In the times of pandemic, business-to-business organizations have suffered immensely. But, as “living with the pandemic” becomes new norm markets and the customers are rapidly changing too.
In such an environment, all the industry experts are convinced that we might never go back to the old ways. The new normal in the businesses environment focused more on interactions with social distance and a reliance on technology
For instance, in the below graph by Marketing Charts, you can see how COVID has impacted the marketing efforts of businesses.
This simply means that business-to-business organizations need to change the way they operate. They need to change how they promote and market to how they maintain their consumer engagement, and so much more.
So, the biggest question remains – “How B2B companies can change their strategies in the post-COVID world?” The question is simple and the answer is just as simple– “By following new trends in the world of business and marketing”.
So, in this blog post, we bring to you industry experts who will explore the trends in B2B marketing that businesses need to adapt to succeed post-pandemic.
Here’s Our Expert Panel
- Cindy Dubon
- Mandy McEwen
- Adam White
- Michael Collins
- Peter G. Goral
- Michael Houlihan
- Dan Gingiss
- Juan Pablo Tejela
- Ryan Foland
- Sarah Weise
- Jason Barnard
- Brian Mac Mahon
- Shep Hyken
- Reyzan Shali
- Navi Kang
- Shane Barker
#1 Cindy Dubon
COVID forced a lot of companies to lean into a strong(er) inbound marketing strategy, especially those who were heavily reliant on events for lead generation pre-pandemic. Winning in the digital space is no doubt going to come down to strong brand fueled by quality content. B2B marketers need to focus on putting out multi-format content that educates and delivers value. In this new normal, people may not have time to sit and read a blog but will maybe listen to your podcast on a walk outside. It’s time to try all the formats and build audiences across different channels. The new normal is ever changing and you’re going to do your brand a disservice by staying static. The most successful marketers post-COVID will be doing things differently than before or even during the pandemic because they quickly learned and iterated.
Cindy Dubon is a B2B marketer with seven+ years of experience creating demand for new products in traditionally technology-aversed industries. She is passionate about strategically using brand awareness efforts to drive demand generation results. Cindy is currently Senior Marketing Manager at Perceptyx where she focuses on creating demand for the company’s robust employee survey and people analytics solution. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn .
#2 Mandy McEwen
Authentic marketing is key right now. Be human. Show compassion. Provide value. GIVE without the expectation of receiving. Build meaningful relationships. The most efficient B2B channel right now to do all of this is LinkedIn. Focus on providing valuable, thought leadership content while building relationships with key individuals. It’s proving more effective and more affordable than paid advertising or other traditional methods of marketing right now. There is so much you can do right now with LinkedIn to stand out and get in front of your ideal target market. You can build direct relationships very quickly and much easier than with any other B2B marketing channel.
Mandy McEwen is the Founder & CEO of Mod Girl Marketing, an award-winning digital marketing agency based in California. She was named a top 24 B2B marketer by LinkedIn, listed by Search Engine Journal as a top 12 SEO expert, and named a top 20 female marketer by G2. Leveraging LinkedIn and thought leadership, Mandy and her team unlock growth opportunities for good people and brands who deserve them, resulting in more brand awareness, more authority, and more revenue.You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
#3 Adam White
Although COVID-19 has had a negative effect on the economy as a whole, businesses that survive mostly online have actually thrived during this time. At SEOJet we made the strategic decision to not scale back marketing efforts like most of our competitors were doing, but to actually increase them during the pandemic. In the last 6 months we have seen over 30% growth in MRR of our software. So in that sense we decided to buck the “scale back” trend and it has worked out great for us.
Adam White is the founder of SEOJet, backlink software that helps SEOs build amazing backlink profiles that crush Google. He has been an SEO professional since 2002 and in his spare time he wrote and directed a feature film. He lives in Arizona with his wife and 7 children.
#4 Michael Collins
Conferences will be transformed into the Digital World.
When a global threat such as COVID-19 makes it dangerous to congregate in large groups, it’s harmful to any business which relies on gathering hundreds or thousands of people in a single area for their events. If your business relies on events and conventions, either directly or indirectly, invest time and energy exploring online alternatives.
