
Like most people who are working from home, the number of conference calls I have to sit in on every day has increased dramatically. Sometimes it’s hard to get actual work done with so many meetings – so I’m trying to create the right balance of meetings and space in the day to work.
It’s important to schedule a bit of fun into things right now. So, to keep everyone’s spirits up we arrange a virtual team quiz every Friday afternoon before signing off for the weekend.
Aside from work, I have put together a daily routine which includes meditation and journal writing before I log on in the morning which I never really had the chance to do before. I’m working out during my lunch break from my living room which was odd at first but is now essential to help me keep sane with all the madness and concerning headlines.
What are your favourite tools and techniques to help you get your work done at the moment?
I use Asana as a project management tool, and I’m on Google Hangout and Slack for my calls and communications with colleagues – and the company’s tech partners who we have private channels with.
Which companies have impressed you since the outbreak?
One of the brands I’m impressed by is Gymshark which sells gym and workout clothing online. It just seems like they want to help and are not just trying to sell products. Their concern is making sure people are ok and have the support they need.
Their marketing emails have been really relevant. As well as focusing on ideas for workouts, they discuss issues such as mental health, recipes, and putting routines in place. The types of content that can really help people who are in lockdown.
They’re running a ‘Sweaty Selfie’ campaign in which the brand makes a donation to the NHS for every post-workout selfie that people post using the #NHSSweatySelfie hashtag. Which is a fun and relevant way to raise money.
They are also posting free workouts online and are asking people what types of workouts they want. All the workouts are led by personal trainers, which is obviously great exposure for PTs who are currently out of work.
What changes are you making to help your brand connect with how people are feeling and experiencing the pandemic?
First, of course, we’re very aware that for many people this is a tough time both in their work and personal lives. So, we are cautious that while we want to carry on as normal, for some of our customers and partners this may not be a time when they want to engage with us. That’s fine. And we have even included a statement highlighting this in our email signatures.
Our focus is on supporting customers and partners and to help the ecommerce community get through this challenging time any small way we can. So, we’re gathering and sharing data from our platform about how ecommerce is performing. We’re also sharing best practice advice and ideas for ecommerce on our blog.
To lighten things up we have organised a virtual pub quiz series – hosted by Nosto or one of its partners – that tries to bring together employees from a variety of ecommerce sector companies every Thursday evening of the lockdown period. Participants include people that work for customers and a variety of other ecommerce tech companies. The idea is to socialise, connect with each other and have some downtime as a community.
What trends have you seen in the last few weeks in your sector?
Obviously, some sectors in ecommerce are thriving, while others are struggling. We’ve been tracking the fashion vertical globally and our data shows that the sector took a big hit with online sales revenue down by nearly a third in late March – a little after the pandemic hit.
But the data shows that performance has recovered in April with sales revenue bouncing back to levels higher than a year ago. It’s unclear how much of this is because retailers are heavily discounting their products in order to keep sales coming in so it’s an area we’ll keep tracking.
Aside from that, it’s interesting to see how the ecommerce community in general is pulling together during the crisis. For example, Slack has joined forces with Australian cosmetics brand Adore Beauty to facilitate an “ecommerce war room” where hundreds of ecommerce brands have come together to share insights and discuss challenges during the outbreak. And Shopware, a German ecommerce platform, has banded together with ecommerce companies to create a LinkedIn support group for sharing helpful information.
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
It’s a tough time, so respect people who may want a break from being emailed or sold to right now. Be empathetic and human. Offer support and help to your customers and prospects without expecting anything in return.
Don’t panic and try to do too much to overcompensate for lack of activity right now. For example, don’t run as many webinars as possible to fight back at the lack of events. Less is more – rather than quantity of activity, try to focus on quality. Doing things that are different and stand out and connect with where everyone is right now is going to be more effective.
What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your brand?
Over the long term there is going to be continuing demand for tools that monitor, improve and optimise the online experience, so longer-term strategy around our technology and how we market it remains fairly clear for us.
However, right now, the ecommerce sector, which is where we are focused, has obviously been disrupted – with some sectors busier than ever and others going through a rough time. At the moment, who knows how things will change and develop day by day? So currently, in many aspects of my own planning I won’t look further than three to six months ahead. Obviously, we need to remain flexible in order to jump on opportunities and react to challenges.