B2B Marketing Post-COVID: What You Need to Do To Make It Relevant Now

B2B Marketing Post COVIDWhat 3 trends does your B2B business need to adapt to remain relevant?

Not sure?

Since COVID forced businesses to change in record-breaking timeframes, I’m not surprised.

In turn this resulted in rapid AI and digital technology adoption across categories for businesses and customers.

“We’ve seen 2 years’ worth of digital transformation in 2 months.” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella reported in a 2020 earnings call.Click To Tweet

 

While some businesses had to shutter, many others shifted to work-from-home (aka: WFH) and/or made other brand and business changes.

So let’s examine the 3 B2B marketing Post-COVID tactics to ensure your brand and business remain viable now and into the future.

 

3 Tactics To Make Your B2B Marketing Relevant Post-COVID

B2B Marketing Post-COVID Tactic 1:
Make Your Brand Inclusive to Serve a Higher Community Goal

Why does your B2B brand need to serve a higher community goal?

To determine why your B2B brand needs to serve a higher community goal. Start by looking at the data.

According to Qualtrics, customers trust brands during uncertain times.

Why?
Because brands:

  • Take care of their employees and customers,
  • Provide reasonable prices, and
  • Offer safety for the community.

Why customers turn to trusted brands in uncertain times

Edelman’s Trust Barometer research supports these findings. Because your audience holds your CEO accountable to provide leadership and community.

CEOs Must Lead

“Pay attention to the marketing long game. Create a pathological empathic AND customer-centric brand.” says Toast’s Kevin HamiltonClick To Tweet

 

When the pandemic hit, Toast’s management team responded quickly and thoughtfully. They helped their restaurant clients to deal with and survive the COVID quarantine.

Kevin HamiltonAs a result, Toast’s Kevin Hamilton learned:
Marketers get bored with their own branding much faster than their customers and audience do. Since they DON’T know you YET!

Why does this happen?
Because marketers spend SO much time on branding efforts, they incorrectly assume their audience feels the same way.

 

Why Your B2B Brand Needs to Be Inclusive and Diverse

In addition to being inclusive and diverse, your brand needs to be understanding of their customers, employees and community members.

Michael J. BarberIn his MarketingProfs B2B Forum (aka: #MPB2B) talk, “This Is Me: Why My Honest Self At Work Mattered for Everyone,” Michael J. Barber made this point. He told his personal story about coming out as a gay man.

So how do you make your B2B brand more inclusive?

Kevin Hamilton

 

On a personal development level, Kevin recommends you get a Chief Encouragement Officer (aka: CEO). She wants nothing but the best for you and always asks, “Why not?” Kevin had Miss Lane, his best friend’s mother.

Because, in Kevin’s words:
If your dream isn’t big enough to scare you, it’s not big enough.

And What Do You Do to Accomplish These Big Brand Goals?

Sydni Craig Hart

 

Actionable B2B Marketing Post-COVID Tips via Syndi’s 5 Tiny Actions:

  • Intentionally expand your network with women and minorities. So everyone at the table doesn’t look the same. Also talk with people outside your organization.
  • Regularly invest time to speak with your audience. This applies to marketing and senior management, not just sales and customer service.
  • Let your customers shine. They tell your brand story better than you do. Create an inventory of customer stories. For example: Toast’s Rally For Restaurantsspotlighted their customer success stories across social media.
  • Diversify your marketing spend. Make it more representative and inclusive.
  • Assess your entire organization’s supply chain. Make it diverse.

 

B2B Marketing Post-COVID Tactic 2:
Create a Sound Marketing Foundation for Long-term Profitable Growth

April DunfordTo build your marketing foundation for the long-term, positioning is your North Star according to April Dunford, author of Obviously Awesome. For long-term growth, position your brand and business with intention in today’s changing market.

Before you start, analyze your competition broadly!

In Marketing Myopia, Theodore Levitt states that businesses fail because they defined their business category wrongly.

