Most chief marketing officers have temporary plans in place to connect with consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The growing question among many is just how long coronavirus will be around—and are brands prepared to manage a prolonged pandemic?
More and more governors are ordering their citizens to stay home unless absolutely necessary. On the other hand, some health officials are predicting the pandemic could be over in two months. President Donald Trump himself recently said much of America would be back to work by Easter (he has since backed away from that plan, and extended federal social distancing guidelines until April 30). Some U.K. officials believe the pandemic won’t be over until next year.
Irrespective of the predictions, the consensus among marketers is that ecommerce will be stronger than before regardless of when the pandemic ends. Marketers should devise future strategies with that in mind. Brands that’ve been delaying investments in attending to deficits in their technology would be wise to do so sooner than later. Acting now will afford them with the tools needed to move forward and adjust more quickly when the crisis is over.
Partnering on cause-related marketing with one or more relevant partners now may be one of the best strategies to maximize existing budgets while connecting with new customers and maintaining the loyalty of existing ones.
Many businesses now required to have their employees work from home weren’t prepared for this eventuality. Most employees, understandably, never had or needed to work remotely. Some didn’t have laptops to take home. So now, while companies are purchasing or renting laptops and their IT techs are preparing their companies for remote capabilities, other near-term questions need to be addressed: does the company have the bandwidth and capacity to handle virtual meetings? With so many employees working remotely, is security adequate?
Amazon’s recent announcement that it will be hiring 100,000 temporary workers in anticipation of increased demand should’ve sent a strong signal to marketers that some companies are in for the long haul. And if online shopping accelerates as predicted by some, are brands equipped to handle the flood? The founder of ecommerce company Netalico said one of his clients already experienced a 2,000 percent increase in online sales the week of March 9 alone.
Some U.S. companies began thinking about relocating their manufacturing facilities in 2018 after the Trump administration placed tariffs on goods manufactured there. Most remained but a growing number are reconsidering relocation in light of COVID-19.
Short term or long, the consensus now is that any messaging—even after the pandemic is over, whenever that may be—needs to be sensitive to not offend. Satoru Wakeshima, Chief Engagement Officer at New York marketing firm CBX told Adweek that includes avoiding pictures of large crowds and picnics.
Many companies will still sustain losses during the pandemic and can only plan on keeping them as low as possible. On the brighter side, if China is any indication, there are signs of recovery beginning to occur. By some accounts, the pandemic may end sooner rather than later, and the chances of economic recovery in that case are promising according to some observers.