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8 Digital Strategy Updates That Brands Should Make Right Now

Apr 30, 2020, Sara Bliss
Young woman pushing maroon portal on white sand dunes at desert
… [+]GETTY

With business moving online overnight, retail locations shuttered, and entire industries on pause due to COVID-19, many companies have had to quickly pivot their marketing and social media in order to move forward, stay in business, and be relevant in a new world. Brands and small businesses that have tried to stay the course without acknowledging the different landscape, are often branded as tone deaf or out of touch by frustrated consumers.

So what do you say to your clients and buyers when the world has radically changed? I spoke to 5 entrepreneurs and business owners large and small in real estate, wellness, furniture, beauty, and fashion. They shared how they’ve updated their businesses, changed their marketing strategies, and reinvented their social feeds to reflect the current moment. Here are eight things you can do right now to refresh your own brand.

Create community

What resonated with buyers a few months ago, may hold little interest now. Entrepreneur Bobbi Brown who founded her wellness brand Evolution_18 and lifestyle website justBobbi after leaving her eponymous makeup line in 2017, believes that brands should focus on building an interactive community. “People are looking for a connection. People are looking for answers and certainly things they can do themselves. I do think it’s an opportunity for all brands to be able to really listen to what people are feeling and what they really want,” says Brown. “The truth is we all want the simple things—not just during this pandemic, but always. We all want to be loved, be safe, we want to be comfortable and we want to take things down a notch and be more real and authentic.”

Brown has been connecting with her audience regularly through her personal Facebook and Instagram live sessions where she talks from her living room couch about positivity and health during the pandemic. “It’s not product focused at all,” says Brown. “It’s about building and strengthening community. I also see it as giving back.” For Brown, doing chats from quarantine also means letting go of high expectations about how her video will look. Explains Brown: “We’re not doing slick videos. My hair is probably a mess in some, which is fine. In the long run it will help the brand because people will see me as normal and not perfect.” That attitude taps into Brown’s belief that more than ever buyers want the brands they interact with to be real.

Share your wisdom and expertise

What do you do when your industry is on hold? With the real estate industry almost completely shut down due to the quarantine, Manhattan-based Corcoran real estate broker Cary Tamura experienced an immediate halt to his business. Posting images of gorgeous apartments that he could no longer show, seemed like an exercise in futility. A flood of calls from panicked buyers and sellers inspired him to start using his social platforms in a new way. “I found myself in constant contact with my clients updating them on what was going on with pricing, mortgages, and what I was hearing about the industry,” says Tamura. “I realized that there were probably a lot of other buyers and sellers out there who would be interested in knowing what I was learning.” Tamura began posting short videos sharing his insights and advice on the real estate market from his living room to Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. “I thought, where do you turn to hear about the real estate market in NYC? Even in my small way, I wanted to provide a channel for that.”

8 Digital Strategy Updates That Brands Should Make Right Now

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The Zoom social etiquette guide

By Bryan Lufkin, 29th April 2020

From online parties to happy hour with colleagues, here are the coronavirus-era social faux pas to avoid.

It’s Saturday night, your cocktails are ready and you’re about to throw a party with a couple dozen friends. It’s also your seventh straight week in mandatory lockdown amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

That means you’re throwing the party virtually on Zoom ­– and it’s going great until you realise people keep talking over each other, others feel ignored and start scrolling on their phones, half the guests don’t know each other and the other half have loud housemates clanging dishes in the background.

Video chat is now the go-to outlet for many social distancers craving social interaction. But having a successful fête isn’t only a question of hopping on camera with friends and kicking off. Social grace is a big part of a successful virtual party – and etiquette doesn’t go out the door just because you’re in your pyjamas in front of a webcam.

Introduce everyone; ignore no one

The most noticeable difference between in-person socialising and the video calls we’ve had to rapidly adjust to overnight? Just how jarring the whole transition is.

Gone are the days during which you can mingle or bounce between different groups, or introduce yourself to new people at your leisure. Instead, the second you click ‘Join Meeting’, you’re abruptly thrust in front of potentially dozens of faces staring straight at you, Brady Bunch-style.

“A lot of times [in
person], you will float between one table or booth to the next and talk to one or two people at a time,” says Carla Bevins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University in the US city of Pittsburgh, who specialises in business communication. “All of a sudden, it flattens out when you’re on a Zoom happy hour. You have your Zoom-tinis going, and everybody’s looking at you all at once. It’s a whole different dynamic.”

Birthday parties, like the one seen here in California this month, have largely taken to video chats as much of the planet shelters in place (Credit: Getty Images)

This is particularly problematic if not everyone on the call knows each other – Zoom itself recommends short ice-breaking sessions for everyone to introduce themselves on so-called “mega meetings” of 20 people or more. Which leads to something that’s social etiquette 101: be sure to introduce everyone individually to the group.

Luckily, Zoom makes it easy for you to do this each time someone new joins the event.

“I like to utilise the wait room,” says Tamiko Zablith, founder and principal consultant of Minding Manners International, a division of the International Etiquette and Protocol Academy of London. “For security reasons, first of all – it means outsiders don’t come crashing into your meeting.” (Which is good, considering the recent scrutiny over security issues on Zoom.) But also, “you can let people come in one at a time, and then you can take that time to introduce them to the group as well. One of the faux pas I find is that a lot of people are not doing that: you end up having 45 people on a call and you have no idea who row 3, square 7 is, because they haven’t been properly introduced”.

