The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the global community into a worldwide standstill, affecting 6.2 million people across 210 countries as of June 2, 2020, with a significantly huge one-third statistical chunk coming from the United States.
The pandemic has brought not only serious health issues and mortality concerns, it has also driven the world into a new recession, which experts deemed worse than the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2008.
But while most economies continue with their implementation of containment protocols, while monitoring trends in new infection cases, many areas are slowly easing up on quarantine measures. Identified businesses are allowed to reopen, while the rest of the community prepare themselves as they usher in the New Normal.
Still, the impact on the global economy is not insignificant, and most of the community still maintain caution for fear of a second wave rebound. This is a real-life scenario that is happening across the globe.
As the gears of economy slowly move from its grinding halt, businesses are slowly rising from their brief but highly-impacting hiatus, adopting new strategies that can help them thrive in the New Normal, and implement marketing campaigns that can deliver favorable results – even in the Age of the Pandemic.
Economic Impact of the Pandemic
The whole world is practically in a virtual lockdown that is sending ripples of an economic crisis felt all the way from Beijing to Rome, an economic meltdown that has not been seen for several decades.
Let’s consider the current situation.
- Decline of the Global Economy
The global economy is expected to have a significant drop of 3% in output this 2020 according to the IMF. The World Bank is forecasting similar figures, putting the global GDP to fall to a low 4% below the baseline.
- Reduced Manufacturing and Retail Activities
As governments brace for the health impact of the COVID-19 threat, lockdown protocols and quarantine measures were implemented at various levels on a global scale. The general populace has no resort but to stay at home, leaving frontline healthcare and national security personnel at the forefront in this war against a pandemic.
With these imposed health measures, most establishments are forced to stop or limit operations. Hardest hit are the retail and service industries, with most of their workers forced to stay at home. In the United States, a significant drop of 8.7% in retail sales, creating a big impact in this industry.
Manufacturing is limited to essential products and support materials, but restrictions and limited operations have created a worst decline in manufacturing output, since the early days of the manufacturing revolution in the 1940s.
- Unemployment Rates on the Rise
With the global slowdown in most industries, what comes next is the inevitable rise of unemployment, as many businesses would not be able to survive in this downturn.
In the United States, the US Department of Labor has reported that unemployment rates in April has shot up all the way to 14.7%, the highest rate ever recorded since the department started recording official employment rate data.
Although there were no official data during the Great Depression, it was estimated that the unemployment rate was close to 24.9%. With the Department of Labor reporting an additional 9 million unemployed individuals in May, the rate is expected to shoot up by more than 20%, close to figures estimated from the Great Depression era.
- Disruption of the Global Supply Chain
With the slowdown in the economy and most countries implementing lockdown protocols, the global supply chain is gravely disrupted, with traffic limited to highly essential commodities. Many industries are starting to report spare parts supply shortages, and the situation could only get worse as origin countries continue flight restrictions and travel bans.
- Falling Global Stock Markets
It would be normal to assume that the global stock market is expected to be hit hard, and indeed the market has suffered significant downfalls with the Dow Jones reporting a 3,000-point drop last March 16, 2020, the largest single-day fall they have ever reported.
Consumer and Business Insights in a Pandemic Economy
The following describes a look into various consumer and business insights that various markets would be facing in this Pandemic economy.
- General Fear of the Unknown
Looming above the heads of every individual is the grim threat of COVID-19 infection, but what’s even alarming is the general fear of the unknown. It is a time of uncertainty and even experts could only guess at the continuous impact the pandemic is wreaking on the economy.
In these uncertain times, businesses have no resort but to cut down on expenditures, delay investments, and limit purchases that they otherwise would have done on BAU days. But with the New Normal in the horizon, all previously normal activities are put on hold or postponed indefinitely.
- It Pays to Have an Emergency Fund
Businesses affected by quarantine measures and slowdown in operations would now see the value of having an emergency fund. A global pandemic is definitely one of the scenarios where an emergency fund covering 6 months or more would come in handy, and for many businesses, would be a critical means for survival.
- Government Stimuli May Be Ineffective
Various government bodies across the globe are implementing their own economic stimuli programs, like the $2 Trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act in the United States which President Trump signed into law back in March 27.
However, while the stimuli can directly help people who have lost their jobs, by receiving monetary support directly to their households, some experts claim that the relief is dampen by the difficulty in spending and procuring goods and supplies as most shops are closed.
