Business and Professional Services
5 B2B marketing trends during lockdown and outlook post-COVID-19
16 May 2020
- A sharp rise in screen time on smartphones
- The right time to invest in paid digital advertising and automation platforms
- Virtual on-demand events and content will grow significantly
Coming out sturdier from a crisis marks the ones slated for success. The last 10 years have been the golden decade for marketing with technology and automation increasing numbers.
COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented event none of us have experienced in the past. It is grand, all-encompassing, has affected over 200 countries at once and has necessitated that the price of doing the same old thing in the new normal can be detrimental. Therefore, now is the time to slow down and take stock of what went wrong first, then what went right for marketing in the past decade.
With social distancing and remote work being normalized to base our future course of actions on, consumer patterns will change significantly in the post-COVID-19 world.
Reduced marketing budgets can be a blessing in disguise
As per HBR research, 17% of companies did not survive the last recession in 2008.
With a sharp cut in marketing budgets across the board, the usual discretionary spending are not welcome anymore. A PGA Labs survey report, released as lockdowns started in India, said 53% of startups already cut discretionary marketing spends in March 2020.
From a long-term perspective, things will permanently change on the marketing front as far as budgets are concerned, putting a high focus on top-funnel marketing and converging marketing and communications.
This may put off a lot of marketers aiming for revenues from the bottom-funnel but till things clear up, as a mark of respect for clients and businesses, these times warrant us to soften the sales pitches and hard call to actions.
In the more intricate B2B environment where the percentage of the marketing budget is already skewed towards training and analytics and building a robust and experienced talent team internally, new paradigms of engaging the top-funnel will gain focus.
Not undermining the scope of generating revenue, events, webinars, and ebooks will gain momentum in a post-COVID-19 world. On the talent side, steep technology adoption, human resilience, and professional experience will be of the utmost value for brands in a ‘frugal new normal.’
What changes for B2B marketing post-COVID-19
Putting your old strategy on a back-burner and creating a fresh one can be taxing. A sudden work from home mandate has left most of us in limbo from a networking perspective. Sharing the top 5 trends which can help marketers reaccelerate the business and create brand equity in a ‘with and post-COVID-19 world:
On-Demand niche video content
If you have been dilly-dallying, this is the time to commit to video. Agile times require agile methods and given recent cancellations of on-ground activities; it is time to create quality content IPs with revenue generation opportunities as you:
- Budget for experienced video professionals, and editing and automation software
- Align your operations, fulfillment teams with marketing to create insightful niche topic-led video content that is crisp and sharp
- Leverage brand equity to reflect specific services aligned to trending topics
Organic Vs Paid marketing
As we focus on top-funnel marketing, organic is usually the go-to method for B2B businesses. A spike in web traffic on short formats, videos, and news and entertainment content lays focus on CONTENT and using it wisely to generate revenues. However, on the other side, this is also the right time to start testing lead generation digital advertising for firms only using their budgets on digital this year. As per a recent report from PGA Labs, India’s digital ad penetration is expected to reach 32% by 2022, this percentage will multiply further in a post-COVID-19 scenario. Due to decreased competition for bids, ads have also become cheaper and ROI has increased.
Being the direct link with your clients and prospect network, upgrading audience and email limits on the mailbox is a good idea. Investing in email marketing platforms can be helpful as content becomes a hook for most audiences and your timely response to the crisis will be a key differentiator for the brand. A keen focus on sharing insights, videos, tutorials, and educational content can save the day for B2B businesses. However, exercise caution to not overwhelm the audience with more than 2-3 well-paced quality communications in a month with softer CTAs.
All conferences and events have been canceled until further notice. Getting the arsenal on board virtually is the need of the hour. Do not let the lockdowns stop you from organizing the event you had scheduled. In the current scenario, chances are people will not pay the registration fees, therefore balancing this by saving logistics and reaching out to a wider audience will be the way to go.
Help others selflessly
Navigating a crisis can seem scary. In this extraordinary time where everyone is affected in one way or the other, it is important to think about marketing as a ‘person to person’ effort rather than a ‘business to business’ approach. Marketing and Communications need to work in tandems like the brain and the heart as we move ahead. How we connect back to the roots as individuals and businesses and compassionately give back, will define our way forward.
This is the time to hand-hold customers, clients, and employees into the new normal. To do this, as a brand we launched the #ReAcceleratewithPraxis series in March to help our clients and businesses at large, proactively sharing our team’s experience from the previous recessions and proprietary knowledge IP for wading through the tough waters.
As we go forward, TRUST becomes the new currency to survive in a work from home economy, and marketing can open new doors to build trust and credibility and minimize the adverse effects on business due to COVID-19.
Authored by (at the time of writing):
Parul Singh, Leader, Brand and Marketing Practice
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