Friday, May 22, 2009
Cashing in on Problems
The recent Swine flu, like its predecessors the Pandemic flu and the SARS has caused quite a havoc amongst the worlds population. It has been a headline news for quite some days and a lot of people are interested in ways to prevent it and, if the undesirable had to happen, how to cure it. You might say this is natural as everybody needs to be informed as to what might happen and what actions need to be taken to prevent such potentially catastrophic diseases.
This natural instinct of people has push them online and billions of searches have been initiated with the words flu, swine flu and Mexican flu...so what did innovative marketers do? Just what is natural to them...analyse that the customer trends are and serve your customer needs. Companies such as google saw a huge potential in this and for example google has launched Google Trends. Google Trends uses time series analysis and tries to find a link between the search behaviour of people and the actual spread of the disease. In this way, they were able to launch the Google Flu Trends in association with the US Centre for Diseases Control.
Google is not the only company that has taken advantage of this. Online pharmacies are all flocking up to try to sell all kinds of stuff that "they say" would prevent the spread of the flu. The sell all sorts of stuff from face masks, gloves to the notoriously known Tamiflu (which is supposed to be banned from online sales). Amazon has also recognised the pontnetial and in fact started supplying anti-flu kits to it's customers (image below)...if the big companies do now there the go ahead for all companies to follow.
The use of Web2.0 is also helping companies in this regards. Website owners are linking up with sites and getting mashup content, such as up-to-date news of the spread of the flue, so that their site increase in popularity and they obtain a better natural search result on search engines...PPC campaign and Google Adsense is another option that companies have...so what are you waiting...the sky is your limit today. The most important thing is that you keep your eyes open and as in any other business try to obtain a first mover advantage...