Many conferences traditionally held in person have transitioned to some kind of web-based digital event format. I encourage you to embrace this and invest in the right platform for your business or invest and spend a little money on camera and recording equipment, lighting, or anything else to make your digital event perfect. Over the past few months I’m sure many of you have experienced some less than stellar digital event and that’s where there is a real silver lining. There is a real opportunity for companies to embrace change and experiment with a different way of doing things — and digital events, when done well, can be awesome and really have a long- lasting impact.
Additionally, take time to leverage social media, email, and other channels to nourish relationships with contacts you can no longer meet at conferences or even over a face to face lunch. Keep those connections strong so when we move back into more of a state of normal, they’re ready and willing to engage with you and your company.
Michael Collins is accountable for leading global marketing and customer experience, including demand generation, media relations, and customer care functions. He collaborates across the CFA Institute community to drive growth through effective planning, execution, and measurement. Mr. Collins also oversees the CFA Institute office in New York City. Prior to joining CFA Institute, he worked for both public and private companies including J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller & Company, Iomega, SAGA Software, Mercator Software, Gevity HR, and Computer Sciences Corporation (now DXC Technology). Mr. Collins holds a BA degree in communications from Rowan University in New Jersey. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
#5 Peter G. Goral
As I speak with people across the country I find that there are so many varying mindsets as it relates to their next move in business. Many are still in a state of being overwhelmed and cannot come to grips with their personal struggle to keep their business alive. For them relevance has lost its meaning and value, and so it’s important to revert back to the ABC’s of why they are in business, and work on bringing human values to the forefront of their efforts to continue driving forward.
Regardless of what B2B area you are in the reality is that we have all been close to losing our cool, falling off track, and realizing that we cannot affect the world we live in. We literally have to revert to the things that we know we can manage and often that simply means being more personal with our message to the people on the other side of the equation who we know are being subjected to the very same struggles we are.
By presenting the raw elements of our personal positions we stand a better chance of being relatable and thereby will stand a better chance of being viewed as someone who cares. We have to learn to let people know how we can help rather than just present our solution and hope that it’s compelling enough for them to buy into. That just won’t cut it today, we have to share our story and allow our client to see their’s through the reflective exchange in order to encourage and ultimately engage with us.
As a Social Media Business Strategist, I offer my clients the benefit of many successful years in retail operations, transportation and logistics, business development, executive recruitment, business transformation, digital transformation, change management and social media. Each piece of the puzzle, coupled with my creative skills, brings depth and stability to the development of your brand and audience acquisition strategies. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
#6 Michael Houlihan
FOLLOW THE MONEY! IT COMES FROM THE CONSUMER!
There is no such thing as B2B! There’s B2B2B2C! But there is always a “C” at the end of that moniker – the ultimate consumer that drives the vertical. Just because you are selling B2B, don’t get the idea that you are somehow isolated and insulated from what’s going on at the “C” end.
Remember during the Financial Crisis of 2009 when the economic pundits said, “Don’t worry, this will be restricted to the housing market.” But like a row of dominos, the consumers who were effected by the housing market could no longer afford to buy products in other verticals until the whole house of cards collapsed.
When the business you are selling to looses the business it’s selling to, because that business lost consumers, you will feel the pain, sooner or later. Today, we are seeing huge layoffs that can’t help but hurt consumers and change their spending habits. The businesses that sell directly or indirectly to those consumers will be impacted. They may not be able to continue buying your products and services.
The Big Picture
So if you are in a so called B2B and want to protect your business, you have to be aware of every other business down the chain to the ultimate consumer and what their challenges are. Now you are no longer isolated and insulated from the consumer, on the contrary, you must help save down stream business that rely on the consumer. Now you have to make it your business to thoroughly understand the changing market dynamics at the street level.
Do The Research
How can you go beyond your B2B customer to help save their business and beyond? What are the products that are in demand in this crisis? What are the services that consumers now need to survive? It’s not just Covid – 19, it’s climate change! Make it your business to know which industries are going to be in demand. Find B2B customers who service those industries and offer alternatives to the businesses down the chain from your existing clients as well.
That’s our perspective on how to survive as a B2B provider when the B2C’s they depend upon are in turmoil. It’s not B2B any more, it’s B2B2B2C!
