How to market in the Coronavirus pandemic

Nothing can disrupt a bustling economy like a pandemic. That is exactly what is happening now with the Coronavirus. The threat has affected every business from healthcare concerns of employees to shortages of products due to panic buying to cancellation of activities and events. Firms are already reporting 42% slower sales and 39% of respondents to a National Federation on Independent Business Survey, said they are experiencing disruptions in their supply chain.

President Trump has taken aggressive action by declaring a National Emergency and enlisting the aid and support of private industry. Immediate steps are being taken to provide local testing facilities and rapid response in addition to accelerating the approval and availability of a vaccine and medical equipment. In spite of the unprecedented proactive efforts by the Trump administration, concerns and fears prevail.

Negative PR is not helping. During the 2010 N1N1 outbreak 12,000 died and 300,000 were hospitalized and newscasters assured the public not to panic. Today Main Stream Media has done little to soothe fears of Americans in spite of only about 14,000 cases which have been reported and 200 deaths. Instead, News Reports have used this crisis to continue their adversarial political agenda.

Every business has been impacted in some form or another. From travel and event shut downs to record sales emptying supermarket shelves and two-hour lines waiting to get into Costco. It may be overreacting, fear or aggressive precaution but it is affecting sales in one way or the other. Some businesses will have only temporary disruption like the delivery of toilet paper, while others like the Cruise Line Industry may continue to suffer as the market may have a negative long-term memory.

How to address current issues and concerns. Take steps to assure staff, employees and customers that you are doing everything possible to make your facility sanitary. Install hand sanitizer dispensers… increase janitorial services… be knowledgeable where local testing facilities are to inform workers and customers. Be organized and have meetings to inform your staff on steps you have taken.

This is a business aberration. Marketers must realize that this disruption will not last. Be proactive and plan for the recovery. Getting your business back on-line can be an aggressive revamping and modifying your marketing strategy from lessons learned. This is an opportunity to evaluate changing market conditions that you can capitalize on. Consulting with a marketing professional for a marketing analysis on how to take advantage of current opportunities, will help your business.

By Tom Smisek Marketing Consultant,  Orange County California