As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread worldwide on the precipice of a global pandemic, many tech companies and industry organizations are facing expedited decision making that may have significant PR, marketing and sales ramifications. 

Decisions around company travel policies in industries where travel is essential to business. Decisions to participate in industry events or to host user conferences that are vital to sales and partner relationships. Decisions on telework policies. Decisions that could contribute to an increasing fear-based domino effect that could plunge us into a global recession. 

Last month, Mobile World Congress was one of the first to cancel its annual marquee global event that was expected to draw upwards of 100,000 attendees. And in just the past week, we’ve seen a slew of user conference cancelations including Facebook 8, Google IO, IDC’s Directors conference and Shopify Unite. To pile it on, Twitter and Facebook are the first big players to pull out of SXSW. Other events like Google Cloud Next and Adobe Summit are shifting to an online experience only, and global companies like Amazon and SalesForce are implementing holds on nonessential travel until further notice. 

Contingency Marketing Planning Considerations

So, is the fear real or are we as a global community being reactionary?

While we do not have the benefit of a crystal ball, here are a few tech marketing DO’s and DON’Ts for consideration as your marketing team navigates quick decision making amongst many unknowns:

  • First and foremost, DON’T capitalize on the crisis for the sake of clever marketing or PR campaigns.
  • DO prioritize communications. This is a time for PR and HR to work collaboratively and in tight alignment. Execute proactive and consistent internal and external communications around any updates to your company’s participation in events or travel policy updates. And DO make sure you are prioritizing internal communications to employees before putting out external statements. 
  • DO consider shifting marketing events or activities to a virtual experience or put them on hold to reschedule at a later, to-be-determined date. 
  • If you postpone event participation, DON’T push off the respective marketing campaigns or scrap them altogether. Instead, take all the prep work that you did and repackage it for an online activation.
  • DO double down on sales enablement content and inbound marketing programs. Your sales team will likely be hindered by travel bans, and they’ll be looking to your marketing team and tech PR agency to help generate online demand and creatively nurture leads.
  • And ultimately, DO reinforce to your employees, customers and stakeholders across communications that your company holds their health and safety as the top priority.  

Do you need support with contingency marketing plans or strategic communications counsel due to the impact of the Coronavirus or otherwise? Reach out to us here and we are happy to help you navigate this important situation.

Blair Ruth leads the ARPR cloud practice. She loves nothing more than building strategic communications plans to help clients tell their unique story to audiences who matter.

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