What Lessons Can The Coronavirus Teach Us About Marketing?

Each passing day, the globe is increasingly concerned with the spread of the deadly Coronavirus, and rightly so. In addition to being a serious public health crisis, the economic blowback is taking a punishing toll across multiple industries. Nobody in their right mind is getting on a cruise ship, air travel is being eschewed and elective business travel for conferences is falling off a cliff. 

The automotive industry is being impacted as well, with Goldman Sachs publishing an article today predicting a 3.5% decline in retail auto sales as a direct result of supply chain issues in China, where Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi all source parts/components critical to production. 

Before all is said and done, it is hard to imagine an industry that won’t be in some way impacted by this global crisis. But in the spirit of looking on the bright side, what lessons can we glean from the Coronavirus as it relates to marketing? 

Be Consistent: Every day, many times a day, people are washing their hands on more regular/consistent basis. This focus, this frequency, is making a difference in deterrence on the virus. With marketing, consistency is key…not just being active EVERY day of the month, but delivering a message with the requisite amount of frequency to cause people to take action.

Be Open to Change: The spread of this new virus is forcing people to change plans, whether that is doing a web conference in lieu of a convention OR looking for alternatives for a looming spring break trip. In marketing, this same flexibility can pay dividends. When the environment changes, when new competitors emerge, a yes-wide-open attitude towards available media choices can pay dividends as well. The marketing habits that sustained your business in the last decade won’t be the same ones that sustain your business in the next decade. Experimenting with new media, being wiling be the first to try a new creative approach are signs of marketing intelligence. Failing to change when circumstances change is a recipe for failure. 

Stay Optimistic: We’ll get past this virus, in part due to science but also on the backs of an optimism that underpins the American spirit. We’re not going down without a fight, and it’s a fight we can win. Staying optimistic with your brand messaging has upside potential as well. Even in unstable times, people will respond to a message of hope, of optimism.  Does your marketing tell a positive story about your people, your processes, your product? When you’re able to compete not on price but on positivity, that’s a winning recipe for any business.