After languishing in coronavirus purgatory for the past three months, the U.S. economy is coming back to life. All fifty U.S. states have now begun the process of reopening their economies, and there are early signs that economic activity is beginning to pick up.
Data from Apple indicates that people are beginning to move around again, and the volume of debit and credit card transactions has been increasing for the past several weeks. Even the beleaguered air travel industry is showing early signs of recovery. On May 22nd, TSA screened 348,673 passengers, up from the low 87,534 passengers on April 14th.
The Economy – First Contraction, Then Growth
Most economists are still predicting that the U.S. economy will contract significantly in the second quarter of this year. For example, the Congressional Budget Office recently estimated that second quarter real GDP will shrink by 37.7% on an annualized basis.
Most economists also believe, however, that economic growth will return in the second half of 2020. The CBO is forecasting that real GDP will grow by 21.5% in the third quarter on an annualized basis, and by 10.4% in the fourth quarter on an annualized basis.
The Pandemic Impact on Marketing
The COVID-19 pandemic has been wreaking havoc on marketing activities for the past several weeks. Numerous surveys have shown that many marketers took dramatic actions in response to the economic lockdowns and the resulting collapse in revenues. For example:
- Eighty-nine percent of senior marketers said they had deferred marketing campaigns. (World Federation of Advertisers)
- Ninety percent of surveyed marketers said their budget commitments had been delayed or were under review. (Econsultancy and Marketing Week)
- Forty-two percent of surveyed advertisers said they had stopped all new advertising until later in the year. (Advertiser Perceptions)
- Have the needs of our potential buyers – existing customers and prospects – changed? If so, how?
- Have the spending patterns of our potential buyers changed? If so, how?
- Have the buying processes used by our potential buyers changed? If so, how?
- Have the research, learning, and communication preferences of our potential buyers changed? If so, how?
- Are our current value propositions still compelling?
- Are the configurations of our products and services still appealing to potential buyers?
- Has our competitive landscape changed? Have any of our traditional competitors become stronger or weaker during the pandemic? Are we facing new competitors?
- Do the marketing methods and channels we were using pre-pandemic still make sense?
- Is our existing go-to-market model still valid?
Image courtesy of Ged Carroll via Flickr CC.