With the recent news reports of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, we’ve seen several changes in the community and around the world. The mass media spread of information about the virus has caused various levels of precaution being taken by individuals, and companies, all over the globe. Amidst all of the uncertainty around the virus itself, what we can be sure of is that it has impacted both our community and the corporate world, resulting in changes both locally and globally.
Marketing Impacts in The Austin Area
One of the major impacts we’ve seen in the Austin Area is the cancellation of our world-famous SXSW Festival. The City of Austin recently issued an order for the cancellation of the city’s beloved festival SXSW for the first time after 34 years of hosting this event. The 10-day festival was set to begin next Friday and would be bringing in hundreds of thousands of people from all over the globe to attend. SXSW organizers stated that they will ‘honor and respect the City of Austin’s decision,’ in their official cancellation announcement. However, they are now working to hopefully reschedule the event and possibly provide a virtual SXSW experience for 2020 participants. The silver lining around this unfortunate news is that it has the potential to serve as an amazing way to utilize digital marketing, platforms, and gatherings. Companies will be put to the test of how strong their digital presence can become. We could see some really unique, creative outreach efforts that may surge among the rubble to bring participants an engaging and interactive experience.
A major component of SXSW is the marketing efforts that bring awareness to all of the amazing opportunities it has to offer. In addition to the overall event marketing, so many individuals use SXSW as a platform to market themselves and their companies. We can expect small businesses and start-ups, who heavily rely on the event to boost their awareness, to take a big hit from the cancellation. There are so many new and innovative companies that are brought to light from the immersive and interconnected platform that is SXSW. We can only hope that these companies are able to bounce back and prosper despite the unexpected setback. A festival at this scale requires a significant amount of time, effort, and money to be invested into highlighting its diverse range of opportunities. Furthermore, events like SXSW serve as a platform to market for the city of Austin. The rapid influx of people moving to Austin has made it the fastest-growing major metropolitan city in the United States. SXSW brings people from all over the world to be immersed in the city’s unique culture, allowing them to experience Austin’s charm first hand. The business opportunities that arise from the networking and innovation that happens in Austin further entices individuals to move here and experience all of the great things the city has to offer.
Marketing Impacts on a Global Scale
Moving to a more big-picture perspective, it is crucial to note that the coronavirus being spread from person-to-person contact has resulted in precautions to avoid travel and mass gatherings. From this, we have seen airlines place travel restrictions, price drops in travel-related expenses, and many companies canceling conferences and other such events. We have seen airlines, hotels, and cruise lines alike decrease their marketing campaigns and advertising efforts, given the current climate. The short term impacts of the virus will likely result in an economic downturn for many industries as they deal with mass consumer fear and supply-chain interruptions from suppliers.
However, we are also seeing a rapid increase in e-commerce and the utilization of digital platforms. With the advanced technologies consumers have almost instantaneous access to, the adverse impacts arising are slightly cushioned for some. There have been significant increases in e-commerce, especially for CPGs (consumer packaged goods). Companies such as HEB and food delivery platforms are having to reassess their digital marketing strategy to ensure they have a strong position amidst increased competition for consumers who are not frequent online shoppers. Companies that will stay afloat, and potentially even thrive in this new environment, will be those that can successfully align their strategy to execute operations virtually with minimal disruptions. Big projects, spending budgets, and corporate events are being put on hold around the world as companies enact travel limits and consumer behavior trends fluctuate. Many economic setbacks stem from all of the precautions being taken. However, with the technology businesses can utilize in the digital world we live in today, the severity of these setbacks can and will be greatly minimized.
There is a lot of uncertainty around how the coronavirus precautions will have long-term impacts in the community and around the world. Small businesses and corporate companies are having to think on their feet and be very flexible in their approach. We can see this in action as marketing efforts locally and globally are being quickly redirected to focus on delivering value through virtual platforms, putting society’s digital dependence to the ultimate test. Observing how the world responds to this crisis in the coming weeks has the potential to unveil just how much power lies within our screens.
BY PAULA FERREIRA