Effects of the Pandemic Likely to Leave a Lasting Impression on B2B Marketing
COVID-19 has changed the B2B marketing landscape – maybe forever. A digital presence was the key to surviving the pandemic for many businesses. Now that things are beginning to open up again, many B2B marketers wonder if it is time to get back to business-as-usual. In other words, should these businesses continue to rely primarily on online tools to connect with customers and prospects or go back to a more traditional marketing approach?
There is probably no easy answer to this question. While offline marketing has its strengths, the fact is that digital marketing was gaining significant traction well before the pandemic hit and shows no signs of slowing.
At LeadGen Compass, we believe there were four especially significant ways the pandemic pushed digital marketing to the forefront of B2B over the past year.
- Digital channels became customer touchpoints. Search engines and social media sites became the place where people came to do business. Online orders replaced in-person interactions. This is likely to be a permanent shift as research shows that digital channels are becoming the preferred communication method for B2B buyers who say they prefer the ease of scheduling, savings, and safety.
- Virtual meetings replaced business travel. B2B buyers and sellers established virtual relationships as face-to-face meetings came to a screeching halt due to the pandemic. Customer support through live chat, email marketing, and paid ads drove the majority of leads, and video calls became the place to close contracts.
- Remote work is the norm. Marketing now occurs in living rooms, and office hours have shifted from 8 to 5 to any time, day or night. This impacted how and when people worked with one another. Remote working also allowed businesses to hire from outside of their immediate area, opening up a whole new talent pool.
- Marketing campaigns had to address a global pandemic. B2B marketers could not afford to appear tone-deaf. Every marketing campaign had to be framed in light of a worldwide health crisis while still connecting with their particular target audience.
As the pandemic begins to wind down, B2B marketers may or may not shift back to offline marketing. While these more traditional approaches to B2B marketing are likely to remain effective, one thing is certain: digital marketing will remain critical.
Now that buyers have had a chance to see how well digital marketing can work for them, they will be unlikely to go back entirely to the way things were before. B2B marketers are likely to feel the same way. After all, are there many people who look forward to fighting rush hour traffic or boarding crowded flights?
As we move past 2020 into 2021 we know that while the world will return to normal in many ways there are some things that will be changed forever. To get a headstart on 2021 and what comes next contact LeadGen Compass to set up a more secure future for your company.