The outbreak of coronavirus, COVID-19, is a declared pandemic. The global effects of illness, death and disruption are growing. This is first and foremost a health crisis, but the marketplace consequences are profound as well.
Certain industries’ vulnerabilities amid the coronavirus pandemic are obvious. Government edicts and voluntary cancelations are curtailing the travel and tourism industry. Sports and entertainment are coming to a standstill as the NCAA and professional leagues cancel games and venues such as Disney theme parks and Universal Studios Hollywood close.
The coronavirus pandemic is making “behind the scenes” marketing impacts as well. Supply chain concerns have mounted since China stands as the center of both the outbreak and global manufacturing. Many businesses are urging telecommuting as part of “social distancing,” actions to reduce disease transmission by limiting face-to-face contact.
Some speculate that social distancing will boost e-commerce; however, supply chain issues and consumer uncertainty could undercut sales. Per the latter, financial indices are prime indicators of the pandemic’s psychological impact, with stocks falling into bear territory. Another indicator is panic buying of toilet paper, water, canned food, and hand sanitizer, prompting retailers to ration sales.
The coronavirus pandemic delivers a monumental lesson in situational analysis, an early stage of marketing planning that assesses the market landscape, including market environmental forces. The SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis comes at the end of situational analysis, with relevant market environmental forces listed as Opportunities if positive and Threats if negative.
The pandemic is a Threat to companies large and small around the world, emblematic of a global economy. Businesses are coping with this disruption now and must plan for pandemics in the future using lessons from the current crisis. Maintaining customer trust during the pandemic is mandatory. Examples of trustworthiness include airlines and hotels making it easy for guests to cancel or change bookings.
It is not ungodly to think like marketers during the coronavirus pandemic. On the contrary, we must steward our ventures and be servant leaders for our customers.
Proverbs 24:10 (GNT)
If you are weak in a crisis, you are weak indeed.
Are most crises foreseeable? Could marketers have foreseen the effects of the coronavirus pandemic?
Are all businesses today “global?” If so, how can small businesses deal with global marketing impacts?