Finding opportunity in uncertainty: How B2B brands can adapt their marketing plans in the current climate
Business as usual?
What is “business as usual” in the time of social distancing?
The Coronavirus has changed the way we work, and British businesses are facing novel challenges. Many are seeing their marketing spend slashed, events calendars turned on their heads and sales processes called into question. In the B2B space, the lack of in-person communication from life in lockdown looks on the surface to be an unshakeable hurdle.
Nevertheless, there are opportunities here.
To quote Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish from Game of Thrones (remember that?)
“Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder”.
In our last blog, we discussed the importance of agility during this trying time.
As the situation changes and the news unfolds daily, the best thing a business can do is seize the moment, assess their strategies and pinpoint potential opportunities for improvement.
Problem: Your marketing budgets are being slashed
If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. The intense uncertainty created by COVID-19 has affected businesses across a range of industries, causing many to strip back spend to keep the lights on. Losing a large portion of the budget you had carefully earmarked for key campaigns is a hard pill to swallow.
Solution: Now is the chance to focus on what gets results.
Efficiency in marketing is key to driving growth and creating a predictable revenue generation model. If your marketing budget has been one of the casualties of COVID-19, now is the perfect occasion to cross-examine the efficacy of your marketing spend.
Implementing a test & learn mantra into your marketing team can breathe life into disjointed digital ad campaigns, or poorly performing landing pages.
Once the business landscape moves towards some semblance of normality, your marketing activities will be much leaner, and hopefully more capable of scaling up once budgets are back up and running.
Problem: All events have been cancelled
If events play a key role in your marketing strategy, there’s a good chance you’re now looking at a calendar punctuated by question marks and colour-coded cancellations. How will you increase visibility with your target audience when you can’t get in front of them through conferences, exhibitions, presentations and workshops?
Solution: Take this time to fully embrace digital events
Most marketing professionals will have been burnt at some time in the traditional events space. Costs can spiral out of control and return on investment can be difficult to calculate.
Ever since the Prime Minister announced that large gatherings were to be banned, businesses have had to tear up their well-crafted event plans and pivot to a strictly digital calendar. Given the current state of the nation, now is the perfect time to embrace this new marketing channel until restrictions are lifted.
Where the ROI on traditional events can be difficult to measure, taking events online allows for total trackability on spend and value. Better yet, digital events can be recorded, edited, and shared across other marketing channels, greater amplifying your message and growing your brand recognition.
Problem: Your sales collateral requires in-person presentation
Countless marketeers have been guilty of creating sales collateral that probably needs collateral to even interrupt it. A savvy salesperson can talk to the collateral and keep the sale on track, but in the absence of in-person presentation, businesses are quickly realising now is the time for a content overhaul.
Solution: Use this time to improve collateral so that it speaks for itself
Creating impactful marketing & sales collateral not only benefits sales at the bottom of the funnel – they can also greatly increase leads at the top of it. Collateral that can speak for itself is known as a “lead magnet” and can be an excellent way to capture new leads.
Collateral that is easy to understand and can solve a problem for a potential customer is an excellent sales tool to whet the appetite of new business, and can be distributed on landing pages, social posts and e-mail campaigns.
The more accessible your collateral, the more likely your prospective clients are to refer back to it as a helpful resource and keep you front of mind.
Problem: You aren’t having enough face-to-face meetings with prospects and clients
Face-to-face meetings have been around since the dawn of modern man and are still one of the most efficient and sincere ways to get new business and build relationships. COVID-19 has interrupted the very building blocks on which business is built on, and “nice to e-meet you” is not going to cut it moving forwards. When it comes to human interaction – now is the time that you let your brand do the talking for you.
Solution: Take advantage of social media to create a community around your brand
Social media has long been the cure for businesses in desperate need of an injection of character. Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn are all excellent marketing channels to create a dialogue and engage your customers while they are currently locked down. Sharing video content, infographics, giveaways and blog posts are all easy ways to rejuvenate neglected social communities and start a conversation around your brand.