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.
In this discussion, I am joined by Susanna Gresswell who leads B2B campaigns and messaging globally for Dell. As you can imagine she has - already had - a large, dispersed, and multi-functional team; and so the shift to remote co-operation (albeit now it’s homes rather than offices, of course) has not been a new challenge; although Susanna makes a fascinating point about the leveling of ‘career playing fields’ that the almost-complete move away from corporate facilities has created. Where COVID has created demands for additional flexibility in Dell’s campaigns organization is, no surprise, in the foci of its campaigns – and that is what Susanna sees as the continuing implication of the pandemic: a broadly unchanged corporate strategy but a dramatically different environment into which that strategy must be placed with different emphases by region and market types.