The Coronavirus Funnel: Why Flattening the Curve Matters for You, Your Business, & Your Marketing

“This is on everyone’s mind and our intention is to give you a strategic way to think about it in terms of your business and in making decisions. And that’s why we’re recording this video.” – Matt Ackerson, CEO of AutoGrow

There’s one subject that’s dominating the headlines these days. And you can probably guess what it is…

The (novel) coronavirus

The coronavirus is massively impacting both the United States and the world as a whole. 

And that’s why today, for your peace of mind, I’m sending you a video where Matt, AutoGrow’s CEO, explains the coronavirus funnel, how it’s changing the world, and what you can do to protect yourself and your business against it. 

Some of the topics he explains in the video include:

  • Visualizing the current and future impacts of the Coronavirus as a funnel.
  • The global government strategies being used today and what “flattening the curve” really means for your business.
  • The surprising way that the spread of the coronavirus relates to marketing and business as a whole. 
  • How the Coronavirus is impacting your life and your business—and how to react to those impacts strategically.

Let’s take a quick look at these topics (and more) a little more closely. 


Key takeaways:

  • [1:22] Visualizing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impacts as a funnel.
  • [1:58] “The funnel starts with fear. Because fear is honestly the most common symptom of this virus at this time.”
  • [3:29] Relating the viral coefficient of viral marketing (how many people will spread the content to others) to the reproductive number of viruses, or R0 (pronounced “R-naught”).
  • [5:07] Stats say that 70% of people are likely to get the virus. 80% of people are probably not going to have any serious symptoms.
  • [5:49] 20% of the affected people may need hospitalization. That’s a big risk to the social fabric.
  • [6:22] Matt explains what “flattening the curve” means and how that applies to the 20% of people infected that need serious medical intervention. 
  • [6:53] Relating “flattening the curve” to your business: the danger of overloading your business with more work than you can handle. 
  • [7:45] Explanation of the additional spillover effect of overloaded resources from the 20% of people who need medical help will also impact other people with non COVID-19 related illnesses or injuries.
  • [9:38] A great visual representation of what “flattening the curve” looks like from The Washington Post. Compares the rate of infection for 4 scenarios: no regulations, forced quarantines, social distancing, and extensive social distancing.
  • [12:51] Matt goes through a few doctor-recommended tips for staying as healthy as possible.
  • [14:11] The economy “V” describes a sharp fall in our economy due to COVID-19 and predicts a sharp rise in the economy after the problem has passed. 
  • [15:07] How some industries may actually benefit during these times. 

Visualizing the Coronavirus’ Impacts As a Funnel

People are infected with the virus and move through the funnel while being directed into different “buckets.” 

These buckets are composed of what’s known as “mild” coronavirus symptoms and “severe” coronavirus symptoms. 

According to the World Health Organization, about 80% of all cases have mild symptoms while 20% are more severe and need medical attention in order to recover.

Additionally, these milder cases also carry the risk of transmitting the virus to other uninfected individuals, especially when the carriers are not showing any symptoms at all. 

“R0” & the Viral Coefficient

Source: Vox

The transmission rate of COVID-19 (and all diseases in fact) is known as the basic reproductive number, symbolized as the R0 number (pronounced “R-naught”). 

Essentially, this number points to how many people on average a single infected person can spread the virus to. 

While experts still aren’t 100% positive about this number yet as many cases are left unconfirmed, it’s estimated that COVID-19’s R0 number is around 2.2. So for every infected person, it’s expected that about 2 more people will catch it. 

This is related to the “Viral Coefficient”—a term used in marketing to describe the rate that a piece of viral marketing will spread in popularity. 

Flattening the Curve & How It Applies to Your Business

Now, if 20% of cases are expected to need hospitalization, there’s a severe risk of overloading the healthcare system if the bulk of those cases occur all at once. 

And that is where “flattening the curve” comes in. 

This term is used to describe both reducing the overall number of cases and (this is an important point) spreading out the severe infections so as to not overload our hospitals. 

It looks something like this:

Source: The Hill

By flattening the curve, we are giving our doctors, nurses, and healthcare system as a whole a bit more breathing room so they can treat individuals effectively without being overloaded. 

The “Spillover Effect” of Not Flattening the Curve

Another effect of a large influx in the number of severe COVID-19 cases is that our healthcare system will not be able to adequately treat other illnesses or injuries. 

For instance, if all of a hospital’s ICU beds are occupied by coronavirus sufferers, those beds are also off the table for life-threatening physical injuries, unrelated diseases, and other ailments that are in critical need of medical help. 

Consequently, the fallout from an overloaded healthcare system isn’t just expected to be more COVID-19 deaths. There’ll also be more deaths unrelated to the disease due to lack of medical treatment. 

The Power of Social Distancing

The question is, how do we flatten the curve so our healthcare system does not become overrun? 

And the answer (in part) is social distancing. 

As the name suggests, social distancing is all about limiting the spread of the virus by minimizing your contact with others. Working from home if you’re able, staying 6 feet apart from others, skipping weekly poker night at your friend’s place—these are all social distancing tactics. 

Now, the effects of social distancing cannot be underestimated. And in fact, Matt pointed to an especially enlightening article in the Washington Post that visualized the effects social distancing has on the transmission of diseases. 

Here’s a quick visual breakdown of what we looked at for the transmission of a virus in 4 different scenarios: when there are no regulations, when there is a forced quarantine, when social distancing is used, and when extensive social distancing is used.

Be sure to take special notice of the curves at the tops of each image. See how the curve flattens out once social distancing is used?

No Regulations

Forced Quarantine

Social Distancing

Extensive Social Distancing

The Economy “V” & How Businesses May Benefit

While physical health is obviously at the top of most people’s minds right now, professional health is also a major concern. 

With thousands of people infected and fears about the future continuing to rise, the economy has been hit. And it’s been hit hard. 

Many businesses are closing, some are laying off employees, and the market has plunged in recent days. 

However, some experts (like those at Harvard Business Review) think that our road to recovery is going to resemble a “V.” The economy will be hit for a while, but eventually, it will rebound at much the same rate that it dropped.

And that projection is giving many businesses hope. 

But for now, it’s worth mentioning that some businesses may even be able to benefit from this economic change. 

For instance, we at AutoGrow have seen a massive uptick in cleaning businesses using our services.

Other industries that may be booming now are grocery stores, e-commerce platforms, food delivery services like Grubhub, and more. 

On top of that, we predict that in the coming days, the cost of running ads is going to plummet, making it easier for businesses like yours to reach a wider audience for significantly less investment. 

In the end, now may actually be the best time to reconsider how you are marketing your business, take advantage of the current situation, and do everything you can to keep both you and your business healthy and safe. 


I know that right now, it can be a bit nerve-wracking out there. 

But we also know that with the right information and the right strategy on your side, you can stay safe and keep others safe as well. 

I and everyone here at AutoGrow hope that this video has helped you get a better understanding of the situation we’re all in.

And more than anything else, we hope you and your loved ones stay safe, stay healthy, and stay smart. 

So listen to the experts, take the proper precautions, and give this crisis the level of focus and care it deserves. 

If you have any suggestions or comments about this article or the novel coronavirus as a whole, we’d love to hear from you. Just let us know in the comments section below. 

And as always…

Keep AutoGrowin, stay focused.

Alex T.

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