March 16, 2020

5 Positive Thoughts for Marketers Amid the COVID-19 Crisis

By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc. 

After a weekend that saw millions of Americans hoarding food and other supplies and hunkering down in their homes because of the new coronavirus, it’s time for marketers to think about a few positives that may arise from this ongoing crisis.

Here are five such positives that come to our mind, as the new coronavirus, called COVID-19, continues to change people’s lives, and the marketing landscape, on a daily basis worldwide:

1) Keep Thinking ‘Digital First’

In China, where COVID-19 originated, the numbers of cases and deaths are dwindling as that country seems to have gotten a grip against the new virus. The Associated Press reported today that China had listed but 16 new cases of the coronavirus in the previous 24 hours. The country now has 80,860 confirmed cases, from which 67,749 patients have recovered. Fourteen more deaths were reported in the last 24 hours, meanwhile, raising the toll in China to 3,213.

Ping An, one of China’s largest insurers, has been using a platform called Good Doctor to help battle the new virus technologically among the country’s isolated masses, Yahoo Finance reports.

“They have now more than 300 million users on their platform in China [and] they are a key to responding to the coronavirus outbreak,” Jeremie Capron, director of research at ROBO Global, told Yahoo.

He said that as the outbreak has disrupted the daily lives of the Chinese people, it has presented a number of opportunities for artificial intelligence, telehealth and other technologies.

“If you step back and look at the big picture numbers, the use of technology in health care … is still fairly limited,” he said. “Health care is one of the big economic sectors that (has) one of the lowest levels of digitization.”

2) Target Those Baby Boomers

Because people 60 years and older are considered the most susceptible to the new virus’ most deadly symptoms, many of them may start turning to online platforms for such daily chores as buying food and medicine, eMarketer says.

“Since older individuals are the ones for whom the virus has been most fatal, they may be especially likely to alter their behavior,” said eMarketer analyst Mark Dolliver.

“This could mean more adoption of ecommerce, an area where they’ve been laggards. People whose attitude has been ‘I’d rather die than buy online’ may rethink this if they feel going to crowded, germy stores truly could kill them.”

3) Target Regionally, Thanks to National Delays

Because shipping delays are expected from the bigger e-commerce suppliers, marketers may want to convince local grocery stores to target their marketing to such services as home delivery. Those home-delivery services benefit not only the aforementioned elderly population who are more susceptible to the new virus, but also those moms and dads who are busy working from home while their offspring also are at home and studying online.

Those hoping to order household items and groceries from Amazon Prime Now can expect delays in their orders, eMarketer also noted last week, with the Amazon site and mobile app informing consumers that “at this time, delivery availability may be limited.”

“It’s understandable, given the uncertainty around coronavirus, that vulnerable populations are avoiding physical environments that increase the chance of exposure,” said Andrew Lipsman, principal analyst at eMarketer.

“But their household needs don’t simply go away and may even increase with many looking to stockpile resources.”

4) The Web Is Making Conference Calls Easier

Before the new coronavirus outbreak, maybe your company already used the likes of JoinMe or Google Hangouts for online conferencing. Expect more of that, what with conferencing now needed for the many millions who are working from home rather than commuting to their office.

As ZDNet reported recently: “Fortunately, many video-conferencing services are now offering free access to their services for a limited time to help make life easier during the pandemic.

“Cisco’s WebEx, for example, reported that traffic on its backbone connecting China-based Webex users has increased by 22 times since the outbreak began. At the same time, it’s seen four to five times as many users in Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, with the average time spent on Webex video meetings doubling among users in those countries.”

5) Staying Up-to-Date About COVID-19It’s difficult to turn on the TV without hearing about the new coronavirus, of course, but as far as business news, marketing news and general news, consecutively, are concerned, we suggest these resources: LinkedIn’s Daily Rundown, eMarketer’s shopping trends coverage and The Associated Press’ daily roundup of COVID-19.

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