It’s absolutely crucial to be extra considerate of the time of others – be it your BFF or your boss

“As each person pops on, I will name them,” says Bevins. “’Hi Bryan, it’s good see you. How are things going?”

And, host or not, be sure to give personal attention when it’s time to leave, too.

“Take as much time when you leave a group as you did when you joined the group. Just don’t say, ‘Oh, I’m out now’ and click ‘End Meeting’,” says Zablith. “Take a minute to say: ‘Jennifer, John’ – so I’m finding John on the screen – ‘John, it’s been really nice chatting with you. Robert, down there – really great to have met you’. That way you leave them feeling recognised, but it makes you look a bit more distinguished as well.”

Learn the art of the pause

Another wildly disorienting thing about Zoom parties: everyone has to talk one at a time. There’s no chance for small groups to organically form, for ambient banter to fill a room, or for guests to talk simultaneously and asynchronously. The whole group, no matter how large, can only listen to one person at a time.

Be aware of this and be comfortable with it. “It’s okay to have those quiet spaces,” says Bevins. “Other [guests] may just sit and listen for a while. It’s a whole different dynamic from everybody being ‘on’.”

That’s why putting pauses in your speech is critical, especially since lagging internet speeds or weird audio may mean it’s easy for someone to talk over someone else, drowning out what they have to say to the group.

“If the internet is a bit dodgy, you have those intermittent signals. If I keep rambling, and the other person starts, there’s that delay,” says Zablith. “Work those pauses into your conversation.”

If you find yourself in a politeness contest with someone who’s speaking at the same time as you – “no, you go ahead” – try using Zoom’s “raise hand” function, or try using that side chat again.

“If you start talking over someone and it gets into a politeness war, put a note in the chat that the other person can go ahead with their ideas,” says Bevins. “You can then write your idea in the chat, so your train of thought is not lost. The moderator can come back to your point and ensure that your ideas are heard.”

A virtual dinner party in France last month. Experts say basic social etiquette transfers to this new era of socialising, too (Credit: Getty Images)

Take conversations to the side

At parties in real life, you may be someone’s plus one and you might not know the vast majority of people at the party – and you definitely won’t know all the awkward nuances, like who recently broke up with whom, or which topics are taboo. Ideally, your companion would fill you in ahead of time, or they’d whisper it to you the next time you made a break for the snack table. You can’t have those quick side-confabs online.

Or can you? In these delicate intel-gathering social scenarios, Zoom could be a boon: it has that text chat feature where you can send a direct message to the host or one of your friends. Telepathy unfortunately does not exist, so the chat tool comes in as a handy option if you have something private to say. (Just quadruple or even quintuple-check you’re sending a private message and not one to the whole party.)

“Use the chat and chat with each other on the side. ‘Hey, it’s so good to see you. I saw you had your friends on, too. Who are they, what do I need to know, are there topics that are off limits?’” Bevins says. “Have that side conversation through the technology.”

Know when to change backgrounds

We all know Zoom’s backgrounds that make you seem like you’re in outer space or floating above the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just adding some goofy flair to a Zoom party, it can actually be a courtesy to eliminate distractions behind you.

Hiding those dirty dishes or pizza boxes, or obscuring other members of the household coming and going, eliminates distractions and makes the other people feel like they’re getting your full attention. That even applies to chat etiquette in a work context: these frivolous-seeming add-ons can actually be part of being polite as long as they’re not wacky.

Gone are the days during which you can mingle or bounce between different groups, or introduce yourself to new people at your leisure

“Wouldn’t it be better if that distraction just wasn’t there?” Zablith says, pointing to the advantage of virtual backgrounds being able to hide anything unsightly behind you. For Bevins, virtual backgrounds can also provide a sense of comfort or normalcy to the audience – she uses images of the Carnegie Mellon campus when she’s on a call with her students, even though the university has been shut down due to the pandemic.

Practice punctuality

It’s good practice, of course – your friends get annoyed when you’re late for a movie in person, and the same applies on Zoom. But it applies to social settings, too. To avoid being late (even if you’re at your computer on time), take a few minutes ahead of the call or party (especially if you’re the host) to test your settings and re-check your internet.

Just as video calls for work have become the norm for many of us, so too have they now defined social interactions with friends and family (Credit: Getty Images)

Plus, in the age of Covid-19, many people often have several back-to-back social calls with close family members or friends flung miles and miles apart from each other across time zones and potentially continents. So, it’s absolutely crucial to be extra considerate of the time of others – be it your BFF or your boss.

“We are on so many more Zoom calls right now,” says Bevins. “We have to respect our time.”

More tricks of the trade

All the other social basics apply as much online as they do offline. For example, Zablith describes the “tennis match rule”, in which you make sure you keep returning the “tennis ball” of conversation back to the other person regularly. Also, don’t forget other crucial pieces of how to look good on Zoom: give yourself lots of flattering, head-on natural lighting, and make sure your webcam is eye level or higher.

Remember, even with all of the technology available to us to stay social in unprecedented isolation, it’s still easy to feel overwhelmed and despondent. But if you remember to be respectful, polite and inclusive on video calls, no matter how casual the setting, you’ll really get the most out of these valuable social interactions in the era of a pandemic.

