Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Covid-19's Effect on B2B Sales and Marketing Pt2," is the second installment that examines the essential evolutionary B2B pivots as organizations manage consumer interactions with brands in a tumultuous business environment. If you missed the first post, we will restate select excerpts from the initial post before proceeding. Since 2020, we have tracked changing consumer habits related to the pandemic's ongoing effects, from the original strain to the current variant. Our analysis concludes that the business of marketing will continue to experience disruptions. Evolving marketing strategies that include managing a mutating pandemic have become the norm while impacting customers, sales, and the enterprise overall. Whether you agree or not, the new normal is erratic, but it isn't new. It's evolving. As new variants push the boundaries of normalcy and prolong the recovery, scientists, enterprises, and academia must make every effort to negate the impact of Covid.
That requires analysis of the current situation with an eye on the desirable outcome. In this manner, some requirements will be conventional; others will need to be revolutionary. Convention says organizations will always focus on key stakeholders, including customers, prospects, partners, and suppliers. However, new tactics and strategies must stem any disruptions when a business is challenged to maintain supplies, offerings, and services while holding down costs and squeezing profits.
SWOT analyses are helpful and can be valuable to identify and resolve the impact of new threats while capitalizing on new opportunities. However, the constant ebb and flow of the evolving environment must not negate the ability to identify and address buyer behaviors which understandably may change more rapidly when change is the only constant.
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McKinsey & Company Findings
McKinsey & Company recently surveyed Covid-19's impact on B2B sales. The key findings reflect the impact the pandemic is having on the buyer experience. Shifting buyer behavior has accelerated the digital effects on the marketplace. Further, most anticipate that these changes will become the new norm. A few of the key findings are apparent but worth restating here.
B2B seller interactions are now increasingly remote or digital.
70% of B2B decision-makers are fully open to self-service or remote purchases.
Customers prefer video versus telephone communications.
Nine out of 10 decision-makers state that the new pandemic-related digital go-to-market sales practices will remain beyond 2021.
62% of respondents conduct more than half of the buyer's journey online before contacting a salesperson.
What is crystal clear from the McKinsey report is that the pandemic has retrained all customers, including B2B. These customers are now, more than ever, comfortable purchasing via digital. They also prefer video communications engagement over the less visual predecessor, aka the telephone. There is a caveat. Digital growth and usage are skyrocketing, but traditional marketing and advertising are still the premier B2B go-to marketing strategy. We want to lean in to review the digital marketing apparatus that took the world by storm in 2020.
The Value of Digital Marketing
Digital marketing can be defined as every marketing strategy instance that originates in the online environment, whereby the user can engage with and respond accordingly in a digital environment. Marketing that takes place online is also known as digital marketing.
Many marketers attest to digital marketing as a less disruptive method that affords a streamlined process to target prospects and reach the intended audiences. As we encounter more disruptions, pandemic-related or otherwise, more people will rely on the internet for just about everything.
The world has already seen face-to-face evolution diminish as more people become comfortable living and working in a digital world. At the same time, the increase in online engagement has negatively impacted internet traffic. However, the increase in traffic is one of the main reasons marketing teams invest more in digital marketing strategies. It is why recent projections suggest that US digital advertising spends will grow by as much as 85% by 2023.
This new growth in digital advertising suggests that B2B marketers are confident that they can effectively reach more customers and increase higher quality leads. While traditional marketing provides a variety of mediums, including direct mail, print, telephone, broadcasting, events, guerrilla tactics, to name some, digital marketing has a multitude of touchpoints as well. Some of which are particularly effective for B2B marketing.
Email marketing incorporates email as the primary marketing strategy and digital medium. B2B brands can implement this marketing tactic to reach current and prospective clients by providing information and business offers. This process can also serve as a tactic for nurturing current customers. As email marketing can offer a high degree of personalization, marketers consider email marketing to be one of the most efficient and effective methods for generating leads with existing customers and new prospects.
Content media is very similar to traditional media. However, the storytelling takes place online. Everyone loves a good story, and when that story takes place online, organizations can increase brand awareness and mindshare while providing engaging and valuable content. Prominent examples include blogs, articles, white papers, ebooks, podcasts, videos, and webinars. The art of storytelling combined with relevant brand information can provide a compelling reason to engage with the brand. Getting your audience to engage with the brand as a subject matter expert (SME) is an affordable inbound marketing tactic. The key is to deliver engaging, informative content that entertains, educates, and helps prospects. Consistent content marketing is also known as inbound marketing and can be incredibly cost-effective given its ability to attract and engage a desirable audience.
B2B content marketing has many benefits, including raising brand awareness, establishing the organization as an SME, improving brand equity, and delivering cost efficiencies. While content marketing requires thoughtful planning, the benefits, and low costs, have many B2B marketers including this marketing tactic in the mix.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a mechanism whereby the effective use of keywords, meta tags, descriptions, and keyword phrases, can grow online traffic to a brand's website or other digital destination, such as a video on YouTube or social media channel. This process, when executed correctly, can increase the ranking of the brand's digital environment locations higher on Google or other search engine results. To begin with, marketers use this process for optimizing the website according to various search engine techniques and best practices for SEO. Keyword selection is the most vital part of the process to ensure optimal search engine results.
Paid search, commonly referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), is often seen as a "sponsored" search result on a search engine page. For example, sponsored search results happen when a user enters a particular keyword, keyword phrase, or other search terms in a search engine such as Google. These paid search ads can be precisely targeted. Further, the brand will only pay for placement whenever the user clicks the sponsored link and opens the sponsored ad's page. As a caution, online users can inadvertently click a PPC resulting in a charge although the user did not engage the brand.
Marketing with Mobile
Mobile marketing is a medium that helps ensure that the brand's products, services, and solutions can connect with the target audience demographic on either smartphones or mobile devices. Mobile marketing represents an increased familiarity level of engagement. This level of marketing occurs via text messaging, in-app advertising, and other online platforms and channels, including Tik-Tok. This advertising tactic can be custom-fit via collected information that speaks to the targeted individual through divergent means. Typically B2B marketers are of the mindset that this tactic is better suited for B2C organizations; however, note that more B2B marketing teams are beginning to adapt to successful marketing efforts of the B2C sector.
The aforementioned marketing strategies and tactics continue to play a vital role in navigating the era of Covid-19 and its effect on B2B sales and marketing. You now have an overview of both traditional and digital marketing in two informative posts. We hope you found today's post equally helpful. Thanks for reading "Covid-19's Effect on B2B Sales and Marketing-Pt2."
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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "New Marketing Strategies for 2020," examines what marketers, digital innovators, and brands are now contemplating if they want to re...