Marketing in The VUCA World

“Today, you have to run faster to stay in the same place.”
Philip Kotler
(The Father of Modern Marketing)

Imagine yourself running on a treadmill; the incline and speed of which keeps increasing. With economic slowdowns, trade wars, environmental crisis, and now a pandemic, the marketplace has been like a treadmill with increasing incline and speed; we need to run faster to stay at the same place.

In this dynamic world where historical data and past experiences are textbook terminologies, complexity is of the essence, and “best practices” are best if most of them are no longer practiced, businesses have been thrown off their game and all plans have been disrupted. In such a scenario, business owners and managers are resorting to marketing activities.

With organisations running on a shoestring budget,
“marketing” can be the “corona” (meaning crown) in this volatile environment.

Marketing strategies devising new and innovative ways to combat the rising volatility are the ones being widely adopted and appreciated. With the current lockdown restricting social movement, resorting to mobile devices (the most useful tool for a Marketeer) is intuitive. Thus, opening an array of marketing opportunities. For example, in India, Instagram business accounts witnessed a spike in the number of profile visits after the lockdown was announced.

In my opinion, a 3C-2S marketing strategy can be adapted to survive through this Volatile-Uncertain-Complex-Ambiguous environment:

  1. Content Marketing: A marketing approach for the creation of valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain the target audience.

Idea to implement

The objective behind this approach of marketing is to create awareness, stimulate interest, thereby connecting with existing and potential customers at an emotional level.


The athletic giant, Nike, has put its app - Nike Training Club, for free, indefinitely. The application had a subscription fee of $14.99 per month, but using the COVID-19 situation, they’ve made their content available for free, to engage more consumers.

  1. Colour Psychology: It states how colours play a role in the visibility, recognition, and perception of brands.

Idea to implement

Using colours that best suit the purpose.

For instance, yellow is said to induce cheerfulness and happiness. Since social distancing has nurtured gloomy days using yellow can be refreshing and catchy for user attention.


Zomato uses the colour red, as it is said to stimulate the appetite. Therefore, assisting in its food delivery business.

  1. Conversions after Brand Equity: As demand is restricted to essential commodities and luxury items have witnessed a slump in demand: for all non-essential commodities, it’s necessary to understand that focussing on conversions through marketing can portray an insensitive image and affect the brand image.

Instead, focussing on conveying a positive message, or solving an issue without any hard-selling intent, can garner brand image and perception. This can be helpful in the long-run.


Dominos partnering with ITC Foods for “Doorstep Zero contact delivery” of essential items in Bangalore can garner traction.

  1. Social Media Marketing: It is the use of social media platforms and websites to promote a product or service.

Idea to implement

Every social media platform has its niche. Use content that best suits the platform: this increases organic engagement.

Videos and blogs have a longer shelf life as compared to posts, as they are searchable, thus, making them evergreen.

In terms of paid-ads, interstitials and ad banners increases engagement. Geo-fencing and SEO through keyword research can be productive.

Also, the website and mobile application working on the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) would provide a refreshing view.

  1. Socially Responsible Marketing: This focuses on attracting consumers willing to make a positive impact with their purchases. The brand builds an emotional connection with the audience, which creates a positive brand perception and augments conversion rate.


Marico claimed that the value share of Nihar Naturals in the east grew from 19.5 percent to 21.5 percent in January-October 2011 - the duration of the marketing campaign (wherein 2% of the sales proceeds would go towards student’s education) against a drop of 0.3 percent in the same period, the previous year.

Even though the above marketing strategies might help in holding onto the spot; creativity, relatability, and intent to solve problems, always garners more traction. And in the current scenario, it shall only do wonders.

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