“If you can collect that good energy, and save it for later – because, let’s face it, we’re going to have good days and we’re going to have not so good days” as we navigate life in the pandemic, Bevins says. It could make all the difference. “You hold that positive feeling, energy, whatever you want to call it, so when you’re not feeling so hot – that can help.”

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Videotelefonie Google bläst zur Attacke auf Zoom

So manche Tech-Firma blickt neidisch auf den plötzlichen Erfolg von Zoom. Doch noch ist Bewegung im Markt der Videokonferenz-Apps: Durch Anpassungen will Google nun seinen Dienst Google Meet voranbringen.

29.04.2020, 16.21 Uhr

Startseite von Google Meet: Eine Alternative zu Zoom

Startseite von Google Meet: Eine Alternative zu Zoom


Ähnlich wie schon Facebook will jetzt auch Google den überraschenden Erfolg des Videokonferenz-Dienstes Zoom kontern. Der Internetkonzern macht dafür eines seiner bisherigen Angebote attraktiver und stellt seinen Premium-Dienst Google Meet fortan allen interessierten Nutzern kostenfrei zur Verfügung. Bislang zielte Google Meet vor allem auf Firmenkunden und Schulen. Für jeden nutzbar sein soll der Dienst nun ab Anfang Mai. Die einzige größere Zugangshürde: Man braucht zwingend einen Google-Account, um Meet gratis verwenden zu können.

Zoom war mit seinem ursprünglich für Unternehmen gedachten Videokonferenz-Service zum Überflieger der Coronakrise avanciert, nachdem die Firma Einschränkungen für Privatkunden aufgehoben hatte. Die Zahl täglicher Meeting-Teilnehmer stieg zuletzt auf 300 Millionen. Zoom wurde damit zur wohl am schnellsten wachsenden Kommunikationsplattform, obwohl die etablierten Internetunternehmen Videochat-Angebote mit einem Kundenstamm von theoretisch vielen hundert Millionen Nutzern haben. Google Meet kommt nach jüngsten Angaben auf 100 Millionen Nutzer täglich.

In der Gratis-Version von Google Meet ist eine Videokonferenz eigentlich auf 60 Minuten begrenzt – bis Ende September ist diese Einschränkung aber aufgehoben, wie Google am Mittwoch mitteilte. Bei Zoom sind in der Gratis-Version maximal 40 Minuten Konferenzdauer vorgesehen. Genauso wie bei Zoom können in Meet bis zu 100 Gratis-Nutzer an einem Videochat teilnehmen. Bei Facebooks vergangene Woche vorgestelltem Konkurrent-Angebot Messenger Rooms sollen es bald 50 sein – zunächst sind es rund 20.

Beitritt per Link möglich

Meet-Videochats beitreten kann man wie auch bei anderen Diensten unter anderem über Weblinks. Bei Zoom sorgte dieses Verfahren bei der breiten Nutzung außerhalb von Unternehmen für akute Probleme. Beim sogenannten Zoombombing störten immer wieder Fremde Videokonferenzen: Dritte konnten Zoom-Meetings aufrufen, wenn der Link öffentlich bekannt wurde oder sie die Konferenz-ID errieten. Zoom steuerte inzwischen unter anderem mit der Empfehlung gegen, Konferenzen mit einem Passwort zu schützen.

Google-Manager Serge Lachapelle sagt, Meet setze zum Vermeiden solcher Vorfälle zum einen auf komplexe IDs, die man nicht erraten könne. Zum anderen könne man unbekannten Teilnehmern den Zutritt zum Videochat verwehren. Auf Passwörter verzichte Meet deshalb zunächst. Meet läuft in Googles Webbrowser Chrome, ohne weitere Plug-Ins, was den Dienst ebenfalls sicherer machen soll.

Google will außerdem mit seiner Stärke bei maschinellem Lernen punkten: Algorithmen sollen das Bild bei schlechten Lichtverhältnissen aufbessern und störende Geräusche im Hintergrund herausfiltern. Den bisherigen Markennamen Hangouts für seine Videochat-Produkte gibt Google mit dem Ausbau von Meet auf, sagte Serge Lachapelle.


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Three Ways Digital Marketing Will Change Post COVID-19

Diaz Nesamoney Last updated Apr 25, 2020

For the first weeks of COVID-19, it felt like the end of the world was indeed finally here. The stock market was falling, companies were laying people off, people were forced to work from home, grocery shelves emptied, and, almost every country in the world had infections and deaths soaring – there seemed to be no end in sight. Many of us who have been through other crises before could not help make comparisons of past crises — the dot-com bust of 2000, 9/11 in 2001, the financial crisis of 2008. However, even the most optimistic of us couldn’t help feeling that this was different — never before, in our lifetimes at least, had we seen a crisis with a catastrophic combination of a financial crisis and a humanitarian crisis happening simultaneously and at a global scale.

12 years ago, when I founded Jivox, just before the 2008 financial crisis, the thing I learned very quickly (and painfully) was that Marketing was almost always the very first budget to be cut in a crisis. In general, most CEOs and CFOs in the midst of such an enormous crisis, take the attitude of “shoot first and then aim” when it comes to cutting costs in a crisis and marketing is an easy target. Given most of the Marketing function in large companies has traditionally been outsourced, it’s an easy place to cut before you think of cutting personnel. Within Marketing, media spend is, of course, the easiest to cut and so that goes first and then possibly services, tech vendors, and lastly personnel, probably in that order.

