Dealing with Digital Marketing during Covid-19…with Nadya Birca

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The last few months have been tough for many marketers across a variety of sectors.

 

During such uncertain times, as a community, it’s about coming together to share, learn and help each other through to the other side.

 

I recently sat down with Nadya Birca, Head of Digital Acquisition at Wex Photo Video to find out how she’s been dealing with Digital Marketing during the pandemic.

Here’s how it went down:

 

Alex: Thanks for joining me today, Nadya. Can you give us a quick overview of your Digital Marketing career?

Nadya: I’ve been fortunate to start my career in PR working for a global leader in mobile communications around 15 years ago. It helped understand the offline framework of how to drive footfall before I’d switch to driving traffic online. I’ve since worked both agency, and client-side running performance marketing for some of UK’s largest brands such as Net-a-porter, Urban Outfitters, New Look Fashion, Argos, TalkTalk and now Wex Photo Video, the largest provider of photographic & videographic equipment in the UK & Ireland. I’ve also fine-tuned my operational skills not so long ago when working for a few start-ups. That’s always a great motivator and ‘refresher’ – highly recommend to anyone working in digital to at least sometimes turn to start-ups and fine-tune their skills in an ‘unpolished’ environment. 

 

Alex: The big question. How has Covid-19 impacted your Digital Marketing plans?

Nadya: All of our stores have been closed. This had a significant impact on YoY revenue however online traffic (as most would confirm in other verticals) hasn’t suffered to the extent we thought it would. We’ve seen YoY eCommerce growth in new customer acquisitions. However, due to a highly competitive landscape, the costs of acquiring new customers hasn’t gone down. This, in turn, has prompted us to find various ways of attracting customers. As an example, we’ve been closely monitoring product trends and found a surge in demand for such products which pre-Covid were seen rather as birthday gifts as opposed to must-haves: ie. astronomy and optics categories have gone up, likewise printers and monitors – all making perfect sense when in lockdown. Marketing, as a result, has worked closely with merchandising teams looking into meeting supply with demand as best we could. No one could have predicted such a turn of events & customer behaviours – hence agility becomes a key ingredient in our acquisition mix.

Alex:  What have been the most significant opportunities and threats so far?

Nadya: Opportunities – monitoring customer behaviours, auction insights and impression shares to help customize and fine-tune the demand, while among threats I’d count – the lack of stability, shifting demand towards products we might not have an immediate supply for, working out most suitable cost-efficiency recipes to acquire new customers, the need to continuously innovate through messaging and offering. Video production in this mix became core: i.e. as one of the largest photography trainers in the UK, we had to move our offline workshops to a new format – online webinars. Given the lockdown and many of the employees being made redundant nation-wide, we’ve started to supply online courses for free. This, in turn, opened up our doors to more enthusiasts and those wishing to trial a new set of skills. It’s been a thoughtful gift for many, so the number of pleased customers grew organically.

 

Alex: What longer-term impact do you envisage Covid-19 having on your marketing and marketing in general?

Nadya: Listening is a huge opportunity moving forward: being closer to your customers: i.e. receiving signals from all available/relevant touch-points: product reviews, customer calls, Facebook post comments – whatever brings in organic, unpolished point of view from a customer who’s interacted in any form with your business. Meanwhile having a laser-focus on the product to best meet the demand would help close ‘the loop’ or else turn traditional eCommerce into a what I call 2-way street ‘conversational e-commerce’. That’s one of the reasons why many are calling out these days the value of authenticity, the same reason why testimonial ads sell better than product-only ads etc. Customers need an extra reason to shop with you: aka. The product you’re selling others might sell too, so why stop at your shop door? The answer is added value. Give them proof that you CARE.

 

Alex: Lastly, how have you found working and managing teams remotely?

Nadya: Refreshing, that’s for sure. I’ve never been a big fan of conference calls. I’ve always thought of myself more of a face-to-face person, enjoying meeting and interacting with people: feels real, puts all participants into context. Whereas these days we’ve all had to adjust and learn new routines, behaviours. I started to enjoy conference calling as it added an element of ‘normality’ into the mix. Here the core is consistency. It gives a boost to productivity. Regular check-ins, calls, monitoring tasks and brainstorms are all bonding. What’s lacking is the ‘polishing’ element. That’s the missing bit: you see, women in lockdown aren’t expected to wear high-hills to a conference call however having kids around sometimes ‘unapologetically’ joining these (as quietly as possible) becomes fully acceptable, and that’s as much a joy & a challenge – interacting with your team remotely while still keeping your mummy-hat on. We just tend to become multi-functional these days. That’s another productivity booster.

 

Thanks again to Nadya for taking time out of her busy schedule to talk with me.

 

If you enjoyed this insight, why not watch a video interview I had recently with a Global Performance Marketing Director from within the HealthTech space to see how she’s been dealing with Digital Marketing during Covid-19.

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