The race is about to begin!
When we heard the news on Covid-19 far away in China, not many of us thought about implications it may bring in only a month or so to our shores. Now, the stock markets have plummeted, the shops are struggling with demand. The bars, cinemas, art galleries, pubs, theatres, restaurants are closed and the events, whether social or business, are postponed or cancelled. The sky is blue (today at least) and, at least where I live, for the first time in a decade, there are no signs of air traffic. I had two instances like this before in my life. One after 11/09/2001 and the second when the ash cloud covered the European continent in 2010. The world has stalled, and we are told it’s going to last for quite a while.
Since last month we have been redrawing our entire growth strategies and more recently, how we can ensure our businesses can indeed survive. We are coming up with the new innovative ideas on how to engage with the potential and current clients while making sure our businesses stay solvent during the current challenging times. Apart from some retail business giants and online retailers, our previous targets seem to be somewhat more challenging. All of that due to the uncertainty at an unprecedented level. Every company I have recently been talking to has stopped or limited to the bare minimum of its marketing spend. Activities are now limited to a survival level.
As at least three-quarters of the population must stay at home, all marketing professionals try to reach out to those who were asked to change their habits. We all are coming up with novel and unconventional ideas on how to grasp a moment of their attention. For the first time in our lives, all marketing communications, including adverts and offers, have to reach people’s homes. Outdoor signs, posters have lost their appeal temporarily, and the radio stations listened during the morning and afternoon commutes have lost some of their audience. Instead, we are channelling everything online and stream all the communication to our mobiles and PC’s on demand. But what about good old direct marketing. My guess is, it will be soon one of the most relevant channels of communications. Direct mail, ads in the local press and local community bulletins will regain their presence. All smart marketeers will be recycling the very traditional channels of communications to deliver clever new messaging to society before our current situation relaxes and returns to some kind of normality, soon hopefully.
But is this enough? Well, I can argue the case it is not. What we all should be doing is planning for the time post Covid-19. Sooner or later, our world will return to normal. Dust will settle, and the airlines and museums will resume full operations. Cinemas will reopen, and bars will serve food 24hrs. What is most exciting, no-one will stay at home, and everyone will be enjoying their lives spending time out and away from whence they were isolated! If you start planning your marketing activities around that time, you may as well pack your bags now. The critical thing is, as the world resets, and we don’t know how much time it takes to reboot, we have to start planning now on how to get back into and win the race once the world’s operating system is back up and running. At that point all the shops will need brand new points of sales for their product offers, every pub will have a promotion, each institution will require engaging adverts. All businesses will demand a new set of printing materials with a clever design and engaging positive messaging. Life as we knew it will bounce back!
Contrary to the previous status quo all of us and I mean all of us will have the same starting point, and all of us will have the same chances to win the most significant part of the cake called market share. The future state of your brand depends critically on the next few weeks and your plans and preparation to be active in the race. Start preparing now and let’s be ready when the time comes!
Milo Ferchow, Marketing Manager, Vpress Ltd
27TH MARCH 2020