The second CEO panel for Siinda Localcomm Virtual presented a quite optimistic view of the future for digital agencies.
- Cathal Dempsey, Managing Director FCR Media, Ireland
- Lubos Cipera, CEO MEDIATEL, Czech Republic
- Geir Egedius, COO 1881.no
- Kristiina Tukk, Managing Partner Nobel Digital
Despite the geographic and cultural diversity on the panel, the actions taken by the 4 companies were strikingly similar with variations in emphasis rather than focus.
All the panelists agreed that decisive action was one of the most important decisions they could take. All the companies arranged for their employees to work from home even before the government-mandated the change.
Kristiina Tukk, Managing Partner, Nobel Digital, explained how this enforced changed allowed her management team to make changes they expected to make 12-18 months in the future. Utilizing government supports and reducing salaries for management and non-management, the organization was able to pivot and put many of its salespeople into project management positions on a fixed salary. This change is more about customer retention than new customer acquisition.
Watch the panel here
Customer retention was also a major concern for Cathal Dempsey, Managing Director at FCR Media, Ireland where its new business sales teams were furloughed and the company began a program of reaching out to customers to help them through the crisis. Interestingly, most customers only wanted to suspend their performance products (e.g. Google Ads) and not suspend payments on presence or website products because it was clear to them that business was moving online rather than foot traffic.
Norway’s fear of decreasing cash flow never materialized according to Geir Egedius, COO of 1881.no. In fact, the demand for advertising on the popular IYP increased significantly.
In Czech Republic is was a different story as many large customers wanted to restructure their programs. However, there was a clear understanding that reputation/presence solution was going to be important to inform consumers of the open/closed status of businesses.
This idea of “answers” for consumers via reputation management is also in Ireland as they work on the “FAQ” or “ Answers” for websites and GMB and in Norway where the IYP already had good, deep data on businesses.
There is an obvious increase in demand for eCommerce solutions across all countries but perhaps the important strand coming out of the crisis is the willingness and openness of businesses to listen and engage. Ireland’s use of webinars and all countries’ use of video conferencing has opened up the dialogue to educating and on-boarding customers.
For all our panelists, it has never been more important to be a trusted advisor to SMEs than now.