Brands come clean over coronavirus marketing failings

angry 1More than a third of businesses have admitted to losing customers during Covid-19 crisis as a result of their marketing communication failures, with over half admitting they should have done more to help during lockdown.

So says a new global study from Pegasystems, conducted by research firm Savanta, which explores the effect the global pandemic has had on businesses and their ability adapt in a time of crisis.

Almost three quarters (74%) of decision makers reported that the pandemic had exposed more gaps in their business operations and systems than they anticipated. Only 6% reported no gaps in their existing systems during the crisis.

The vast majority (91%) of all respondents admit that changes are now needed for their business to survive in a post-crisis world, with over three-fifths (62%) saying they will increase the priority level of digital transformation (DX) within their organisation. Meanwhile, 58% said they would increased the speed of existing DX projects and 56% vowed to raise the overall level of DX investment.

Some 71% said the crisis has accelerated their digital projects aimed at better engaging with customers. The top three most popular DX projects needed to prepare for future crises were: cloud-based systems (48%), CRM (41%), and AI-driven analytics and decisioning (37%).

Other findings suggest the Covid-19 experience could have some positive outcomes, with three-quarters (74%) of respondents saying their business learned a lot during the crisis and will permanently change the way they operate for the better.

In addition, 69% say the crisis taught them to be more empathetic with customers and 61% feel they learned more about their customers during the crisis than they did the previous two years combined.

The study also reveals that working from home actually works. Some 71% said remote working has been successful and will likely continue after the crisis ends, while half (52%) reported employees are more productive now than before the pandemic.

Pegasystems CTO and vice president of product marketing Don Schuerman said: “What this research makes clear is that digital transformation can no longer be seen as a ‘nice to have’ for today’s businesses as they face a radically changed landscape.

“Now, it’s become a top priority and organisations are beginning to wake up to the fact that ineffective communication with their customers in uncertain times can do them serious damage.

“Today’s business leaders find themselves at a crossroads. The question for them is not ‘should I invest in digital transformation?,’ but ‘where do I start and how fast can I make it happen?'”

“If organisations are to truly learn the lessons of the current crisis and future proof themselves against mass-scale events, then they need to understand that the customer must be put at the centre of everything they do. Unfortunately, for many, it appears that it’s a lesson that may have been learned in the hardest way possible.”

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