The year 2020 is incredibly unprecedented. Since the pandemic began, flights have been grounded. Jobs have been made remote or non-existent. Face masks are the norm wherever you go. We are embracing new normals that don’t really feel normal at all.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has completely changed our lives, the way we work, and how we socialize. It has also changed the B2B marketing industry, or the marketing of products and services to other businesses.
We have to keep moving forward and B2B marketing might look different in post COVID world. Let’s look at a 6 changes and break down how we can approach them.
Engaging your customers is more important than ever. Being able to give genuine and empathic service is essential to succeeding. Whether this is through website personalization, more casual conversation, or adapting to new customer preferences, it holds true.
Keep in mind that your customers will do a lot more research before engaging with you. This is because they want to ensure that you have a user-friendly, content-rich site and digital offering is important. If you’re collecting the right customer data, you can be a lot more creative with your marketing efforts.
Leveraging different content tools can help you convert these potential customers. A great example would be social proof. This is a tool where your visitors can see how many other people performed an action (such as starting a free trial).
Adapting business models
Many businesses you’ve worked with have probably had to make dramatic changes to the way they operate.
A recent McKinsey study found that 96% of people had to change their go-to-market models and edit their business methods. This true for conducting online meetings, reaching customers in different ways, or shifting to more online presence or cloud-based systems.
Cloud computing in particular is becoming a necessity for B2B marketers. Services such as OneDrive or Google Drive can help make marketers’ lives easier through reducing IT costs, protecting critical data against physical risks, and making it easy to access that data to begin with from anywhere. In fact, many online businesses have been thriving and the ones that adopted early to the cloud for data storage have been the real winners.
A more remote focus
There are several reasons why remote working will continue to be popular long after COVID. For each company it may be different factors that affect it depending upon the industry. You would be hard-pressed to find an industry that can be conducted entirely online. They are, however, considering and embracing remote work on a bigger scale.
With governments and private companies working together towards defeating COVID, the push for remote will stay relevant for at least the next year. Big corporations, such as Google, are making the call to keep their workers remote until summer 2021.
That being said, ensure you have the systems in place to support remote work and clients. This is vital in a post-COVID world. There will be a lean towards the flexibility and freedom of working remotely or from home. With people getting accustomed to remote working, the rise is inevitable.
Meetings are definitely going to be virtual for the foreseeable future. As alluded to before, a lot of major companies are pushing their remote work mandates forward into mid-2021 at least. Therefore, we will have to get used to virtual meetings becoming the norm.
Just because a meeting is online, doesn’t mean it can’t be as productive or more so than a traditional one. With different tools available on video conferencing platforms, you can maximize your meetings with polls, breakout groups, and a range of other productive features.
Creating digital collateral is essential to remember for your meetings. A majority of people are more accustomed to having a whiteboard full of ideas or a one-sheeter. Something as simple as a PDF summary is sometimes all it can take to increase your meeting’s success, whether it’s internal or external.
Marketing driven by data
We’ve seen cutbacks in a variety of areas and companies trying to shave off costs wherever they can to negate the setbacks of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, a lot of these are found in marketing or personnel.
Proving your marketing budget is providing a good ROI and getting conversions is critical to a post COVID world. Companies need to have tools to help them understand their customer data on all levels.
Understanding your target audience is more vital than ever before. Having the proper software and tools to track and capture data will be a significant game-changer for B2B marketing.
For example, when it comes to email marketing be sure to rely on quality marketing tools such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp that make it simple to track and segment customer data. You can more easily cater to the independent interests of each segment. In essence, to set yourself up for success, now is the time to review your data tools and see where you can make improvements.
Don’t copy others
Too many brands use a copious amount of the same marketing efforts. A prime example would be companies sending out the ‘coronavirus and you’ style emails. Most of these honestly are copy and pasted, and therefore overly generic.
Be unique, be honest, and be human, we do not change who we are when we walk through the doors to work. This will help break through the clutter and boring marketing efforts, as now more than ever businesses need a strong brand identity that is something new and something light-hearted.
No one has a crystal ball and can really predict 100% how the ongoing coronavirus situation will affect B2B marketers in the long term. It’s safe to assume the ripple effects will be felt for a few years, but having a clear cut idea for the recovery phase is the first port of call.
Regardless of how long COVID-19 affects business, one thing we can be sure of is that the times are changing and a new era of marketing and business is upon us.