We’ve all heard soundbites about how the COVID crisis has permanently changed the way we do business. But will this apply to the UK Plastics Sector?
As things stand today, we are having minimal direct contact with our business colleagues and little or no face to face interaction with customers or suppliers. We aren’t just talking about sales personnel and management teams meeting up at business premises; all of this year’s plastics exhibitions and networking events have been cancelled or postponed.
Now it’s widely known that the average age of senior managers is relatively high compared to other sectors. So how have we managed? As the reality is, we have still been communicating!
What has happened is that even the most stalwart of the ‘the old way is the best way’ brigade have been using video conferencing. Whether it’s Teams, Zoom or good old-fashioned Skype, once they have mastered the mute button, they’re away!
We have been forced into kickstarting the next stage of a digital revolution.
As a digital procurement and marketing company, this makes PlastikCity particularly well-positioned to analyse the current and longer-term changes to how our sector conducts business. Here are a few observations, some of which are a little light-hearted, but still hold true:
- Our Partners have inundated us with news articles. They want current information about their business activities delivered directly to the inboxes of potential clients. They have no way of physically showcasing their products and services and have realised the benefit of doing this digitally and with little or no cost.
- Over the last few months, levels of engagement for all forms of digital content we send out has increased significantly. People have had more time for their Inbox and are less likely to press delete without at least scanning the subject line. Once a newsletter or mailshot has been read and proved to be interesting and potentially useful, new habits can quickly develop. We’ve all moved from physical CD’s to streaming digital music, so moving from paper to immediately available digital content seems like a natural progression.
- We are now all mildly agoraphobic! Going back to our place of work alongside familiar and trusted colleagues is one thing, but allowing potentially germ riddled outsiders past the car park entrance is something else entirely. Our online procurement facilities have subsequently seen excellent levels of activity, despite the demand for goods and services still being suppressed.
- Travel is now viewed as more of a luxury or an unwanted inconvenience. People have seen how well modern communication tools can work, so why burn diesel or travel in a ‘winged tube of pestilence’ if you can work more efficiently (and dress casually from the waist down) from a comfy office chair! And what about that beautifully clean air and the congestion-free roads we have all learned to appreciate!
We frequently talk to clients about their marketing plans for the coming twelve months. Some of these are internationally recognised companies, so you should find some of the below quotes interesting, even if they are slightly paraphrased for purposes of anonymity.
“We are a digital company. We are heavily involved with Industry 4.0, so we believe that communication with our customers should now be predominantly digital.”
“We no longer see the value of exhibitions and believe there are far more efficient ways to reach and communicate with current and potential clients. Going forward, we intend to significantly increase our spend on digital marketing and advertising.”
As well as increased demand for dedicated e-promotions, we have seen a marked rise in interest for hosted Webinars. We have been investing heavily in both equipment and staff training to develop this program. We wouldn’t do this under the current economic conditions if we didn’t believe that changes in how we do business aren’t just for ‘the now.’