How Coronavirus Affects Lead Generation
The media world and news cycle has been dominated by speculation and discussion surrounding the COVID-19 or coronavirus (whichever you choose to call it). This is also true in the tech press, as significant industry events are being canceled, while big firms like Uber, Facebook, and Apple, say revenues will likely suffer due to declining consumer demand, supply chain issues, and poorly qualified lead generation.
News filtering from the internet indicates that ad revenues and b2b lead generation is starting to be impacted by COVID-19. The NY Times, in particular, made a filing through Axios, where it said that ad revenue would be down about 10% this quarter. ‘Uncertainty and anxiety about the virus’ were credited as the cause.
Surveyors and analysts predict that Facebook’s ad business will take a hit in the nearest future (Google’s could as well according to them). Truly, fear and uncertainty are creating a real-world impact, which is in turn affecting the digital ecosystem.
If leads cannot be generated, businesses suffer right?
Yes, because like you must know, outbound lead generation involves the process of attracting potential customers (or outbound leads) into a marketing software system with the hope of convincing them about a business’s service, before converting them into paying customers. However, in these trying times, the general message is to place customers first, before business.
Chief executive for Greater North Asia at DAN, Cheuk Chiang, believes that brands, organizations, and businesses should first of all be concerned about their reputation, and helping customers and potential ones through the virus.
In his words, “Firstly we cannot forget that this situation is first a humanitarian issue. In this context, brands must be sensitive and responsive to avoid reputational damage. Content should reflect the changing times and consumer sentiment. Brands that take a utility approach to the promotion will better connect. From a media investment perspective, we’re re-evaluating out of home placements and will increase investment in digital channels especially short video and social platforms with a focus on driving to commerce.”
Regional head of planning and strategy for PHD APAC, Chris Stephenson echoes this advice. He himself believes that businesses, organizations, and brands, have to consider public interest above everything else, including generating leads and driving sales.
He said, “In developing a response, it is important to be sensitive in brand messaging to the situation – a brand should look to align their communications so that it’s in the public interest versus pushing messages for sales generation. As ever, brands should follow media consumption patterns to optimize media splits and take into account the context of placement as well as absolute reach potentials of increased home video or digital media consumption.”
What to expect
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 crisis will alter businesses and society in important ways. Areas such as public health investments, online education, and online shopping will likely take a hit, for instance. The way outbound lead generation companies configure their supply chains will also change, while the trend away from dependence on a few mega-factories will be reinforced.
In the interim, it is believed that the uncertainty about how to move forward would drive outbound lead generation companies and business owners into thinking about contingency planning. Similarly, consumer behavior is different today (as a result of the virus’ impact) than it would normally be; there are already impacts being felt in the hospitality and travel industry. Businesses, brands, and organizations would have to find new ways to generate outbound leads, and encourage consumers to look past the current situation, into a hopefully COVID-19 free world.
In terms of the impact in the long haul, the economy is already being affected by a stock market point of view. And if it stays this way, it will undoubtedly trickle down to employees, impacting the ways leads are being generated, as well as how customers purchase and engage with brands.
Business owners might have to tell themselves the truth, and have honest conversations about the chances of hitting goals, generating qualified leads, and getting value for their investments. We may all have to dial things back and do some spring cleaning. Also, brands would have to start considering ways they can leverage their marketing to address the issues caused by COVID-19 like store closures. During times like this, it is highly important to have a great e-commerce experience and customer service.
If you are a business owner, one thing you should know is that when the urgent part of the coronavirus crisis has been navigated, there will be changes. And these changes would have to be reflected in whatever plans you make in terms of qualified lead generation and company growth afterward.
Reflect on the lessons learned
When this crisis subsides, instead of heaving a sigh of relief and returning to the normal way of doing things, businesses should make an effort not to squander a valuable learning opportunity. Because, like it or not, this crisis can teach us many things.
While the crisis is unfolding, the impact it has on qualified lead generation and the responses should be documented and reviewed later. Airline safety is one of the best learning systems there is in this respect. Every time there is an incident, be it a minor mishap or a tragic accident that costs lives, the causes are studied in forensic detail, and binding recommendations are made. The result is that thanks to cumulative adaptations and learnings from previous misfortunes, flying has become one of the safest forms of travel.
Adaption and learning can be implemented in b2b lead generation and company growth as well.