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Digital Marketing in a Changing Marketplace

5 Tips to Help B2B Marketers Stay In Tune and On Target During & After the Coronavirus

As customers change their behaviors – adjusting to the impact of COVID-19 and preparing for a post-pandemic economy – marketers must proactively adjust to a changing landscape. Business operations and customer behaviors have changed at one of the fastest rates in recent memory, leaving marketing plans in need of some TLC.

Consider that, in less than one month’s time, the number of people working from home has more than doubled, with 62% of employed Americans reporting they have been able to work from home at some point during the outbreak. That is more than twice the number recorded in mid-March. A recent report by PYMNTS and American Express said that 75% of supply chain managers are “experiencing transportation-related issues”, and 40% of retailers are expecting “the pandemic to cause year-long inventory shortages”. Combine that with concerns about a recession, and January’s marketing strategies may look like a distant memory.

5 Digital Marketing Tips to Maximize Effectiveness & Value

Already we are witnessing significant changes in consumer buying behaviors and engagement patterns in B2B marketing. Many marketers have shifted in the short-term, placing an increased emphasis on digital. If you are one of the many people looking to maximize your digital campaigns’ performance, as well as reboot your marketing strategies for a new marketplace, here are five tips from our team to help stay on track and maximize value.

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Steady Experience for a Changing Marketplace

Please note, consultations are available Mon-Fri, 9:00-4:00, EST (New York time zone). Please submit your request and one of our team members will be in touch to confirm your appointment. We look forward to speaking with you!

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SEO Audit  •  Digital Assessment  •  Strategy Review

Click Here to Schedule a Free Consultation

Steady Experience for a Changing Marketplace

Please note, consultations are available Mon-Fri, 9:00-4:00, EST (New York time zone). Please submit your request and one of our team members will be in touch to confirm your appointment. We look forward to speaking with you!

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • :

•  SEO Audit 
•  Digital Assessment 
•  Strategy Review

1. Check Your Goals, Targets and Realign

Be mindful that your target customers, and the way you had delivered messaging to them, may have changed. Business is shifting – with companies changing expectations, plans, personnel responsibilities, and in some cases, even changing what they sell. Your ideal customer profiles, personas and behaviors may be dramatically different than just a few weeks ago. And the strategies that were months in development, may need to change as well.

Consider what your KPIs (key performance indicators) are right now. Do those KPIs shift from lead generation to contact building, or perhaps to brand engagement? And how do your marketing tactics and messaging need to evolve to achieve these new goals? Are your current marketing materials going to work with a new economic outlook and new customer engagement patterns? Now ask the same questions for what we predict conditions to be like 3- and 6-months from now.

Be nimble and strategic at the same time. You can’t put a pause on your brand or your marketing “until this is over”, because who really knows if, and when, things will return to what they were. For the foreseeable future there will be changing conditions, and marketing needs to be able to refocus and meet the right KPIs, probably more than once.

2. Be Mindful of Message Tone, Timing & Delivery

Marketing messages and sponsored content need to pay attention to the emotional pulse of the reader, as well as consider timing of when it is released. Right now, with coronavirus news highly visible, the content your marketing may appear within, or directly alongside, could be highly-charged. Be thoughtful when creating messaging and materials so that you are sensitive to the current situations. Appearing to be too “hard sale” or business-focused may be off-putting to customers, and potentially even damage your brand’s position.

Carefully consider the words you select in your messaging:

  • Avoid charged words that could look to capitalize on or minimize the situation.
  • Consider alternative phrases such as “navigate” rather than “advance” or “identify responses” rather than “identify opportunities”.
  • Be careful about using words that are becoming trite, such as “new normal”.
  • Avoid sentiments or references that can become outdated quickly, if you are trying to keep your assets running for weeks or months.

3. Be Relevant & Stand Out

Good marketing connects with a reader emotionally, and right now, things are not business-as-usual. It’s critical that messaging and ad materials still make those valuable connections that draw in hearts and minds, while not appearing to capitalize on reader sensitivities. It’s also critical for brands to stay on track. The marketing plans that were created at the beginning of the year may have to be changed, but your core brand positions probably are the same – positions which should remain a cornerstone of your communications.

Artfully combining relevant content, marketing messaging and brand positions (that – as noted in the above – are mindful of tone and timing) will connect with customers in a powerful way, get attention and generate response. Interestingly, while some companies reacted by turning off all marketing, good marketing strategies acknowledged current conditions and saw results. A recent article by AdTaxi found that 62% of people found advertising with COVID-19 messaging was well intentioned, and 68% found it helpful that messaging considered the current situation.

4. Stay On Top of The Digital Trends

Many marketing strategies have shifted to be, or are working to be, increasingly digital. When correctly deployed, digital platforms reach customers with highly-specific profile targeting, leveraging features such as Google’s custom intent audiences. Despite the fact that many are working remotely from their home office, marketers are still able to target and communicate key messaging with potential customers.

However, we must consider how users are engaging with content much differently than just a few weeks ago. Right now, interest-based campaigns that reach customers higher in the marketing sales funnel are outperforming text search campaigns. Be sure your digital marketing team, or the agency you partner with, is remaining nimble – interpreting data, watching the shifts and repositioning ad campaigns to continually maximize return.

Digital behaviors and routines have also shifted. The data you built your digital campaign strategies around has probably changed – and now must be evaluated and readjusted for today’s customer behaviors. For example, if social marketing (paid or organic) is part of your mix, have you revisited those campaigns in depth? Some platforms are reporting a 66% increase in social media engagement, and across some demographic groups, people are reportedly spending 3-7 hours per day on social sites!

Beyond just increasing social activity, how are you altering your desktop verses mobile ad deployment, ad timing, content delivery and platforms?

5. Track & Shift

Whenever you shift marketing messaging, targeting or objectives, you need to track and analyze. Right now, many organizations have changed all three of those considerations. Add to that an economy and a workforce that has undergone huge changes, and major parts of that January marketing plan may need to be addressed. Be flexible, be fast and be smart – and get help when you get spread too thin.

One positive point is that most marketers already have heavily integrated data tracking tools into their performance reviews. The increases in digital engagement over past weeks has provided enough data for marketers to extract trends, analyze patterns and make predictions. Staying attuned to performance metrics is critical now. Marketers who are on top of the data and can be nimble – adjusting while staying on plan – have an opportunity for significant success.

Stay Results-Focused, With Partners That Can Support Your Needs

Today’s climate requires dedicated attention and a proactive approach to effectively navigate changes. It takes time, attention to details, and a collaborative approach to address what virtually none of us have dealt with before.

If you’re looking for a B2B marketing agency partner who can help you with marketing strategy development or digital marketing efforts, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation, and let us help you Power Up Your Marketing.

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