September 29, 2020

How to steer successfully through a crisis

At last year’s performance level – with four new clients

Within a few days in mid-March 2020, the market situation changed for many of the Ruess Group’s clients, for the agency itself, as well as for the entire industry. Steffen Rueß, managing partner of the Ruess Group, summarises the challenges faced over the past months. A total of four new clients have so far been acquired in spite of the Corona crisis. This allows a sales forecast above last year’s level and allows an optimistic perspective towards 2021.

Fortunately, the B2B sector is not quite as volatile and therefore less vulnerable than B2C. Many of our clients reduced their budgets only slightly. To be able to address existing customers and go after new leads, some complemented their activities with digital projects such as virtual trade fairs. We are broadly based in terms of the services we offer and can therefore react quickly and flexibly.

Thanks to notable success in digital projects, we were virtually ready to launch alternative communication channels – in the challenging COVID era. Our many years of expertise as a digital agency, combined with our other communication disciplines, allow us to develop comprehensively integrated concepts that work as a whole – in spite of current uncertainties regarding live events or personal contact.

Digital transformation in marketing

We are currently in strong demand for consulting services targeted towards the digital transformation of marketing and sales. Corona is acting as a catalyst here and is bringing highly innovative formats to the starting line. Our experts in virtual trade fairs and virtual experiences are driving this development forward – together with our clients – some of whom are opening up new budgets in view of being ideally positioned for 2021.

Our clients trust our expertise and have daringly embarked on new paths with us. For example, our existing client Sappi, market and innovation leader in packaging and specialty papers. Due to the cancellation of the leading international interpack 2020 trade fair, Sappi had to find another way to stay in touch with its customers, to present innovations and generate new sales leads. The virtual trade fair developed by the Ruess Group with numerous interactive modules such as live chats with the involvement of the sales team impressed even the headquarters in Johannesburg. Further digital formats are now under development.

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A wide range of services are in demand

After five months of crisis, this strategic course of action has more than proven itself. Our broad expertise enables us to always offer our clients the right solution to address the specific market situation. The mix of very different industry focuses (mechanical engineering, packaging, medical technology, mobility, construction/living) as well as our global orientation has also proven strategically on tagret.

We are now in the advantageous position of experiencing stable demand for our wide range of services, especially in the digital and content sectors. In addition to growth with bold and proactive existing clients, four new clients from a wide range of industries and with different issues are also involved, such as bdtronic (mechanical engineering), Lisec (glass processing machines), Widex (hearing aid manufacturer) and Tampoprint (printing machines).

Aiming for an increase over the previous year

Most of our clients reacted in a way that was very level-headed and with the realisation that companies that maintain their sales and marketing activities will quickly emerge from a short-term crisis and gain market share. For this reason, we are currently assuming that our gross income will grow by as much as five per cent in 2020 compared to 2019.