COVID-19, therefore, at first felt like yet another crisis that would decimate Digital Marketing tech companies as budgets were cut and it seemed like we would go into another nuclear winter for tech purchases. COVID-19 was, of course, a crisis like many others before, but it was also unlike others — different as it seemed like it could be short-lived, with various pundits predicting so-called “V” and “U” and “boat-shaped” recoveries. As we saw groceries and consumables flying off the shelves (toilet paper anyone?), another question that came to mind was whether with the significant change in lifestyles with working from home, whether this was going to impact all businesses or just some.

By carefully analyzing what our customers were doing, we tried quickly to understand what was going on. Within a few weeks, it became clear that this crisis was different. While certain industries like Travel and Hospitality and Retail were hit very hard and it felt like they may take a while to restart, many other industries it seemed could see a tremendous need and opportunity to invest in Digital Marketing technology. It is also clear that for others, due to the changing nature of their businesses (e.g. fast food becoming a delivery business), they would be forced to rethink archaic marketing strategies, tools, and processes that they have been living with.

Here are a few considerations for marketers while planning for a post-COVID-19 future:

Cost Savings from Creative and Content Production

Today’s creative and content production methods are ripe for disruption resulting in significant cost savings for brands. Most brands are still relying on an archaic content and creative production model that was built for TV and print advertising, where each piece of content and creative was manually created, edited, distributed and paid for. As Marketing channels continue to proliferate and as brands look to deliver relevance through personalized content and creative, these costs have significantly escalated.

With the inevitable Marketing budget cuts, this is one area ripe for the use of technology to save millions of dollars in production costs. Modern dynamic creative technology (DCO) enables creative content to be automatically versioned in multiple languages, product packagings, etc. without having to manually create and pay for each ad creative. Special offers and pricing can also be dynamically changed without having to spend millions of dollars on production fees.

Direct 1:1 Consumer Marketing Becomes an Imperative

CPG companies have been aware, for some time now, of the threat to their model of relying heavily on retail brick-and-mortar distribution for their products which made them heavily dependent on retailers. As a result, they haven’t had the opportunity to build direct relationships with consumers. While some have invested in eCommerce distribution of their products via eTailers like Amazon or even via Direct-to-Consumer sales, many still depend very heavily on retailers to sell.

COVID-19 has shut down retail sales almost entirely during the shelter-in-place phase, however, brands that have eCommerce offerings and direct-to-consumer marketing have skyrocketed in sales. CPG companies that relied heavily on TV, OOH, and Print advertising are now redirecting their Marketing investments to Digital Marketing as a new way to drive customers to purchase via their websites and apps. A quick shift to Digital Marketing is their response to retail sales’ continuing to plummet and possibly not recovering for a while due to social distancing whether enforced or driven by consumer fear.

Similarly, quick service restaurants (QSR) also are facing a bit of an existential crisis as dining out becomes risky and consumers instead are opting to order in. So, brands like McDonald’s, Subway, Chipotle that focused most of their Marketing efforts on brand awareness need to shift gears quickly to 1:1 personalized digital marketing — it is important that they direct consumers to their own or other food delivery services in order to survive. Again, even with quarantine restrictions lifted, it will be a while before consumer dining behavior returns to normal.

It is probably also true that the switch by consumers to ordering digitally for delivery may be a permanent switch as they have now learned out of necessity a new mechanism for dining that they either did not know was possible or simply did not get around to trying. Much like we have all learned by using Zoom that meetings don’t always have to involve travel or be face-to-face, this may be a permanent change.

All of this means more investment in MarTech platforms designed for 1:1 personalized marketing that enables these brands to collect and use data for digital marketing, platforms to manage digital media purchases and creative and content automation platforms to deliver offers and personalized messaging. These are all technologies they did not have to worry about when relying on TV advertising, which was inherently one-size-fits-all and bought and executed for them manually by agencies.

Agile Marketing Becomes the Norm

The first thing brands learned from COVID-19 was that during a time of crisis, or an opportunity whether driven by a virus, by competition or consumer behavior, changing messaging and content to respond quickly is critical. Many brands took weeks to change their advertising messaging as the archaic creative and content production teams toiled at significant cost and time, manually re-creating everything from TV commercials to display ads to reflect crisis messaging only to be followed by another such expensive cycle for recovery messaging.

The response needed for COVID-19 was also unusual in that messaging had to be differential depending on where in the world (or even within a country) the brand was advertising. This meant that current one-size-fits-all messaging was risky as they were either talking about empathy in areas where folks had moved past the crisis or were trying to direct people to stores where stores were closed or the infections were peaking.

While the speedy response needed to COVID-19 has been highlighting these issues for marketers, the issues have existed all along. Travel companies have for long needed to deal with natural disasters or seasons and quickly change their messaging or remove certain destinations from their marketing. Telcos need to constantly respond to special offers and discounts offered by their competitors. Retailers needed to constantly push out new offers to fend off competition.

As competing brands acquire more responsive and real-time marketing stacks where data-driven dynamic creative technology enables rapid and immediate changes to creative and content to be pushed out to all marketing channels, marketers will do well to embrace these technologies or face being left behind.

