As the economic shutdown brought on by COVID-19-related restrictions hit Australia, business leaders needed to assess and immediately activate their business continuity plans. During these unprecedented times, leaders were facing unique and rapidly changing challenges.
In the beginning, it was really more about understanding how people are set up. Can they work from home? Are they set up with the right equipment? Is there anything that could help make employees more successful at home?
As part of our new interview series "Sales, Marketing & Communications Industry Insights", the team at Carter Murray spoke with some of our valued clients, speaking about current challenges and opportunities facing each industry sector during this unprecedented economic environment.
We look back over the last 6 weeks with insight from senior Sales, Marketing & Communications professionals about how they have been navigating the challenges during COVID-19 and the impact this has had on their businesses and their teams.
We hope that by sharing the thoughts of our experts, we can support the Sales, Marketing & Communications community in learning and adapting.
Here are the first two interviews with professionals from the Advertising and Media Industry Sectors in Australia.
1. What are the biggest challenges currently facing your industry sector? People are scared of going outside and/or interacting with other people. This means businesses and advertising is not as relevant, especially outdoor advertising.
2. How has your business been able to adapt to the new landscape we are currently operating in? Working safely and from home since mid-March to help get in control of COVID spread. Changing our product offers to avoid exposure in very quiet COVID crisis period times. Seeking supplier cost relief and applying for Jobkeeper.
3. How do you see behaviours changing as we move from an ‘in-person’ or ‘on-location’ to an online interactive with clients and customers? Less human and natural interactions. More focus on metrics and cautious business decisions. Old style of selling and working will be under pressure to modernize.
4. How has your daily routine changed since working remotely? More team reporting of daily action plans. Good business focuses on daily wellness and learning opportunities. More attention to staff duties and decision to stay working full time.
5. How do you feel the new working conditions caused by COVID-19 will impact future company policies on staff working from home? Less staff required when staff interaction is not part of company learning plans. More use of email, webinars and software to engage with clients and prospects. More attention to WHS for WFH staff... immense range of issues that cannot be reasonably controlled.
6. Have you continued hiring new roles? If so, what types of roles are deemed business critical in your organisation? No we have not continued with any new recruitment. The current staff will have to do new tasks.
7. What are the most difficult areas of your business to recruit for? And, once the pandemic is over how will this affect your business? Sales in the new world model. The big reset will mean learning and adjusting.
8. Further observations on how you, your organisation or your industry sector is adapting to the Covid-19 crisis. Outdoor advertising is significantly down and this impacts all staff and their motivation to succeed. Safe adjustment of restrictions should ease the mental strain that avoiding loved ones is causing.
Head of Programmatic
1. What are the biggest challenges currently facing your industry sector? OOH media is reliant on people moving, so the fact that we are now living local has impacted a large proportion of the OOH market; largely roadside, transit and leisure (being Gyms and cafes). In saying this, people are still out and about and essential retail has remained in a very strong position with limited declines in foot traffic within local shopping centres.
2. How has your business been able to adapt to the new landscape we are currently operating in? Our centres are anchored by supermarkets, with 100% digital inventory and best in market technology which enables us to see audiences numbers in real time. Our wi-fi technology has enabled us to deliver relevant up to date insights to agencies and clients, showcasing the strength of our centres during this time. For us, the main focus is showing how relevant essential retail, and how it is an OOH category still engaging with millions of Australians weekly.
3. How do you see behaviours changing as we move from an ‘in-person’ or ‘on-location’ to an online interactive with clients and customers? I think the fact that technology is already a huge part of our day to day lives, not much will change. The interactions we are still having with our clients include fitness classes, wine tasting and lunches - as well as presentations of course. Work from home (WFH) if anything made us more accepting of technology, and better at managing meetings and time - less meetings for the sake of meetings.
4. How has your daily routine changed since working remotely? I have gone from 8 hours in the office 3 days a week to 6 hours broken up over 5 days. I have 2 kids under 4, so have had to juggle them, and my husband all home. Splitting our days into 2 hours blocks and allocating Monday to Wednesday nights to work has gotten us through. We have also found more time for exercise and being a family, which is a nice bonus.
5. How do you feel the new working conditions caused by COVID-19 will impact future company policies on staff working from home? I think more businesses will be open to flexible working conditions.
6. Have you continued hiring new roles? If so, what types of roles are deemed business critical in your organisation? We had 2 new hires in the early weeks of CV-19 which got the business where it needed to be. For us, our marketing and insights team have been critical and will continue to be as we move out of this to a new norm.
For more information about recruitment for Sales, Marketing & Communications professionals in Australia during Covid-19, please contact one of the Carter Murray Australia team.