How must marketing adapt at this uncertain moment? To find out, we interviewed C-level marketing executives at dozens of billion-dollar brands across industries, asking them how their organizations had weathered the storm and were assessing the future.
Together, we’ve assembled a library of resources, tips, and advice to make this incredible body of knowledge accessible to mid-market and small- to medium-sized business marketers navigating this new reality. On the Marketing After Covid Project site, you’ll find:
- Podcast episodes with senior marketers answering the question, “What does marketing look like in a post-COVID-19 world?”
- Resources and articles on marketing best practices
- Strategies to strengthen and enhance your marketing during and after the pandemic
- Career insights and advice for those marketers who happen to find themselves unemployed as a result of COVID-19
New resources are added weekly as the situation evolves, so check back often.
Who Cares About Marketing During a Global Crisis?
Marketing is critical right now. Before you react, hear us out.
Don’t get us wrong. The COVID-19 pandemic has called upon much more important players than us, from the frontline workers keeping families fed and supplies delivered to healthcare professionals risking their lives to government officials making tough decisions. Their efforts will be remembered for generations.
As marketers, we don’t have much impact on the virus itself. What marketers can do, however, is help guide us all towards an economic recovery.
When economies suffer, people suffer
The COVID-19 pandemic has created both a public health crisis and an economic crisis. Each is dangerous and consequential on an individual level.
Clearly, we understand the tremendous public health toll the pandemic has taken on our lives. We may know loved ones who have lost their lives to the outbreak, or we may have taken extraordinary measures to keep ourselves and our families safe. Managing the risks to our health can feel stressful and all-consuming.
At the same time, economic stress can take a toll on our lives, too. After all, economies are made of people. When economies suffer, people suffer.
The health effects from economic decline are neither speculative nor subjective. In fact, the connection between economic well-being and personal health is well-documented. Here are just a few connections between our economic security and our health:
|“The worldwide unemployment rate would increase from 4.936% to 5.644%, which would be associated with an increase in suicides of about 9570 per year.”
|“Communities suffering the most after the Great Recession had the biggest increase in heart disease deaths in the years that followed.”
|“Long-term unemployment has large negative effects on mental health…the negative effects are larger for black and Latino individuals.”
|“All other factors being equal, men who were not working full time were 33% more likely to divorce in the following 12 months than husbands who did have full time jobs.”
|“Homelessness in the United States could grow as much as 45% in a year…an additional 250,000 or so people would be without permanent shelter.”
|“The COVID-19 pandemic could tip over 130 million more people into chronic hunger by the end of 2020.”
|“Most of the participants of the survey (58.3%) reported an increase in drug use during the crisis, compared with only 25.6% of the sample who reported a decrease in drug use.”
|“In America’s four largest cities, at least half of people say they have experienced the loss of a job or a reduction in wages or work hours in their household since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.”
|“The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.”
And those are just the documented consequences. There’s plenty of stress and unrest that isn’t captured in these statistics. All this data only underscores what we all already know and feel on a personal level each and every day— the economic implications of this global event are extremely stressful at best and life-threatening at worst.
Our Economy Supports Individuals, and Marketing Drives Our Economy
Marketing powers our economy. Our economy, in turn, powers individuals. And individuals, through their efforts, vision, and hard work, create strong and functional societies.
In other words, we need the economy to rebound. We need an economy that keeps us working, that creates stability for our lives, and, yes, even allows us to have some fun.
An economy is just a fancy word for a system that helps individual people exchange value. Centuries ago, value was exchanged by a barter system that swapped services or products of similar value for each other.
Today, of course, we rely on a trusted currency instead of trading goods back and forth. But the idea is the same: we provide and receive value as we buy the things we want and sell the things other people want.
This system works pretty well until a crisis hits. Whether caused by our fellow humans or a quirk of nature, crises scare us. And when we get scared, we stop buying things. This, in turn, stops other people from buying things, and the whole system slows down or even grinds to a halt.
When COVID-19 spurred a global lockdown, fear, anxiety, and stress spiked, causing buying and selling to crater. The first signs began as manufacturing economies like China started to contract and products dried up on shelves worldwide.
Then, like a wave across the world, the economic toll began to ripple from one segment to the next. Grocery stores ran out of staple products like toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Face masks became a rare and treasured commodity. Our arts, culture, and even sports stopped. Schools and many businesses closed.
With a recession fast approaching, the Federal Reserve took action, putting the United States economy temporarily on life support.
Ultimately, though, life support cannot sustain us forever— the economy needs to recover and grow healthy on its own. People need to become comfortable exchanging value again. And this is where marketers come in.
Because, as marketers, our job is to understand how to give people the services, products, and experiences that fit into their lives in the ways that are most meaningful to them.
The only way to do that is to alleviate fear, anxiety and stress— in other words, create trust that things are going to be okay, even if “okay” looks a little different.
The economy, for all its complexity, is ultimately a group of people. It’s time we meet their needs.
We need your help.
Whether you’re a Fortune 100 Chief Marketing Officer or a solopreneur, we need your help to turn the economy around.
If you have something to contribute, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are actively seeking marketers across industries to contribute their knowledge and expertise during this uncertain time. Join us as a podcast guest, contribute your thoughts to our blog, or just send us a few tips in an email. We started the Marketing After Covid Project to help marketing find its footing post-pandemic, and you can help.
Please share episodes that feel relevant to your industry on social media, as well, so we can continue this discussion across the web. Together, we can move the economy forward as we recover.