COVID-19 has disrupted and upended the B2B space, but many businesses are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. That raises an inevitable question: "What now?” Digital marketing strategy for manufacturers will always hew to certain fundamentals, but when the "new normal” feels fundamentally different, how do you rethink B2B marketing plans for changing times? Based on our experience providing creative marketing services in Rockford, IL, here are three key suggestions.
A customer profile, or avatar, is a key part of any B2B marketing strategy. What and how you market is, after all, determined in no small part by the businesses to which you’ll market. But your existing customer profiles may be woefully outdated since your customers and prospects have encountered their share of changes and challenges, too. Effective marketing demands reaching them where they are right now.
Tip: Data is your friend. But data ages, so gather newer, more relevant, data to form a more accurate customer profile. And encourage your past, present, and prospective clients to think long term so you can understand and help them better to meet their goals. Begin with the 20% of your customers who drive 80% of your business and build outward from there.
Every brand has a story to tell, of which their product or service is only one key part. Their values, methods, and history all combine to create and reinforce a unique selling proposition, too. If your business was fortunate enough to weather the pandemic intact, what are the lessons you’ve drawn from that experience? How has it changed your goals and the ways in which you approach each facet of your business, from product to delivery to customer service?
Tip: Acknowledging your challenges and shortcomings—as well as how you may have surprised yourself in meeting them—helps you see your customers’ experience in a new light, allowing you to communicate your value to them more clearly. It can also open the door to a more honest and resonant approach to everything from social media marketing to B2B content strategy.
Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of your customers and a renewed understanding of your business, it’s time to make some small adjustments to your marketing. Bring multiple stakeholders to the table since this phase will involve thinking about pricing strategy, as well as longer-term thinking on product variety and viability. Determine how your older marketing strategy may not serve your new direction, whether it’s rethinking your trade show marketing or re-asserting outdoor advertising now that more people are returning to a traditional commute.
Tip: Customer experience (CX) that puts the customer front-and-center, finds meaningful ways to add value, and boosts your word-of-mouth is one of the most underrated marketing tools we know of. But for all that’s changed due to the pandemic, it remains one of the most cost-effective. Make sure that your marketing and CX are mutually reinforcing, identifying and removing friction at as many points in your sales process as possible.
As Cain & Company rapidly approaches our fiftieth year in business, we’ve had time to reflect on the many changes we’ve seen and how we’ve helped our clients thrive. Let us leverage that experience to your benefit. Get in touch today for marketing that makes a difference to you and your customers alike.