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April 29, 2020

We’re navigating “uncharted territory,” “unprecedented times,” and a “period of uncertainty.

These phrases have been circulating for the last several weeks, but what do they really mean? How are businesses trying to “adapt,” and just how much time, effort, and resources are packed into that five-letter word? More specifically, how do organizations respond and what actions can they take to continue to market their brands?

B2B marketing leaders are taking swift action to shift and refocus their strategies. For instance, many are rapidly producing content and data related to COVID-19 that they believe their customers will find valuable. Below are some key learnings and research-based insights into considerations B2B marketers are making to shift their focus:

The Impact on Tradeshows

In late February, a survey given to a group of B2B marketers revealed that 20% of the group’s tradeshow plans had changed due to the Coronavirus. By mid-March, these statistics had drastically changed, as that number rose to a staggering 88%. With 84% of respondents indicating that shows they planned to attend this year had been canceled, the question being asked was, “Where will these allocated funds go?” Respondents indicated the following:

  • 39% will shift money to digital advertising
  • 35% will not reinvest that budget
  • 27% will shift money to content creation
  • 4% will shift money to sales travel budget

Cost-Effective Marketing Activities

Budgeting has been and will continue to be on the brains of B2B marketers, and rightfully so. Research shows that 55% of marketers who participated in a recent survey expect their overall marketing budget for 2020 to decrease. With a portion of their budgets likely removed, these executives need to be more savvy to push their strategies forward, so when business gets back to our new normal, they are ready to hit the ground running.

Although this has certainly proven to be a challenging environment for B2B marketers, there is a lot of opportunity here in terms of cost-effective marketing activities that will help carry them through this crisis and succeed in the future. For instance, marketers can leverage their social media channels more effectively to promote content, share news, and most importantly keep in touch with valued customers to build lasting relationships. Integrating a variety of marketing elements as a method of sharing news can also yield positive results. This can be done not only through a social media program, but external newsletters and interactive webinars via Zoom or other videoconferencing platforms, where there is opportunity to interact with customers and prospects in real time.

Some of these strategies may be new to organizations, but so is the situation before us.

Now is the time for B2B marketers to strategize for the future. Their job just became much more difficult with budgets being reallocated, new strategies to explore, and the realization that the nature of this industry can change in an instant and has the potential to do so again at any point in the future. The points illustrated above only scratch the surface of the changes being implemented, and it will certainly be interesting to see the lasting impact that COVID-19 has in the months and years to come. 

 

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