As we all work through the various impacts of the novel coronavirus – from the depressing and the serious to the merely inconvenient – it's vital that as much industry and business as is safe and possible continues. When thousands are dying, it can seem trite to even consider this, but it is not only important in terms of us having a vibrant post-virus world; IT is an important contributor to sustaining our lives and communications today, and also a vital element to finding ways to overcome the virus.
But that business-continuation demands some very different approaches and thinking; therefore, whenever possible over the coming weeks I'll be asking executives from IT vendors and partners to discuss their thoughts around the marketing changes, challenges, and - yes - also the opportunities that this pandemic is creating. I've called this series "Marketing in Challenging Times" - that's not to skirt around the issue of COVID-19, but to acknowledge the fact that the "challenging times" are likely to extend well beyond the point at which the pandemic is controlled, contained, or beaten...and also of course perhaps some of the lessons-learned and silver-linings-discovered will continue as well. Everyone brings their own perspectives to these conversations; as a minimum we hope they are cathartic, and at best they might provide a new idea or inspiration.
My guest for this conversation is Sam Grocott, SVP of Marketing at Dell. It is no surprise that Sam is actively enjoying the new work style that COVID 19 has mandated; both he and Dell had embraced a considerable amount of work-from-home well before the pandemic but a large US and global team nonetheless used to keep Sam on the road a lot. While he accepts that there are still improvements to hunt down in terms of the optimal use of all the newly-ubiquitous collaboration tools, he is nonetheless convinced that "we ain't going back." As he puts it, the old world (early 2020) feels genuinely like a long lost historical era; but the reasons to not even attempt to go fully back are driven by the personal, societal, and business improvements we have discovered as silver linings to the awful cloud of COVID-19.