What You Should Know About The Coronavirus
Building A Business Development Strategy During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Editor’s Note: Featuring insights from Arise Virtual Solutions, The New York Times, PYMNTS, and Valerie Niketakis-Wujciak, MD. For educational conclusion, please read the entirety of this article.
On December 31, 2019 China alerted the World Health Organization (WHO) to several cases of “unusual pneumonia” in Wuhan. Less than 10 weeks later, the stock market faced its worst week since the 2008 financial crisis.
To provide customer-centric organizations with viable work-from-home solutions and educational complementary media throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, CCW Digital has recently been in contact with Arise Virtual Solutions Inc. According to Arise, recent studies indicate that the coronavirus could affect over 5 million businesses worldwide. That prediction is growing rapidly by the day (as there’s no complete or definitive timeframe of the COVID-19 pandemic’s long-term impact on GDP or the global economy).
Open a web browser, turn on the TV, listen to the radio: it’s impossible to avoid breaking news related to the coronavirus. Everything from water to hand sanitizer, soap, and toilet paper is disappearing from retail shelves as the world is being whipped into a frenzy over the infectious outbreak.
As Arise notes, the travel industry has been upended with over $30 billion in losses for airlines alone. Container lines have lost upwards of $350 million and over 350,000 boxes have been removed from global trade lines since the outbreak started. Companies of all kinds are readjusting their annual profit expectations given the pandemic’s influence on behavioral economics, in a frantic attempt to gain clarity in financial forecasts.
Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Indeed, and almost every other titan of industry are now promoting work from home in the wake of COVID-19. Microsoft and Google, along with Zoom, are now even offering free work-from-home software.
Keeping our cool
Empty offices are leading to a boom in remote conferencing and chat software. David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images (as seen in Vox)
As mass hysteria dominates the media, and with it, consumerism, it’s imperative to keep our wits about us and stay informed on the socio-economic factors impacting our daily lives.
For that reason, many of the world’s largest media publications including The Wall Street Journal and Axios have felt the need to write about comparisons of COVID-19 to ongoing flu seasons.
As Valerie Niketakis-Wujciak, MD, retired faculty at Columbia University and current Pediatrician at Hackensack Meridian Health recently told our team: “Influenza is also a deadly virus, and the mortality of severe flu is approximately 0.1%. What saves the population from having more deaths due to the flu is that we have a vaccine for this illness. What is really amazing is that not everyone eligible for the flu vaccine is using it!”
According to the U.S. Surgeon General: “‘There are as many as five million severe cases of the flu worldwide each year, and 650,000 deaths'; 'In other words,' says Axios, ‘if you’re freaking out about coronavirus but you didn’t get a flu shot, you’ve got it backwards.’”
The severity of COVID-19 is not to be undermined. However, the statistical comparison between the two illnesses in relation to their economic impact are interesting to say the least.
Take a look at this excerpt from our sister portal, The Corporate Learning Network, published on March 12th, 2020.
Flu season is hitting its stride right now in the U.S. So far, the CDC has estimated (based on weekly influenza surveillance data) that at least 12,000 people have died from influenza between October 1, 2019 through February 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000.
The CDC also estimates that up to 31 million Americans have caught the flu this season, with 210,000 to 370,000 flu sufferers hospitalized because of the flu virus.
The coronavirus, of course, has now become center stage. As of March 12, 2020, the number of coronavirus fatalities climbed to 36, with 1,215 confirmed cases across 42 states and the District of Columbia.
The bottom line is, for the first time since the financial crisis in 2008, we’re seeing a radical shift in global economics, including consumer psychology, new (long-term) working standards, and drastically declining GDP as a result of socio-economic behavior, caused by the infamous coronavirus (that currently has no vaccine). It’s important to understand that businesses and consumers alike are not at fault for any anxiety or uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic. And precautionary circumstances, such as remote digital working should absolutely be taken.
However, it’s also important not to fall in a trap of mass hysteria as businesses are watching Q1 revenue plummet with minimal alternative solutions for Q2 business development.
“These corporate bulletins — and what executives do in response — could determine how much economic damage the outbreak inflicts and whether a recession looms.” The New York Time’s stated on February 28th.
We hope that you prioritize the health of your family, friends, co-workers, customers and selves first.
Then search for innovative digital alternatives to invest in your businesses’ future, second.
Because, believe me, they exist.
In China, as the coronavirus continues to impact the economy, digital content and the platforms that serve and create it are thriving, as people take to one of their many screens at home to ingest it.
Gaming apps, as one industry capitalizing on the digital surge, have interestingly increased in popularity in the country as people are currently downloading more video content (exemplifying the boom in video marketing traffic in recent weeks as businesses implement a WFH policy). Museums are putting their exhibitions online for people who want to visit but are unable to currently. Educators have re-designed curriculum for online coursework. And just about every event is becoming virtual.
As I mentioned in a previous CCW Digital article, according to PYMNTS, online sales have seen an uptick in China, and Alibaba reportedly added 10 new servers to accommodate the demand. Observers recall similarities to the SARS outbreak in 2003, which financial and consumer behavior analysts say ignited China’s online retail sales, and expect a similar surge.
And similar concepts are beginning to surface in the U.S.
Department store sales slid 3.6% in February and restaurants took a 6.4% hit, while spending on clothing dropped 1.7%.
Travel agents and airlines saw sales fall by 0.3% and 0.7% respectively – before the most severe travel restrictions, involving China and Italy kicked in.
But in contrast, it’s interesting to note that digital content and subscriptions services, such as Netflix, as one of many examples, saw a staggeringly high growth of 12.4%.
And while Netflix, virtual museums, and online gaming platforms can be entertaining for today's consumer, digital subscription outlets that provide business development services (i.e. advisory content platforms, like this one, for example) are also seeing surges in traffic and demand for high-quality content (as executives take to their homes instead of airports to stay up-to-date on who is doing what and how best to reach them).
By understanding socio-economic trends and taking control over our resources, we can work through these unfortunate times caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
If customers aren’t walking through your door like they once were, now is the time to enhance your knowledge to learn new customer-retention skills through subscription platforms. If you can’t attend the live conference your team was going to this month, attend a virtual one. If you’re not getting the Marketing exposure you once were, explore new media alternatives to increase lead counts.
Even in uncharted waters during times of distress and uncertainty, it’s important to stay connected. The CCW community will be here for you, providing you with Customer Experience, Contact Center, and Digital Marketing services every step of the way. In remote working environments and challenging economic circumstances, remember to lean on your digital community to come out stronger on the other side.