As the world slowly starts to emerge from the pandemic, it’s time to take stock and see where you’re business is at. While some B2B brands are thriving during this time (like the healthcare industry, for example), it’s been incredibly stressful for others. You might have lost some clients or you might have missed the launch of your latest product.
Economist Warwick McKibbin estimates that the G7 nations will have an average GDP decline of 8% this year, while Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas believes that the world GDP will drop by 10% if economic activity doesn’t return back to normal right away.
In light of this, your recovery should be well thought-out and strategic, taking into account the changing needs of B2B buyers and the shifting business landscape. Your marketing efforts will play a large part in this.
Key Questions to Ask Yourself Post-Pandemic
- Where does your business sit in the market post-pandemic? Has the landscape of your industry changed and where do you fall into it now?
- What do you need to do to get back on track? You need a plan to recover from the pitfalls of the pandemic – we’ll talk more about this later on
- Has the identity of your business changed? Are your missions and values different now than they were pre-pandemic?
- What new products and projects are on the horizon? What do your customers need now compared to before the pandemic? Innovation will be key to success.
- Are you ready to take action? Do you have the tools and resources you need to get to where you want to be?
Now you understand your position and preparedness a bit better, let’s dive into how you can map out your marketing efforts moving forward.
First Things First… Read the Room
It’s important to remember that, while a lot of people might not be buying right now, they’re definitely listening. They’re looking out for brands that are speaking up, reassuring their customers, and handling the pandemic in a stoic way.
Brands that have gone silent or continue to push on with their previous marketing strategy without acknowledging the pandemic and its worldwide destruction haven’t gone unnoticed – and not in a good way.
Customers Must Come First
The world is in limbo and it’s a sensitive time for a lot of people. It might feel uncomfortable to market your services, but people still need you. However, instead of product-focused marketing, it’s crucial that you put your customers first.
The goal is to instill confidence in your buyers and to show them you’re still there for them. Even if you’re not getting the leads you were before the pandemic, it’s important to be consistent but sensitive to the pain the world is in.
Your Post-Pandemic B2B Marketing Plan
Planning your marketing efforts post-pandemic will keep you on track and give you something to work towards. You might feel like your business is all over the place right now, so putting plans in place will give you focus.
1. Review Where You’re At
Take some time to look at where your business is at right now. What are your leads like? What about sales figures? Is one of your services doing particularly well while others gather dust in the background?
When you can take stock of what’s working and what’s not working, you’ll start to get an idea of what your customers want and need right now.
For example, you might have paused all your social ads but are still getting sales on the products they were pointing at. In which case, it’s time to consider whether you need social ads in your marketing mix.
2. Dig Into Customer Needs
There’s a high chance your customers’ needs will have done a one-eighty over the past couple of months. Things that were essential to them before are no longer needed as we adapt to a different world.
Start by learning more about who your customers are now and what their most pressing needs are. You can dig into your analytics from the past couple of months or reach out with a survey that aims to uncover how your customers are feeling and what they might need from you right now.
3. Weave More Customer Stories and Proof into the Mix
Instilling confidence in customers means sharing proof.
Remember, budgets have been squeezed tight and the future is very uncertain right now, so proof is vital if you want customers to buy into what you’re selling. As well as real numbers, ramp up your case study output, share more customer stories, and lean on customer referrals where you can.
4. Stay in Touch
People’s attention spans have waned dramatically during the pandemic, which means long posts, ebooks, and huge reams of content aren’t cutting it anymore.
However, you still need to stay in contact with potential customers. More people than ever are spending their days online as a form of connection, and showing up regularly in the places they’re already hanging out will ensure you’re on their radar.
Create a schedule for regular social content, including Live videos and behind-the-scenes tours, polls, webinars, and short emails to remind potential buyers who you are and why they should invest with you during these turbulent times.
5. Focus on Inbound Marketing
With an influx of people spending time online, digital marketing has never been more important. And with the slew of tools available today, it’s never been easier to create a seamless digital experience for customers.
Pair this with the fact that consumers do not want to see “hard sells” right now, and it quickly becomes clear how important inbound marketing is. Creating content for your site generates more organic points of contact for your audience to find you. From there, they can funnel themselves through the sales cycle without you having to do any hard pushing or convincing. This is the kind of marketing that needs to be a priority right now, so start by:
- Listening to what your customers want and need right now
- Creating content that taps into those needs
- Organically presenting your product or service as the perfect solution
- Making it easy for customers to get in touch and discuss their worries, concerns, and queries with you
The Post-Pandemic Marketing Landscape is Unknown
Your post-pandemic marketing efforts might look completely different to your efforts pre-pandemic, and that’s fine. In fact, it might even be necessary. Your customers are counting on you to continue to show up, address their changing needs, and help them navigate the post-pandemic landscape.
Start by digging into what they really need right now and creating content in different formats to stay in touch and on their radar. It might take some trial and error to get it right, but your efforts won’t be lost on your audience.