One thing is clear: marketers in the post-COVID-19 era will have to rethink what technologies they really need, which ones can help them save money, and which ones can help them transform their businesses that have been altered by this crisis. Marketing technology that helps with the above business needs will, therefore, be considered “essential” and the rest may end up in the garbage heap of tech-driven promises that never delivered true Marketing ROI.

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Deutsche misstrauen Vergleichsportalen beim Datenschutz

Von Hannah Dudeck

Wenn es um ihre Finanzdaten geht, vertrauen die Bundesbürger ihrer Hausbank, zeigt eine Umfrage. Versicherer und Vergleichsportale schneiden schlechter ab.

Hausbanken genießen beim Datenschutz einen Vertrauensvorschuss. So würden laut einer Umfrage des Software-Hauses Senacor Technologies 78 Prozent der Deutschen am ehesten ihrer Bank erlauben, die eigenen Kontodaten gezielt auszuwerten (siehe Grafiken). Mit 68 Prozent liegen die gesetzlichen Krankenkassen auf dem zweiten Platz und damit vor staatlichen Stellen wie den Finanz- und Sozialbehörden.

Versicherer kommen bei den 1.000 Befragten auf 51 Prozent. 23 Prozent würden einer Auswertung ihrer Kontodaten durch Gesellschaften nicht zustimmen, 26 Prozent beantworten diese Frage mit „eher nein“. Schlecht schneiden Vergleichsportale und Smartphone-Banken ab. Nur 28 Prozent der Befragten würden etwa einem Vergleichsportal erlauben, die eigenen Kontodaten automatisch auszulesen, um Vorschläge für eine günstigere Versicherung oder billigeren Strom zu unterbreiten. Nur wenig besser schneiden Amazon, Apple und Co. mit 37 Prozent ab.

Bei guten Angeboten wird Datenschutz zweitrangig

Zwar hängen klassische Banken beim Vertrauen alle anderen Unternehmen ab. Tatsächlich aber steigt die Nutzung der Angebote von Vergleichsportalen sowie US-Techriesen wie Apple, merkt Senacor Technologies an. „Je besser das Angebot, desto eher stellen Kunden ihre Bedenken beim Datenschutz hintenan“, sagt Christian Wolfangel, bei dem Software-Haus Partner sowie Experte für digitale Geschäftsmodelle.

Hannah Dudeck

Hannah Dudeck arbeitet seit 1. April 2020 als freie Redakteurin für Pfefferminzia.

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Umfrage – Generation Z möchte online beraten werden

Von Manila Klafack, 21.04.2020

41 Prozent der 18- bis 20-jährigen Deutschen kennen sich mit Versicherungen überhaupt nicht aus – und das Interesse an dem Thema ist auch eher gering. Nur ein Drittel in dieser Altersgruppe verfügt beispielsweise über eine Haftpflichtversicherung und nur 15 Prozent besitzen eine Rentenversicherung, wie eine aktuelle Yougov-Umfrage ermittelte.

Nur jeder vierte 18- bis 20-Jährige hierzulande kennt sich mit Versicherungen aus. 41 Prozent dagegen haben überhaupt keine Kenntnisse zu Versicherungsprodukten. Das hat eine Umfrage des Marktforschres Yougov im Auftrag der Managementberatung Bearing Point ergeben.

„Unsere Umfrage zeigt, wie erschreckend wenig die Generation Z über Versicherungen weiß“, sagt Giso Hutschenreiter, Partner und Versicherungsexperte bei Bearing Point. „Da müssen bei Politik und Versicherungen die Alarmglocken läuten. Sie sind gut beraten, ihre Kommunikation mit dieser Zielgruppe vor allem über digitale Kanäle neu aufzustellen“, so Hutschenreiters Rat.

Die sogenannte Generation Z kennt sich mit Versicherungen kaum aus.

Diese Generation habe viele Interessen, doch Versicherungen gehörten nicht dazu. Karriere (53 Prozent), Studium (51 Prozent) oder Reisen (44 Prozent) stünden im Mittelpunkt ihrer Aufmerksamkeit. So wundere es nicht, dass nur ein Drittel bisher eine Haftpflichtversicherung abgeschlossen habe, nur ein Vierteil eine Auslandskrankenversicherung und lediglich 15 Prozent eine Rentenversicherung. Jeder Zehnte habe eine Hausratversicherung.

Ausgeprägter Wunsch nach Online-Beratung

Eine weitere Erkenntnis: Nur jeder Fünfte möchte für die Beratung mit einem Versicherungsmakler in Kontakt treten. Mehr als ein Drittel bevorzuge eine Beratung über die Internetseite des Versicherers (37 Prozent) und ein weiteres Drittel würde dafür ein Internet-Vergleichsportal wählen (33 Prozent).

„Für die Generation Z ist es selbstverständlich, dass sie all ihre Anliegen jederzeit online erledigen und nachvollziehen kann. Versicherungen müssen daher ihre digitalen Dienste dringend an dieser Zielgruppe ausrichten“, so Hutschenreiter. „Denn nur die Versicherungen, die sich modernisieren, ihren Schwerpunkt auf digitale Kommunikationswege legen und die Social-Media-Kanäle bespielen, können die Generation Z als Kunden oder Arbeitnehmer gewinnen“, so der Bearing-Point-Experte.

