I’m usually writing my blog posts from my home office where I spend much of my time doing the marketing and sales work for my company, Elite Envelope & Graphics.
Today is no different insofar as my location, but pretty much everything else around has changed as we all struggle to contain the Coronavirus that has changed our lives profoundly in a very short time. My home office now feels more like a bunker! And pretty much everyone else is doing what I’ve been doing for years (working at home) except many are not working because most businesses are shut down.
As I was mulling over what to write about today, the topic is obvious. Even as many are saying, “we’re sick of this already”, the truth is we’re all consumed by it if for no other reason than wondering when and how it will end.
Much has already been written on how to cope with the “social distancing” and quarantines so I’ll leave that alone. We are all in the process of figuring out the best strategy to deal with these unprecedented circumstances.
As far as what is likely to happen to our intrepid industries of envelope converting and printing and printing in general, I’ll venture some thoughts:
Stay Safe! – While we’re still operating as essential businesses during this time, we must be vigilant and uncompromising in protecting our employees during working hours. Sustaining our businesses and the livelihood of those who rely on them is important. But unless and until we can get the virus spread under control as a nation, the business part will remain secondary.
Work in the Meantime – Based on what I’m seeing thus far, the work has not completely dried up. There are companies who still need to mail, like government agencies at all levels. We need to be as competitive as possible while watching our costs. The recently passed federal legislation should certainly help and we should jump on that and try to push the usually lethargic bureaucracy to move as quickly as possible with the help of our local officials.
Focus on the Short Term – While there’s so much uncertainly about how the virus contagion will play out, we should try to concentrate on the things that we can control. The first step as marketers is to focus on those customers that will likely require orders during this time; e.g. financial services companies that are required to send statements, bills, etc. Make sure they are aware that you’re open for business and can respond quickly to any special requests. Beyond that, prospect targeting should concentrate on those companies that are still operating.
Survival of the Fittest – As was the case during the Great Recession of 2008/2009, the downturn in business we are facing will likely accelerate the overall decline in envelope and print usage resulting in more than a few casualties in our industries. For those that remain, which will be a significant number I’m sure, there will be fewer competitors which might allow for more favorable margins.
Expect the Unexpected – While conceding the overall decline in print and mail, both remain quite viable and my hunch is that despite the gloomy prediction above, there’s going to be an explosion of marketing once the worst of this thing is behind us. Much of that will be print and mail and it will be a real tonic for the industry. So, hang tough for the inevitable rebound!