digitalThe lockdown caused by COVID-19 brought dormant deficits in structures and business models to the surface. Two realities have emerged more clearly than ever, namely that of progressive technological possibilities and sticking to established structures, which requires getting the two worlds in line on a daily basis.

The signs clearly indicate an atmosphere of departure after a state of shock due to canceled trade fairs and abrupt standstill from full speed. The restrictions imposed from outside were a wake-up call for the innovative strength and the inventive spirit of the manufacturing industry and its service providers. Long-held concerns had to give way to beneficial pragmatism. Leaving the comfort zone, using the technical possibilities, and using digital tools for customer and employee communication, after a short orientation phase, led to the final departure into the digitized age.

There will be no way back after the Corona crisis either: virtual and analogue will have to complement each other in the future. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and automation processes are already playing central roles in various areas. Highly complex tasks would no longer be possible with conventional methods and without the use of technology. However, developing a strategic brand foundation holistically, in harmony with identity, technology and "emotion, is important in the face of a new era.

The three aspects play a central role in marketing as well, since we will work today and in the future increasingly with new technologies and tools that help us make data-based decisions to be able to react quickly to changing market trends. The current crisis shows this impressively with the multitude of technologies coming into operation. Not to mention that in the midst of the constant flood of data, we must not forget that the customer remains the main drivers of purchase decisions. Especially in times of crisis, marketing must reflect on its confidence-building function and counteract the effects of the crunch with concrete measures.

SMEs currently demonstrate a high degree of agility and willingness to innovate and this boost should be used to keep going across all areas.

By Daniela La Marca