Manila Klafack

Manila Klafack ist Redakteurin bei Pfefferminzia. Nach ihrer Ausbildung zur Redakteurin verantwortete sie zuvor in verschiedenen mittelständischen Unternehmen den Bereich der Öffentlichkeitsarbeit.

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Digitalisierungsschub durch Corona-Krise Versicherungsanliegen künftig häufiger online geklärt

Juliana Demski, 14.04.2020

Wegen der Corona-Krise wissen immer mehr Menschen die digitalen Angebote ihrer Versicherer und Banken zu schätzen. Laut einer aktuellen Umfrage wollen einige der über 55-Jährigen auch nach der Pandemie online aktiv bleiben.

Bereits vor der Krise haben viele Versicherungs- und Bankkunden (79 Prozent) häufig die digitalen Angebote ihrer Anbieter in Anspruch genommen – dank Corona dürfte diese Zahl jetzt weiter zulegen. Wie eine Umfrage des digitalen Versicherungsmaklers Friendsurance zeigt, gibt jeder zehnte Verbraucher an, Bank- und Versicherungsangelegenheiten in Folge der Corona-Krise noch häufiger online erledigen zu wollen.

Interessant ist: Nicht nur die jungen, auch die über 55-jährigen Befragten, bei denen laut Umfrage ansonsten kaum Digitalisierungseffekte durch Corona zu beobachten sind, wollen mit immerhin 6 Prozent häufiger online aktiv werden.

Zwei Lebensbereiche, in denen bislang nur knapp die Hälfte der Deutschen digital aktiv war, sind Arbeiten (47 Prozent) und Bildung (44 Prozent). Laut Friendsurance-Umfrage könnten die Zahlen auch hier deutlich steigen. Auf eine entsprechende Frage gab jeder siebte unter 35-Jährige (rund 14 Prozent) an, dass er künftig noch öfter online arbeiten wird. Unter den 35- bis 44-Jährigen beabsichtigen das 8 Prozent, unter den 45- bis 54-Jährigen 6 Prozent. Bei den über 55-Jährigen gaben indes nur 3 Prozent an, auch in Zukunft im Homeoffice arbeiten zu wollen.

Gefragt nach dem Thema Bildung, gaben 11 Prozent der Befragten mit Kindern an, dass sie auch nach der Krise weiterhin mehr digitale Lernangebote und Webinare für sich oder ihre Kinder nutzen möchten – bei den Befragten ohne Kinder sind es 6 Prozent.

Aber auch im Privatleben scheinen die Deutschen die digitalen Möglichkeiten für sich zu entdecken

Zwar waren digitale Videokonferenz-Tools wie Skype oder Zoom bereits vor der Pandemie hierzulande recht verbreitet (64 Prozent). In Zukunft will aber jeder Zehnte (10 Prozent) öfter als zuvor per Video-Chat Freundschaften und andere Beziehungen pflegen.

In der jüngeren Altersgruppe sind es deutlich mehr: Bei den unter 25-Jährigen geben das 18 Prozent an, gefolgt von den 25- bis 34-Jährigen mit 17 Prozent. Bei den 35- bis 44-Jährigen sagen das 13 Prozent und bei den 45- bis 54- Jährigen 8 Prozent. Selbst die über 55-Jährigen planen, häufiger über Webcams mit Freunden und Familie in Kontakt zu treten.

Juliana Demski ist Werksstudentin bei Pfefferminzia und unterstützt die Redaktion in der täglichen Berichterstattung.

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The five levels of digital marketing automation

Posted on April 13, 2020 by Eric Benjamin Seufert

Marketing automation is a seemingly universal ambition of mobile advertisers — in some cases, bordering on obsession. For companies spending millions of dollars in advertising media per month, automation provides for the ability to launch and scale new products at will, as well as the ability to increase or decrease spend flexibly without needing to change the marketing team’s headcount. For advertisers with smaller budgets, user acquisition automation unlocks access to growth by sidestepping the “chicken and egg” problem in mobile user acquisition wherein small companies with unproven products can’t attract accomplished user acquisition talent. For both groups of advertisers, automation is seen as a sort of panacea: a common cure to the specific challenges faced at both low and high scale of monthly spend on direct response digital marketing.

Like almost everything related to automation, artificial intelligence, and machine leaning, user acquisition automation as a concept drafts some considerable distance behind the enthusiasm (hype) from investors and executives about its applicability as a commercial tool. Firstly, user acquisition automation already largely exists on mobile — in the form of Facebook and UAC campaigns. Facebook and Google automate budget distribution, general audience targeting, and ad creative exposure. The ascent of algorithmic campaign management tools from Facebook and Google essentially handed fully-automated marketing machinery to all mobile advertisers. So any discussion of automation as a proprietary tool necessarily implies a tool that interfaces with Google’s and Facebook’s — given that Facebook and Google represent 60+% of ad spend for most major mobile advertisers — which somewhat deflates the scope of any such product.

