Is It Time to Reconfigure Your B2B Marketing Model?
You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by the coronavirus. Whether it’s how we work, how we spend our money or even how we allocate our time – COVID-19 has left its mark on our lives.
For many businesses, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc. From complete store closures to social distancing measures to consumer buying habits being altered, it’s as though everything has changed. Many of us have reached a point where we feel as though we have lost control.
Although this has been a time of upheaval and disorder, we can turn this around and use it as a learning opportunity. Before you move forward with reopening your business, or fully returning to how you operated pre-COVID, it would be strategic to take a step back and evaluate what you’ve been through and where you find yourself now.
How could we have been prepared for this?
As we reflect on the past few months, it’s almost impossible to have even imagined the situation we have landed in – but let’s take advantage of this moment.
You may be asking yourself: How exactly do we spin something like this to our advantage?
This experience, though very trying, has given us all a new perspective and it is in our best interest to examine the situation we find ourselves in, how we got here, and where we will go next.
Recent research from Gartner recommends that now is the time to become proactive in the development of your marketing strategies. Marketing leaders need to take time to plan for various scenarios, good and bad, and understand how disruptions (like the coronavirus) can impact your business operations.
What comes naturally with that process is modifying your marketing plan in such a way that you can be prepared for the impacts these situations may bring with them. Product launches, sponsorships, events and promotions are all essential components to a business’ success, and these are all directly affected when situations, like a global pandemic, arise.
Understanding how you can maintain your business during a situation like this can play an integral role in the overall success of said business. Having a marketing plan in place where you are prepared to handle travel restrictions, modify your budgets, or re-launch products at a different time will be conducive to ensuring you can keep your business up and running when you find yourself in a crisis situation.
Although you may not have been prepared in this instance (let’s be honest who really was?), by analyzing what has transpired, you can prepare appropriately for the future.
What is it your consumers need now?
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused everyone, your customers included, to reconfigure their needs. 4A’s Research surveyed 1000 consumers earlier this year and discovered some of the ways that COVID-19 has impacted people’s daily lives. 44% of respondents indicated they are no longer comfortable venturing out for nonessential items, and 37% are buying items online as opposed to going in-store.
Numbers like these reveal a lot about where change is occurring at this moment.
Keeping in contact with your customers can prove critical in moments like these. Understanding where their fears lie, what they value and what they are willing to go without are critical things to keep in mind. Being aware of these changing habits will allow you to understand how they will, or will not, engage with your business in this moment… and in the future.
Your business is reliant on customers, and 43% of those surveyed by 4A’s find it reassuring to hear from brands they know and trust. Be sure to engage with your customers, whether it’s through social media, questionnaires or even customer reviews. These are all helpful ways to stay connected with your consumer base. Data from Salesforce indicates that customer engagement is one of the biggest challenges for marketers, but it’s an integral way to quantify the success and sustainability of your business.
In order to do that, you may need to revise how you market to them. If they are no longer interested in a service you provide, keep that in mind. If you’re getting more engagement on social media because everyone is at home, use that to your advantage. Although it may be daunting to restructure how you go about your business, this is the perfect moment to reflect and do just that.
Is your marketing ready for what is yet to come?
What things will change when the pandemic ends? Will anything go back to how it was before the pandemic?
These are questions we are all still asking ourselves every day.
As much as we hope to never deal with obstacles, you can never be certain as to what the future has in store – something I feel we all have learned firsthand the past few months. So take this time, which may have been a struggle, and come out stronger than you were before.
As much as products and services are important, 84% percent of customers say the experience a company provides is just as valuable. Make sure what you are offering your customers is not only a tangible item or service, but rather a well-rounded experience that they can trust.
Marketing is an ever-evolving medium and now is the time to expand your plan!