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How the COVID-19 Impact Dashboards Help Marketers Get on the Recovery Track

COVID-19 has thrown a wrench in the works of every organization across all industries. As we emerge from the initial reaction, organizations are asking key questions to get back on track: Which communities are ready to begin spending? What data is needed to steer your business toward opportunity?

To inform engagement and re-opening strategies, we set out to uncover the status of overall physical and economic health at the US county level, by examining attributes such as:

  • Buying behaviors
  • Discretionary spend across industries
  • Liquid assets
  • Health care coverage

We also combined Merkle’s rich proprietary DataSource datasets with county level COVID-19 infection data to develop the Economic Resilience Index (ERI). This measure can help you determine which communities feel the greatest impact and which communities have a higher likelihood of faster economic recovery.

The dashboard presents unique insights for each industry:

Retail & CPG

This data can inform where, and how quickly, retailers should revert to business as usual marketing compared to where there needs to be a slower reversal of COVID-centric operations. For instance, what regions should continue to drive online sales and curbside pick-up vs. fully return to drive-to-store messaging?

Retailers can determine data fueled strategies specific to spend being ramped back up across mass media, digital, direct mail, addressable TV, etc. This allows for focused concentration on areas with the most immediate potential and determines if messaging should be sympathetic to the customer with a focus on safety and community, or if it is time to revert to more typical sales messaging.

Travel & Entertainment

Economic Resilience Index (ERI) and Travel specific attributes combined allow us to determine which communities are most likely to resume travel and entertainment spend the soonest. This can be used to refine targeting as well as tailoring messaging to be in alignment with the resiliency of the markets where our guests and prospects reside.

As hotels and resorts embrace regional based re-opening strategies, these insights can connect properties that are most ready to commence normal operations with guests and prospects who are most willing and able to travel.

Financial Services

With retail banking as the physical channel in which to acquire new customers, it’s critical for bankers to remain close to areas where branches can be reopened, or marketing investments can be ramped-up due to higher levels of ERI. Additionally, we can gain understanding on areas with emerging opportunity and risk by comparing data with forecasts and past performance, and how to address gaps in products, service, and business operations.


By combining recovery rate data with economic resilience data, insurers can identify specific key areas for piloting alternative products such as: lower duration TERM life insurance products, promotion of contactless medical underwriting processes, pay as you go auto insurance products, etc.

Insurers can determine where to pilot alternate models for agent/distributor-centric business models by helping agents generate leads by promoting virtual agent-customer relations.


These dashboards will help organizations gain insights into which communities will have higher sensitivity to health care coverage. Additionally, the dashboards indicate which communities/regions are likely to resume physician office visits the soonest.


Many high-tech companies’ products and services lend themselves to remote work environments, and we’re seeing that demand hasn’t taken the same hit as other industries. For some categories, such as collaboration tools, we’re seeing an uptick in demand. The dashboards will share which communities are most likely to continue to support work-from-home practices and how that will likely impact marketing communications.


Nonprofit organizations will gain insight into which communities need more funding and services and how they should rethink their fundraising and marketing investments. In addition, these dashboards will also help inform their fundraising event strategy and planning by helping identify which communities should consider fundraising events in the near term.

Want to learn more? Access the free dashboards here to see how you can plan your rebound.