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Helping Local Branches to Stay in Touch with Customers during COVID

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Joep Donders Marvia

How Joep Donders, CEO of Marvia is activating local marketing potential for brands and the impact of Covid-19 on his business.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Joep Donders: We are doing well. With two young kids and the closing of schools, it has been challenging. But with the vaccinations kicking off, the summer around the corner, we are looking forward to the next month where the people around us can pick up their lives again.

Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Marvia.

Joep Donders: I started off at TNT/ PostNL as a management trainee. In 2013, I joined Marvia (at that time, a business unit of PostNL). After running the company for a few years, Merlijn Bruijnes (CTO) and I acquired the company from PostNL.

How does Marvia innovate? 

Joep Donders: Innovation is in our DNA. We are constantly looking at ways to improve our software or keep our eyes open for new techniques or channels to add to the existing software. Furthermore, we have innovation and growth constructed in our way of working: 

– Every third week, our development team has room for its own research/ innovative projects. 

– We work with quarterly OKR’s, where the whole team is working towards one Objective/ Key Result

– Our UX/ UI team is continuously checking with customers/ users what needs are, how we can improve our software to fulfill these needs. 

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?

Joep Donders: Businesswise, we are doing well. Although some of our customers are going through tough times, we are glad that we help them to still be in touch with their customer base. Our software enables local dealers/ franchisers/ partners to bring across the right message without losing the power of the central brand, which is now more important than ever. 

Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?

Joep Donders: Not really. We have learned that we have a solid customer base and business model. I am especially proud of our team; all of the Marvians perform really well and add their contribution working from home/ remote. I believe the fundament for this was laid in pre-COVID teams, where we already had a strong team.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Joep Donders: Of course, Hangouts, Slack, and other digital channels. Our development team was already working in scrum, and we have introduced elements of scrum to the rest of the team (daily online standups, for example)

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Joep Donders: Other DAM and Brand Management platforms. We differentiate with a focus on the activation of your local marketing potential. This means not just the building of smart software but also providing guidance on how to involve your organization with the help of our customer success team and our customer maturity matrix.

Your final thoughts?

Joep Donders: I hope that we can take these final COVID hurdles successfully. Especially for the entrepreneurs who have worked hard to grow their business over the past years and have been forced to shut down completely. I cannot imagine how frustrating that must be, but I hope that we can give them a jump start once they are opening up again.

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