The world of marketing and communications is changing every year, requiring market players to adapt and adopt new strategies. Pandemic, switch to online, budget cuts, outflow of foreign customers, blocking popular sites – the usual tools are no longer working or are ineffective. We discussed the state of the marketing market and directions of its development with Svetlana Goretskaya, expert in the field of marketing communications, company business development director at Logos Group.
– The year is coming to an end, and we can safely talk about its results. At your opinion, did the domestic marketing sector cope with the changes that rapidly collapsed on it recently?
– You’re right, the last three years have been a real challenge for marketers. As they say, in order not to be dead, they, like their campaigns, had to “be fast.” And it seems that professional resourcefulness did not fail – the market is stabilizing, already in the second quarter of this year, almost all segments showed positive dynamics.
The advertising sector has grown compared to pre-pandemic times and shows the maximum volumes in its history. The event market is also showing growth. It is especially noticeable among those who are focused on working with the public sector and domestic customers. Companies are increasing resources, increasing marketing budgets to take a large market share. This proves that the industry has adapted to the new conditions.
– Yes, the industry has had a hard time in recent years, and it’s good that you look positively at change. And how do you assess changes in the customer market landscape?
– Of course, all geopolitical and economic events did not pass for us without a trace. But our industry is very sensitive and very mobile. Companies responded flexibly to the situation and reoriented quickly to the domestic market. After the massive outflow of world brands, domestic IT companies, banks, retail and state corporations became key customers.
If earlier it was a more commercial story – they relied on world brands, now the principles of obtaining the client have completely changed. The reformatted customer pool requires new approaches, formats and knowledge, and we are actively mastering them.
Separately, I would like to note the fundamental changes in event marketing. All the events of recent times led us to the point “No time for entertainment.” But the need for networking cannot be abolished. People need to meet, find out industry news, exchange opinions. Business events are the most appropriate format for these tasks. If everything is clear about the business part and working with state-owned companies, then with regard to agency experience, I would like to say that never before have industry professionals felt so acutely the need to unite in a community. Realizing that we are all in the same boat, people went to people to brainstorm, share, learn the opinion of colleagues and find solutions together, determine development vectors. The combination of these two factors influenced the growth of the number of business events: exhibitions, festivals, events, and conferences.
– An uplifting story. I’m probably going to add a little bit of black paint now. And what about foreign customers – everyone left?
– Well, as it is customary to say now, they did not leave, but “suspended their activities”… until better times. The marketing industry, as I said, is one of the most flexible ones, and it adjusts quickly to the situation. In fact, the market is still transforming, and interested Russian and Asian brands occupy free niches.
– Then let’s discuss your customer experience. Is there a difference in the approaches of foreign and Russian companies? What is it manifested in?
– Yes, we work with public customers. If we argue from the position of business, then yes, a state contract is a guarantee of staff employment, even during a crisis. On the other hand, this is an unusually large volume of document flow, the need for narrow-profile specialists and readiness for long periods of payments for the services performed. Besides, a state contract is always a postpayment, even when performing the most complex and well-funded projects. Another point – no matter what excellent relationship you build with the customer, this does not negate the need to go through the tender procedure. It is time consuming, but worth it! Such projects are always a challenge to the team. They encourage the integration and activation of all resources and expertise to find approaches to the customer and solve their problems. Working with public projects is always a good school and experience, especially for those who have just taken this path.
– By the way, you mentioned that Asian brands entered the market, let’s talk about them – is this a trend?
– Yes, this is an unconditional trend. You know, now we are watching the “Dragon Era” come – the number of Chinese brands entering our market is growing rapidly. For example, literally this summer, Russia became the leader in the import of Chinese cars. Chinese products – from gadgets to large household appliances – have become the most popular among Russians. State-owned Chinese corporations are entering the Russian market, capable of providing the Russian consumer with inexpensive but high-quality goods.
We understand that the future of the marketing industry of Russian business directly depends on new manufacturers coming to the market, including Asian ones. Now the task of our sphere is to help Chinese businesses adapt to the Russian market, to shift the bridge between the perception of our consumers and the capabilities of Chinese companies. It is also important to overcome the stereotypical thinking that Chinese production is cheap and poor quality. Extensive experience with Asian manufacturers allows us as experts to declare that this is the very stereotype that it is time to eradicate.
The process of transforming Chinese suppliers has begun. Large brands attract intermediaries – Russian companies who advise how to repack the product so that the Russian buyer likes it. In fact, Russian companies take on the role of translator and guide on the way of the Chinese manufacturer to the Russian market.
– Are there any features in the approaches to working with Chinese companies? Is this a whole new experience?
– Friendship between Russia and China has extensive roots and a long history. Although we are very different, we find points of interaction and sometimes intersections. In connection with the massive entry of Chinese brands into the Russian market, we trace an interesting trend. If yesterday Chinese brands entered the market “as is” – without adapting their materials and feed to the Russian market, now, as access to our market ceased to be point one and switched to flow, their attitude is changing. Chinese brands realized that without knowledge and understanding of the characteristics of the market, culture, worldview and other nuances that make up the mysterious Russian soul, they will not be able to gain a foothold with us.
– How do you think all the above will affect the future of marketing industry in Russia? Where do we go in 2024?
– Forecasts are thankless, especially in our rapidly changing realities, but I will try to identify the main vectors. 2024 according to the Chinese calendar is the year of the Dragon, and this is very symbolic, because Chinese manufacturers will continue to master our market: new brands, corporations, products. The same “Dragon Era” that I talked about.
The time for serious transformations and discoveries is coming. We will adapt our strategies to the features of the Asian market, including, of course, we will use more digital tools, actively involve AI in the work, become more technological and immerse ourselves in metaverse, and continue to hone the flexibility and creativity of our teams.
But do not forget that we fully support the Russian manufacturer in all areas. That is why work on government contracts will be the second important area of development of the industry, where we can show our skills. The green dragon is a symbol of the coming year, good start, wealth and wisdom. I believe that everyone who is not afraid of change and is ready to adapt and work is waiting for success. And marketing, of course, will continue to evolve and give all of us new opportunities and joy from doing what we love.