That aside, the core functional user acquisition work that a team might undertake to automate falls into the following buckets:

  • Ad creative production: ad creative is one of the primary inputs to user acquisition, and the volumes of creative needed for rigorous experimentation are so vast that automating creative production can serve as a real competitive advantage for advertisers;
  • Audience testing and definition: audiences (eg. custom audiences, lookalike audiences, etc.) are incredibly important factors in efficient advertising, and testing them is time consuming and burdensome, especially as pairings with other campaign settings, such as audiences and bid / budget levels;
  • Campaign settings experimentation: bids, budgets, campaign strategy, etc.;
  • ROAS projection and reporting: ROAS estimation is built into most advertisers’ existing analytics suites, but automating it in such a way as to calculate and publish relevant values on a cadence that is actionable can reduce decision-making time and prevent advertising loss. Additionally, ROAS timeline targets can change over time with spend levels and budget distribution, and automating that can reduce a substantial amount of analysis work.

There’s a fifth bucket, which is the connective tissue which unifies each of the above four buckets and replaces the human “If this, then that” decision making and execution workflow. For instance, if a performant audience is found, the connective tissue might deploy that against a new campaign versus just signaling the audience’s viability to the team.

Like the “levels of driving automation” classifier that exists for categorizing autonomous driving systems, I think it’s valuable to define a “levels of marketing automation” rubric for marketing systems. Having seen marketing automation platforms that fall across a broad spectrum of functionality, I think the general progression towards a completely automated marketing AI happens in five different stages:

Level 0: No automation

At this level, all creative production, audience testing and definition, campaign experimentation and optimization, and ROAS projection and reporting is done manually. Humans manage every aspect of marketing and serve as the connective tissue between decisions. No automation exists and everything is done by hand.

Level 1: Tools replace tedious manual work

At this level, the marketing team deploys a set of scripts and tools to automate the more tedious manual work. Ad creatives are templated so that variants of concepts can be produced quickly; audiences are pulled via a script from the advertiser’s data warehouse and deployed via API to various advertising platforms (eg. a script pulls a list of the top 1000 most engaged users every week and submits that via Facebook API as a custom audience); campaign settings are circulated automatically (eg. the marketing team receives a weekly email with suggested, manually-calculated bid levels for different Facebook campaigns based on geography, platform, campaign strategy, etc.); ROAS models and timelines are defined and assessed manually but they are made available in a central system to be used in forecasting in an automated way.

At this level, most of the substantive work undertaken by the team is still done manually, but much of the tedious button-pushing is replaced by scripts that move datasets around or do simple calculations and make those available to the team. This level requires the same general level of marketing headcount as the previous level, but the tools and scripts make each of those people more productive.

Level 2: Marketing workflow automation

It is at this level that impactful, high-value work begins to be automated, replacing the work of humans. At level 2, much of the analysis that was formerly undertaken by marketing team members is automated, leaving only very specific tasks to be done manually.

Creative concepts are informed in an automated way by past performance; audience definitions are likewise created automatically and deployed without any assistance from humans. Bid and budget decisions are made automatically, meaning that marketing team members merely receive recommendations from the system. ROAS timelines and the underlying monetization model is calculated in an automated way.

Level 3: Marketing strategy automation

At this level, the marketing team’s focus begins to shift from managing campaigns to managing the system that manages campaigns; the marketing team’s composition changes from media buyers to analysts and engineers that maintain and continuously improve the automation system.

At level 3, ad creative concepts are generated and produced automatically. Audiences are defined, sourced, and deployed automatically, with audience pairings expanded to every possible campaign setting (eg. audiences are tested against creatives, campaign strategies, geographies, etc.). And ROAS timelines and models are not only derived automatically, but they trigger changes to campaign settings automatically. Combined with bid and budget decisions being made and deployed automatically, at level 3, a team member no longer needs to make direct adjustments to campaigns.

Level 4: Full marketing automation

Full marketing automation includes all of the features of level 3, except that the connective tissue between each of the four functional buckets is complete in such a way that all decisions and reactions are implemented automatically: campaigns are automatically created and tuned, creative concepts are automatically defined, produced, and deployed to campaigns; ROAS models and timelines are automatically calculated and used to adjust campaign settings, etc. At this level, theoretically, no marketing team is needed beyond the engineers and analysts that maintain the automation framework.

Where are most advertisers?

Having seen many permutations of marketing automation, I believe that most advertisers investing the time and resources into building out an automated user acquisition platform are at Level 1, with a small minority at Level 2.

I have seen a number of advertisers building towards Level 3, but there are some meaningful hurdles to clear in reaching Level 3:

  • Total creative automation is very difficult, especially for video creatives. Contextual image classification analysis is possible at scale, but without a human-made template, the videos created using just imagine recognition and performance pairings tend to not perform well themselves. Identifying pieces of a story that correlate to strong performance is different from constructing a performant story;
  • ROAS timeline optimization and monetization modeling is very hard to do in an unsupervised way. Most LTV and ROAS modeling is done by iteratively, manually tinkering with curve parameters and milestones based on deep knowledge of the product. Building a reactive ROAS timeline and model based on spend levels and budget distribution is one step ahead of media mix modeling.

But the value of even Level 1 marketing automation shouldn’t be discounted: when the tedious, manual work required of most marketing managers is removed, those people are given the opportunity to be much more analytical and strategic. Level 1 marketing automation is a laudable goal, and the robustness of Facebook’s and Google’s APIs makes it fairly straightforward to implement.

In general, automation is such a powerfully productive tool that all advertisers should strive to at least some level of it — what that level should be depends on the advertiser’s ability to scale a marketing engineering organization and the absolute value of that automation efficiency.