How to Restart Marketing in the Age of Pandemic
The World Health Organization has pronounced that the strongest defense against the spread of the COVID-19 virus is for people to stay at home, and these include the myriad consumers availing various products and services on a daily basis.
Businesses are forced to limit their spending due to the economic downturn, but in order to survive they still need to connect and engage with their clients and regular consumers.
So, how will businesses continue to market their products and services in the New Normal and this new Age of the Pandemic?
- Increase Your Presence on Media Platforms
With most people staying at home, it is not a surprise that the global consumption of media content has gone up as high as 60% which is significantly historically high.
The Nielsen Total Audience Report highlighted that in the United States alone, the average consumer is spending as much as 12 hours each day on various media platforms, particularly TV-linked devices and subscriptions to streaming services.
Even traditional television is on the rebound, with a global upward trend of people spending longer time engaged with their TV.
Marketers should take these platforms into consideration, adjust their content to suite these platforms, and implement new strategies on how they can reach targeted audiences and hold their attention longer in these platforms at various time periods.
- Re-Examine Your Brand Messaging
With most consumers focused on the what is happening on the world right now, brands and businesses should also re-examine their brand and advertising messaging to see if these are in line with the current pulse of the community.
No matter what product or service you are marketing, your marketing strategy should relay the message on how your brand is making an impact on the community. Look for new and creative ways on how you can engage your targeted customers and get this messaging out.
- Become the Brand that Target Consumers Remember
The consumption of media is at an all-time high, and even television consumption in the United States has gone up by up to 29%. But despite this, many brands and businesses are disregarding this trend and instead are reducing their marketing spend in these platforms by as much as 40%.
Marketers should not cut all of their advertising budget and take this opportunity to become the brand that their targeted consumers remember, even amidst this global crisis. They can do this by taking advantage of advertising platforms now, particularly on many advertising packages, reduced costs and bargains that they can avail now.
- Execute a Cross-Platform Online Marketing Strategy
With consumers on the upward trend in media consumption across various platforms, it would be to a marketer’s greatest advantage to execute a cross-platform marketing strategy to reach a bigger and wider range of consumer presence.
With face-to-face engagements and physical stores limited in operations, consumers are forced into quarantine at home and have no resort but to rely heavily on digital communication to connect with the world.
In this reality, marketers should take advantage and implement these Online Marketing Strategies that they should focus on in the Age of Pandemics:
- Create and Optimize their Website and Website Content for Search Engine visibility
- Optimize your websites and other online real estate to deliver a superior online user experience
- Strategize, plan and execute an Omnichannel Digital Marketing program to reach out to targeted customers wherever they are and whatever platform they may be
- Engage with your targeted consumers on a deeper level with a more engaging and more effective social media marketing campaign and strategy
- Get highly targeted audiences directly to your landing pages and websites through Pay-Per-Click (PPC) online advertising
- If you have products to sell, optimize the eCommerce functionality on your websites, so you can give a better and more engaging user experience to targeted clients
- Take advantage of engaging tools to connect and communicate with your clients by providing them with easy-to-use Online Chat Tools and a comprehensive online FAQ which they can readily use and rely on for inquiries
- Make it easy for your prospective clients to meet with you online by providing an easy to use Virtual Appointment booking facility
- Educate your targeted clients and teach them the impact of your products and services to the community by offering free webinars, virtual conferences, and online meetings, and make these available throughout your omnichannel presence.
- Make Use and Leverage on Analytics
Make use of immersive analytics programs and services to give you an insight of your marketing operations and ensure that every dollar you spend on marketing is delivering the results you want.
Your analytics programs should be flexible enough to provide you with useful insights on both marketing and non-marketing activities, distinguish and identify the factors that create the biggest impact, and secure information that will help you make decisions that will point your business in the right direction.
The Take Away
To protect their constituents against the looming threat of the COVID-19 pandemic., it is necessary to implement lockdown protocols and quarantine measures that forces most of the population to stay in the safety on their homes.
But keeping the populace safe from a health perspective would result in a significant impact on the economy that is expected to have prolonged effects even after this global pandemic has been resolved.
Now that the global economy is slowly rising from the ashes as the wheels of the economy start to make their turn, as much as 41% of businesses are taking advantage of the New Normal and ride on the global momentum and high appetite for media content that quarantined consumers have.
As marketers, you should not remain ideal and take advantage of these trends as well, implementing sound and effective digital marketing principles and strategies that are sure to generate results, social distancing aside, in this pandemic era.
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