Impact of COVID-19 on B2B Marketing and How it will turn after the Pandemic
A distress signal is everywhere right now. B2B marketing has been impacted by the pandemic but surprisingly, the B2B sales and marketing are going through an interesting transformation.
The situations are uncertain due to this pandemic but the business impact is a bit doomy.
Only the businesses with a knack to adopt new changes in this ‘new normal’ will recover speedily and succeed sustainably. The main focus of marketing right now should be on creating a significant sales funnel and revenue. Considering the increased online engagement and thoughtful online spends, more CXOs are now thinking about the measurement of consumer market gaps to transform their sales pipeline performance, and making sure it will be aligned with the ‘current’ new, and ‘future’ new.
In many of our recent articles, we have discussed changing customer behavior, how it is responding to the emergency persisted, and has accelerated digital consumption. Right from how ‘digital interactions’ are replacing traditional sales strategies to how much brands would ‘spend’ on digital mediums all the way down to how ‘sales’ is being handled ‘remotely’ – B2B marketers and salespeople are learning to sail through the complex challenges created by this global pandemic.
Expected shifts for B2B marketers
- Digital spends
Considering the severe economic situation, many of us thought that there would be a hefty decrease in digital spending. But a significant number of B2B companies have maintained and some are even shifting their digital spending, at least for now. About 50% of US-based companies have increased with some of them increasing even more than their European competition. According to the recent McKinsey report, even the Indian and Chinese decision-makers have shifted their digital spends up.
- Digital Interactions
Major players in the B2B sales suggest they have observed twice as a rise in the digital channels due to this COVID-19 crisis. The shift in digital interaction is due to customers preferring digitally-enabled interactions more than usual. Social media engagement, mobile apps, and online communities have shown an irregular increase since 2019. For B2B businesses, an integrated multi-channel and cross-platform digital ecosystem are needed to deliver an outstanding digital experience and increase loyalty.
Are B2B businesses digitized enough?
It’s time to increase digital visibility. Online meetings and events are helpful but they should be conducted consistently and should forge trust. It’s time to listen to the challenges faced by B2B clients and its time to invest in a customer community.
Although it’s not the best time for rigorous email marketing, B2B business needs to connect with the customers on a deeper level. It’s the best time to include updates or information on remote service availability and necessitate crisis communication. It would be best if they don’t pitch their services but offer some discounted access to online resources and keep their customers engaged.
The B2B businesses can add, lead, and support their customers through proper guidance, valuable webinars, and leadership insights. It is all important right now for B2B brands to automate response management, streamline CRM, and customer value-chain analytics.
Account Based Marketing in Pandemic
Depending on the size and scope of your ABM campaign, now could be the right time to re-evaluate your audience list on the present and predicted marketing behavior. The most crucial thing right now is to research end-client level changes in audience lists and changing the needs of your target accounts.
COVID-19 has been a reason for almost every brand to adopt the Work from Home culture and so, aligning sales and marketing have become another demanding yet necessary goal to aim for.
Rethinking Content Marketing
Responding creatively to current market needs gets easy when B2B businesses remodel their content marketing plans. Today, with more than 90 days of the pandemic, many B2B businesses are trying to dig out their databases and leverage content marketing to jump on the most active customer base through personalization. Rising attention towards top-of-the-funnel programs to attract potential interest is one of the strategies used by some of the major IT B2B giants.
This is what we are experiencing right now, but what after the pandemic? How B2B marketing will shape after the COVID-19 is considerably less effective?
Innovations will prosper that run the next peers of unimaginable marketing technology. Eloqua and Salesforce were born in the 2001 dot-com burst. Hootsuite, Marketo, and HubSpot were launched in the financial crisis from 2008. With the financial crisis at the doorstep, some new and revolutionary B2B marketing technologies might emerge in this pandemic.
Live events will be back
Many including Evincera wrote about how trade shows and live events failed during the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. But now we think, there will be no case that live events or trade shows would be dead.
In a world full of digital interactions, our will for real social affiliation and face-to-face interaction will not change. Although the trade show marketers like us are hoping they will be back. We have strategies ready for them.
Marketing will Boom
As we mentioned before, marketing spend is still on the rise even in the recession that’s backed up by this old saying…
‘In good times you should advertise. In bad times you must advertise.’
B2B businesses that maintain or increase their marketing budget in the times of crisis drive revenue and grow their market share for long afterward.
For the wise brands with cash reserves, it’s an opportunity to rise and take share. Lower media costs & paid campaigns, less noise, and staying present in the hearts of your audience will pay off enormously.
The priority for B2B brands should be auditing marketing campaigns for strategic & transparent communication, brand building, etc. Brand and B2B marketers need to patiently display genuine agility for better customer experience.
The share-based division is required, with spends assumed to decline moderately for media, software, and telecom sectors. Manufacturing sectors are the worst hit globally according to various industry reports. What B2B marketers need is a dynamic & compelling marketing strategy, including moving event marketing spends to SEO, content marketing, lead generation, and search marketing.
The last 10 years of B2B marketing were the golden age. We think this won’t change for the next 3 to 4 years. But it will be important to look after how we drive it carefully. Right now B2B inbound marketers like us need to take care of some qualities in us: Flexibility, Agility, and Collaboration.