Actionable B2B Marketing Post-COVID Positioning Tips:

  • What products and services does your audience view as alternatives for yours? For example, when I sold $90 million worth of books, I could talk about Barnes & Noble and Amazon. But I couldn’t talk about cheaper alternatives like the library and Costco.
  • What are your brand’s unique attributes? Define your Brand DNA to set you apart for your audience.
  • What marketing category are you in and what context can you weave around it? As Levitt said, “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!”
  • What customer segments do you serve and what value do you add for them? Listen to Clayton Christensen. “Your customers are not buying your product, they are hiring it to get a job done.” Use the BIO Approach to define your Marketing Audience (Includes worksheet!)

 

B2B Marketing Post-COVID Tactic 3:
Diversify Your Revenue Streams to Ensure Profitability

For long-term B2B marketing success drive profitable sales.

Ty HeathThe best idea is to be different according to LinkedIn’s Ty Heath. So ask “What is no one else doing?” and think about the long-term.

In Ty’s opinion, B2B marketers skip branding. Instead, they focus on short-term lead generation.

So they miss the true impact of branding. Because it occurs over the long-term since it compounds over time. Also, branding allows you to increase your pricing and supports employee acquisition.

Therefore make branding half of your marketing investment. So you combine branding and lead gen for long-term benefit.

Marketing Works in Two Ways

How To Diversify Your Profitable Sales

To create profit stability, diversify your revenue streams!

In their book, Killing Marketing, Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose recommend diversifying your revenue streams from content marketing.

How?
By thinking like a media entity.

Media marketing revenue model

If you can’t produce the content you need, Joe advises you to buy it.

For example, Disney bought the Marvel franchise to expand their content and merchandise reach and revenue streams. This supports sustainable content and continuous content distribution. (See my Content Marketing World 2019 slide below!)

Sustainable Content – Avengers

Also apply Disney’s portfolio approach to blockbusters to your content marketing.

Since Disney creates successful prequels, series and related merchandise customers want! Having sold graphic novels (aka: comics) and related merchandise at Bertelsmann, I know this approach yields BOTH incremental and profitable sales!

As a result, you make your offering surprisingly familiar and consistently distinctive while adding total merchandising. So your big bets pay off with 1.6 times higher profits.

I agree. At my 2019 Content Marketing World presentation, I recommended that content marketers transform their foundational content into blockbuster series. I used LinkedIn’s content marketing as my case study. (Hat tip: Jason Miller and Alex Rynne!)

transform foundational content into blockbuster series

 

How Do You Prove B2B Marketing Success? Use Metrics Your CFO Understands!

The biggest challenge marketers face:
2/3s of CMOs can’t show financial results their CFOs understand!
(CMO Survey 2019)

2/3 of CMOs can not show financial results

Despite this, marketers can provide value that translates into profitable revenue. Often, they need to follow Peter Drucker’s advice that marketing must be integrated across the organization.

How Marketing Adds Value via PWC 2019 Chart

In terms of metrics, Ty recommends using relevant reach and share-of-voice as a metric (aka: share-of-market) to avoid wasting your marketing spend! I add share-of-audience-attention (aka: SOAA).

“Use time as a proxy for money by focusing on engagement,” says Jon Miller. “Also, think marketing led and sales owned.”Click To Tweet

 

Actionable B2B Marketing Post-COVID Tips:

  • Align marketing success metrics with your brand goals. Set them before you start your marketing campaigns.
  • Make the case for branding. Since it adds to your business’s balance sheet.

 

B2B Marketing Post-COVID Conclusion

We’re in a dynamic environment as the coronavirus continues to spread and the economy falters.

So act to keep your B2B business going!

For marketing, follow these 3 tactics:

  • Mark sure your brand is inclusive and diverse. Also, ensure you serve a higher community goal.
  • Build a solid marketing foundation to grow your brand and business.
  • Diversify your revenue streams to keep sales profitable.

You can do this!

Just apply these 3 B2B Marketing Post-COVID tactics.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

 

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