Is it Time to Slow Your B2B Marketing?


April 20, 2020

A complicated question, for sure, but its answer is simple: NO. Well, maybe it’s not a “simple” answer, but still, the answer is no.

Yes, it’s natural to instinctively pull back when tensions rise, especially in the sensitive and volatile new world we live in. It’s not at all uncommon to see marketing and advertising dollars be the first to go. You don’t want to make a bad impression or overstep bounds that lead customers to blacklist your company forever, and you don’t want to go broke trying to get customers who may or may not be looking to buy your product or service.

Add to that the fact that many will play the selfish card: tell you this is not the time to be thinking about yourself or the wellbeing of your business. The reality is, though, that you wouldn’t be the leader of a successful business if you weren’t inherently thinking of others. And if you decide to stop marketing and “play it safe,” you’ll ultimately end up hurting your opportunity in the future.

Scott Bennett, senior account manager and team lead for Multiview said, “While you are trying to keep your business’ head above water, pulling advertising is like throwing away your life line.” And he couldn’t be more right.

So, now, more than ever, it is important to push past misguided fear and misplaced judgment, and push forward with your marketing efforts all while thinking of others on top of how you’ll remain stable and/or thriving. Like I said, it’s not exactly simple.

“Advertisers should not be hiding during these hard times,” said Frank Rosenstern, platform manager at Multiview. “They need to be showing value, acting responsibly, and doing right by their employees and the communities they serve.”

Rosenstern added, “Conveying this type of message shows their target audience they care about the world, their employees, and most of all their customer.” The key here, of course, is to convey the message that you’re still here, and will continue to be here for your customers and prospects without sounding callously optimistic.

So, how can you achieve that? Using mindful caution and focused strategy.

Here are a few key dos and don’ts to focus on that will help you not only stay in the marketing game, but give you an advantage over your competition who chose to bail.

Things you shouldn’t change

  • Your mission – It’s easy to feel lost when catastrophic changes affect the world, but as a business owner, you already made a plan for how you want to affect said evolving world when you declared your business’ mission. That means now is not the time to change who your company is or forget your mission, but rather, it may be time to change the way you reach that mission.
  • Your work ethic/customer service/dependability – Much like your mission being set, your reputation also precedes you, so you can’t just stop providing value your customers have come to expect (and appreciate). Again, this may look a little different than before, but the end result should still be the same – a happy, satisfied and loyal customer base.
  • Your advertising spend – Let me clarify: You shouldn’t make negative changes to your ad spend. Meaning: Do not hit the pause button or cancel your advertising campaigns altogether! Instead, if you do decide to do anything drastic with your spend, it should be increasing your spend altogether or re-allocating previously earmarked budget dollars to digital advertising. See why below.

Things you can and should change:

  • Your advertising allocations – People are stuck at home these days, and guess where they are spending a majority of their time? Online! According to Forbes, total internet hits have increased between 50 and 70 percent. In addition, Multiview’s own association-branded publications have seen a 30% increase in engagement rates since mid-March. That means it’s time to consider re-allocating your budget to these digital channels that are seeing an uptick in traffic. Tyler Huckabee, Multiview’s senior account manager and team lead said, “We have seen a massive migration and focus on the web that has led our advertiser’s target audience to increase content consumption as well as open up highly valuable opportunities to reach them, and do so more frequently.” Simply put – whether it’s programmatic, paid search, content marketing, email or social media, there are LOADS of potential advertising opportunities out there. As Monica Gellar from TV’s Friends once said, “You wanna hit ‘em all, and you wanna mix ‘em up.” Huckabee added, “It is extraordinarily important to make each ad, regardless of the paid media vehicle, meaningful in a way that it promotes a genuine and lasting impression.”
  • Your message – Now is the time to embrace the empathetic side of marketing you’ve heard so much about. It’s time to put yourself in your customers’ shoes, and try to see the world through their fearful and reactive eyes. By doing this, you open your mind to new messaging that not only promotes your product/service, but that also quells the fears of those you hope to serve. I realize I made that sound like a simple snap of the fingers to change your messaging overnight, but with some careful thought you can make this work (stay tuned for another blog covering this very subject).
  • Your outlook – Most hard times are temporary, so keeping a positive outlook and maintaining an adaptable mindset are crucial. Think about resiliency, and focus on now … but don’t forget to plan for and take steps toward the future.
  • Your visibility – Bennett adds, “In a time of crisis, consumers need to SEE you. When brands lose affinity, it makes it that much more difficult to make it through to the other side.” Therefore, you need to be sure to keep your name, your message, your mission and your value updated and in the forefront of your customers’ and prospects’ minds at all times.

So, remember: Now is not the time to run scared in panic, ditching ad spend expenses without strategically considering the long-term effects. Instead, re-focus your marketing efforts and stay the course, because as Bennett said, “Without advertising, brands either get forgotten or allow competition into their space.”

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