Photo by Lenin Estrada on Unsplash

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Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

Ben Wood / April 9, 2020

COVID-19 has certainly made an impact on ecommerce over the past couple of weeks now that isolation and social distancing measures have been put in place.

Workers in many infected countries have been asked to work from home, countries including the UK, Italy, and France have been placed under lockdown and schools have been shut down.

Unsurprisingly, many stores have since taken the decision out of consumers’ hands by shutting up shop, forcing traditional consumers to adopt ecommerce as an alternative.

Which Products Are Seeing a Rise in Demand?

Due to the closure of many schools across the globe, homeschooling and school equipment queries are seeing huge spikes in demand, good news for any retailers supplying B2C education equipment:

Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

Garden furniture tends to get a lot of searches on the weekends but has demand has been rapidly growing since more severe social distancing measures were put in place across the UK and U.S. last week.

In the UK market, this kind of jump wouldn’t usually take place until April:

garden furniture google trends

Craft sites and general crafting terms have a huge amount of interest due to people remaining at home and having kids to entertain. As an example, here’s rising search demand for craft supplies:

Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

And of course, home gaming and entertainment have both skyrocketed over the past week or so. Both Xbox and Netflix have seen notable spikes in search interest over the past week:

Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

Which Search Terms Are Declining?

Fashion retailers have lost a lot of visitors at the moment. After all, who’s buying a new outfit just to stay in the house?

It’s not just high street retailers that are suffering, ecommerce brands such as Asos are also seeing a dip due to COVID-19:

Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

Travel has understandably nosedived. Traffic to lots of travel sites is ironically up, but most of it related to customer service requests or cancellations.

Here are the fastest rising searches related to

Impact of COVID-19 on Ecommerce: 4 Ways to Adapt Your Digital Strategy

How Can Digital Marketers Adapt?

Many businesses will be reviewing their budgets in light of COVID-19, with digital marketing spend naturally a soft target for businesses looking to make cuts.

There is certainly a need to work smarter under the current circumstances, but it’s a crucial time for marketers to adopt strategies for long-term profitability.

1. Manage PPC Budget Efficiency

Statements around switching off PPC campaigns entirely, one of the primary sources of new business for many companies, could clearly be hugely damaging.

Instead, look to manage efficiencies across accounts where possible.

  • Cut back on any non-essential upper-funnel keywords with lower conversion rates where search-demand may be waning.
  • Save potentially reduced budgets for keywords with a higher likelihood of generating conversions.

Pausing campaigns and starting again will also mean higher CPCs as campaigns will have to go back through an initial learning phase.

CPCs at the moment will likely be lower as many businesses scale back, so for those clients who can continue to function they should capitalize on this where possible.

There’s also the consideration of longer-term impacts.

Quality score is based on your CTR relative to others in the auction.

If other people stop advertising, you can make CTR gains which in the long term will improve your QS and lower your CPCs.

The reverse is also true – so clients should be aware that they can’t just switch off campaigns and resume them like nothing ever happened!

2. Retain Organic Visibility

When it comes to organic activity, SEO is clearly a longer-term strategy and the tap can’t (and shouldn’t) be switched off as with PPC.

Google will be tweaking their algorithms now more than ever to ensure that the public gets the most accurate information, so to ignore the basics would risk reducing organic visibility in the long term.

Organic search is one of the most viable channels in any scenario.

People will always be searching, perhaps more now than ever before.

Businesses with online selling capabilities are in a better position than any to continue to do business in what is a difficult period for many.

3. Share Experiences Through Digital PR

Yes, the news is awash with COVID-19 stories, but digital PR activity shouldn’t stop during coronavirus.

Now is a great opportunity to get in touch with journalists with interesting news stories that are a ​distraction from the wider news.

People still want to read good news stories and want escapism from the pandemic currently dominating mainstream media.

Journalists themselves have been quoted on social media multiple times saying they need to put a smile on people’s faces.

If the story is strong, it can still get picked up right now.

If your business can offer comments to help other businesses and people during this tough time, distract them, or put a smile on their faces, that’s a great thing and should be encouraged!

4. Be Useful on Social Media

There will be a lot more people logging in to and spending time on social platforms as professionals start to adapt to the working from home lifestyle.

This is a great time to re-imagine your social media strategy, or if you don’t have one, it’s a great time to start.

Below are some general tips for brands looking to revamp their social strategy and messaging based on current trends.

  • Be helpful: Give customers credible, detailed information about the things they need. Be objective and clear. Reinforce “we are here to help you.”
  • Help create communities among customers and help people connect, both locally and globally.
  • Be present in the early hours of the morning or late hours of the evening: Our habits are evolving and it’s important to let consumers know that solutions are available whenever, wherever.
  • Look for people who are helping and find ways to support or celebrate them. They might be employees, people who use your products, or people who could use support.
  • Find ways to enrich people’s lives as we isolate and combat both boredom and anxiety.

So even though we all may be feeling isolated, the next few weeks gives our businesses an opportunity to be even more social and more community-led.

It also lets your brand become a park of happiness during this period of darkness.

Emerge Ready to do Business

The tips outlined in this are a general guide to adapting to COVID-19.

Clearly, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to digital strategy.

But one thing is for certain, it’s that we as marketers must ensure our brands are ready to do business online the day consumer confidence starts to increase.

This will enable us to avoid a long-term impact on market share.

Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, March 2020