Businesses the world over are beginning to adapt to the new reality of a marketplace defined by COVID-19. That includes fine chemical manufacturers. The first real indication that the novel coronavirus was going to significantly impact chemical supply chains came on the 30th January, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). At that point, the global response to SARS-CoV-2 and the virus itself began to accelerate.
Cases rose exponentially as countries closed borders, locked down specific regions, and ordered widespread industrial shutdowns. As early as March, it was believed that as much as 94% of the Fortune 1000 were beginning to feel the economic sting of COVID-19. Though this was primarily attributed to supply chain disruptions, the impact on sales and marketing cannot be understated.
Fine Chemicals Tradeshows: A Victim of COVID-19?
Tradeshows form the backbone of the fine chemicals industry in terms of sales and marketing. Although many market segments have pivoted towards a digital-first marketing strategy in recent years, manufacturing and science still rely heavily on a physical presence in a conference setting. Unfortunately, the busy progression of professionals from all over the world within a confined space represents the perfect conditions for viral transmission. Wholesale cancellations throughout 2020 were an inevitability.
The short-term effects of this are unquantifiable, though it is easy to speculate on the severity of a business’s financial losses and the degree to which they rely on tradeshow marketing. This applies to the vast majority of fine chemicals businesses. How this will affect the landscape of the industry going forward, as more and more conferences adopt a virtual approach, remains to be seen.
Adapting to the New Normal: Fine Chemicals Marketing in 2020
You could argue that the so-called new normal – where employees predominantly work remotely, where busy events are restricted or moved to digital forums, and marketing efforts are moved almost exclusively online – is not a symptom of COVID-19 at all. The shift towards flexible working and digital-first marketing platforms has been occurring for years; the pandemic merely accelerated the rate of change.
This is not to say that the tradeshow is dead and buried, nor that digital marketing is a like-for-like replacement for your previous marketing efforts. The virtual forums have proven incredibly valuable, with conferencing software making it easier – and cheaper – than ever to connect with like-minded professionals from across the globe. We have also noticed a dramatic uptick in social media engagement, with more fine chemical manufacturers beginning to find value in the likes of LinkedIn. These go some way to emulating that tradeshow effect.
At CABB, we sincerely hope to see the return of large-scale fine chemicals events and tradeshows. However, we have also discovered a lot from lockdown that we would like to carry forward into the future. Particularly, the ability to respond to unprecedented challenges through constant innovation and shifting towards digital marketing as and when required.
If you would like to learn more about the digital marketing efforts we are making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, simply contact a member of the CABB team today.