Founder of Barefoot Wines and Business Audiobook Theatre. New York Times bestselling author, 2020 Business Audie Finalist from the Audiobook Publishers Association, contributor to the Business Journals, Entrepreneur, and several other business publications, nature lover and avid hiker. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
#7 Dan Gingiss
Customer experience is not just a B2C thing! Your customers are also consumers, and they are comparing their experience with your company to every other experience they’ve had personally and professionally. Plus, when you create remarkable experiences for your customers, they tell their friends and colleagues, creating that elusive word-of-mouth marketing that is so hard to come by in the B2B world. So stop focusing exclusively on more new sales without first plugging your “leaky bucket” of existing customers who are leaving you for a better experience.
Dan Gingiss is an international keynote speaker and customer experience coach who believes that a remarkable customer experience can be your best marketing. His 20-year professional career included leadership positions at three Fortune 300 companies – McDonald’s, Discover and Humana. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
#8 Juan Pablo Tejela
Due to restrictions and confinements in the era of post Covid 19, people are spending more time with online platforms for entertainment.
Social networks such as TikTok, YouTube and Twitch have grown in number of users, so companies are increasingly demanding more features for marketing and advertising on these types of platforms.
Figures speak for themselves: in Metricool we have noticed how the number of new channels that are registered on Twitch and YouTube and the demand from companies for features to reach these users have increased.
Therefore, we can conclude that one of the trends in digital marketing for this new era is marked by the growth of social networks for entertainment and the new challenges that companies have to face to increase their reach on these platforms, attract more users and ultimately, make a name on these networks.
Juan Pablo Tejela is the CEO of Metricool, the online tool that allows you to manage social networks and digital advertising platforms from a single site. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
#9 Ryan Foland
When it comes to building relationships in a post Covid-19 era, I encourage you to find, showcase, and connect with the human elements of not only your business, but also of your clients, partners and stakeholders. Simply put, it means to double down on the personal relationships in your business circle. How well do you know your point person who’s the account manager, or the sales representative that is responsible for driving profits from your partnerships? Because the pandemic has added extra stress to our lives, running a thriving business can become more stressful. When business is stressful, creativity drops, innovation lags, and tensions rise.
In my book, Ditch the Act, I discuss how sharing your human side is a great way to connect with people and relate to them. Being vulnerable with your business contacts in the B2B world will let them get to know you a little bit better, and create opportunities for them to reciprocate. I often say, people don’t want to do business with businesses—they want to do business with people. So take time for small talk before meetings, send follow-up emails and check in with people without having any agenda. When you share with people how you’re really feeling (good or bad), there is a good chance they will open up to you as well. When people open up, it fosters stronger working relationships. Stronger working relationships leads to better business to business relationships.
Ryan Foland is a high energy speaker, podcast host, and consultant who teaches executives how to build their personal brands. His 3-1-3® Method uncovers core brand messaging to guide bespoke content marketing strategies. Ryan has given 4 TEDx talks and has been featured in Inc., Entrepreneur, Forbes, Fortune, and more. His award winning book, Ditch the Act, teaches you how to get ahead in business by simply being human. For fun, Ryan sails, draws stick figures, and raps. Learn more at https://ryan.online. You can connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn .
#10 Sarah Weise
There is no playbook for brands in a post-COVID world. The fact that all commercials since March have been virtually identical suggests that brands have no idea what they’re supposed to do. Those who will win today are the ones who have been deeply listening and empathizing with their customers, and taking steps to reimagine their marketing strategies—not just copying what the other guy is doing.
The single best thing a company can do right now is invest in really good market research… and not just a quant survey. Genuine, deep qualitative conversations with customers are key to understanding new challenges that are presenting themselves, and how people are choosing to solve them.
For years, marketers have told everyone to niche down and attack a single platform with riffle-like precision. Yet today, the most adaptable, modern businesses are doing just the opposite. Instead of a riffle mentality, they’re scanning the market ecosystem like radar, spotting unique omni-channel opportunities.
For example, as we move to a more local “homebody economy” where a local neighborhood and home is now the hub of activity of most families, marketers need to re-think their media mix holistically across platforms. Most marketers aren’t considering expanding to videoconferencing, augmented and virtual reality, video games, and voice AI systems… but why not? The modern-day marketer will need to challenge status-quo models of marketing and engage with interfaces across the home, seamlessly delivering a message to all the phones, tablets, TV screens, and voice AI systems that are on simultaneously. They will need to shift their marketing game to hyper-local targeting, tapping into local community pages and networks too.
