COVID-19 is Not a Marketing Campaign

Mar 13, 2020 | News

George Avetisov

George Avetisov


I have been bombarded by spam like this all week. I am seeing companies across the tech industry pushing emails and ad campaigns like this which seem to have been slapped together in the past 48 hours. Many of them are simply recycling an old campaign and adding in some remote workforce messaging that makes it relevant to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s fascinating how quickly a marketing team can weaponize a public health crisis into their lead-gen machine.

MFW I see Coronavirus-Themed Marketing

Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. Just weeks ago I wrote about security vendors exploiting breaches to sell more product. Now I’m seeing some of the same companies turn Coronavirus into a marketing campaign. It’s not difficult to build a message around a crisis. Let’s be real, it would be simple for our marketing team to fire off some content that screams: “Got a remote workforce? They need Passwordless MFA now!”

Sure, that might be true. But you won’t see HYPR pushing a message like that. It didn’t feel good writing it and it doesn’t feel good reading it.

My co-founders and I lived through 9/11 in New York City. I recall seeing what happens when merchants try to take advantage of a disaster. Great sales messaging should elicit a positive feeling in people, and such crisis-driven campaigns do the opposite. My advice to marketing teams would be to reconsider how your lead-gen campaign might look to someone whose job or health is at risk. When you push crisis-themed content you might gain a few leads but you’re going to lose points with potential buyers who have been impacted by the event. There is a clear line between savvy marketing and monetizing a crisis. You’ll know which is which when you see it.  



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