And if they want to avoid losing tens of thousands of dollars along the way, they’ll take a beat to listen for what their unique customer segments need, today and in the future.
Sarah Weise is the CEO of award-winning marketing research agency Bixa and the bestselling author of InstaBrain: The New Rules for Marketing to Generation Z. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
#11 Jason Barnard
Covid has changed, and will continue to change, the way companies train their workforce.
Pre-Covid (aka pre-2020), businesses were already increasingly shifting to online courses and training programmes to upskill their employees. One obvious and immediate knock-on effect of the Covid lock-down was that it forced on businesses an acceleration of that move towards remote learning.
Although that shift may initially have appeared temporary, the success of both remote working and remote learning, plus the ongoing Covid restrictions have served to: 1) encourage businesses already investing in online courses and training to expand that investment 2) forced the hand of businesses that were initially reticent and held back
The online education market had already been growing for years. Covid has changed the game. No business can now realistically ignore online courses and training. Remote learning has been pushed very much to the fore and it looks like, even post-Covid, it will remain front and center for businesses when it comes to upskilling their workforce.
Jason Barnard is an author, speaker and consultant on all things digital marketing. His specialist subject is Brand SERPs (what appears when someone googles your name). He teaches Brand SERP optimization to students at Kalicube.pro. He also hosts a marketing podcast, where the smartest people in marketing talk to Jason about subjects they know inside out. The conversations are always interesting, always intelligent and always fun! You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter .
#12 Brian Mac Mahon
At Expert DOJO we focus on marketing our companies and in this post covid-19 era the world has become a smaller place. We now market digitally in India as much as we do in the USA. We are also using many more virtual assistants to outreach to the multitude of opportunities available to us. The key is to give them a rigid structure and then focus all the efforts on email outreach. By targeting lists of opportunities in this way we are getting a far higher rate of engagement than just the previous facebook or instagram advertising. In the business world we are also finding Linked in and Pinterest and TikTok much more effective advertising mediums than before.
Brian is the founder of the biggest startup accelerator in Southern California. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter .
#13 Shep Hyken
Empathy and the Human Connection: Over the past several years there has been a trend to further automate and create digital self-service solutions to support customers before, during and after their purchase. COVID-19 accelerated this, pushing us into the future by three to five years as companies adapted and adopted existing technologies. The downside to that is that while these digital and automated solutions were needed, the pandemic also caused a loss of human-to-human connection. Smart companies and brands are recogninizing the need to bake empathy into the experience that comes with a seamless connection to a human when the customer wants and needs it.
Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker and NYT bestselling author, helps companies deliver AMAZING customer service experiences! You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.
#14 Reyzan Shali
A healthy business person is a successful business person. In today’s post Covid-19 era, when you look at business relationships, whether it’s business-to-consumer or business-to-business, as a licensed doctor I can tell you that your physical and mental health is directly proportional to your ability to be successful in today’s business world. Many times in business we focus on success as a metric of growth, increasing profits or expanding territory. One metric that gets easily overlooked is the health of business owners. I see patients who have the stamina to carry out their responsibilities as entrepreneurs and leaders because they have chosen to put their health first. This allows them to handle the extra stress that comes with running a business. Those individuals who neglect their health are indirectly not taking care of their business. My advice for successful B2B companies in 2020 and beyond starts with healthy practices. To start, diet is crucial, and I recommend a mostly plant-based diet. Physical activity is a must, which should include at least 30 minutes of walking each day. And finally, mental health cannot be overlooked. At a minimum, take small breaks, delegate when necessary, reduce your tendency to multitask, and don’t forget to make time to connect with friends and family on non-business topics. Consider this your “B2B business prescription,” signed by me, Dr. Shali.
Dr. Reyzan Shali is a board-certified internal medicine and primary care physician, author, and speaker. She has assisted thousands of patients throughout her career and has dedicated her life to helping as many oncology patients as possible improve their odds in the fight against cancer.You can connect with her on Twitter.
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