COVID – 19: Why B2B Digital Marketing is the Way to Go
April 30th, 2020
Social Copy: As the devastating COVID engulfs the marketing industry, the B2B marketing sector is experiencing a shift towards the digital world. Read on to find out why digital marketing is the only way forward for B2B companies.
Puzzling the world with its first appearance in Wuhan in December last year, the coronavirus has now spread to almost every country. The death toll keeps increasing every minute, while healthcare systems struggle to cope with the disease. Even countries with the best healthcare systems seem to crumble under the increasing death and infection rates of the disease. Leading pharmaceutical and medical research industries have started developing and testing vaccines and treatment methods, but it will be at least a year before they become accessible to everyone.
Coronavirus’ Effect on Marketing
Even though no sector remains unaffected by the deadly pandemic, the economy is certainly the worst hit. Stocks have plummeted to endless depths, the real estate sector has gone into dark ages, millions in the US have lost their jobs, companies have declared bankruptcy, and the travel and hospitality industries are suffering irreparable damage. Such economic devastation had only been seen during the Great Depression and the 2008 financial crisis.
The marketing industry does not remain free from this temporary economic crash either. Data intelligence company PredictHQ published a report showing that in February alone, a 500% increase in cancellation of important events like trade shows and fairs was seen. To make the scenario worse, sporting and political events that used to be marketing hubs have also been postponed or cancelled. Overall, a 10.6% decline was observed in marketing, according to MofettNathanson. For the B2B marketing world that depends largely on such physical marketing events, this data is bad news.
What to Do Now?
Even though offline or physical marketing has come to a complete halt amid curfews and lockdowns, no brand can abandon all marketing efforts. Doing so can make it impossible for them to resurface once the economy reopens. Remember that even though the market is shut down, people are still attentive and remember your brand; however, they won’t for long if you keep yourself out of the spotlight during these months of crisis. A heavy barrage of marketing messages might seem like unnecessary noise to the buyer, but their absence is conspicuous. An absence from the marketing world right now can invite disinterest in your brand, and you might struggle to stay afloat in a competitive market later.
As a marketer, it will undoubtedly be challenging for you to manage high-quality marketing and lead generation campaigns. The only way to do that effectively is to relocate your remaining funds to online or digital marketing.
Digital Marketing: The B2B Marketer’s Savior
B2B companies spend 40% of their available funds on physical marketing, whereas only 8% on digital or online campaigns, according to a research conducted by Marketing Charts. These numbers seem baffling in a world dominated by connectivity and digitization but now afflicted by the coronavirus. Thankfully, companies around the world have realized the potential of digital marketing and its ability to deliver leads, conversions, and ultimately, revenue in these tough times. In a Drum survey, 14% of respondents said that they were reallocating portions of their offline budgets to online efforts, while a 22.2% rise in social media ad spending was predicted. It is time you join the herd of these wise marketers and uplift your brand using digital marketing.
Here are a few reasons digital marketing can be your brand’s salvation in a crashing economy, and how you can leverage it effectively –
- Lockdowns and Cancellations
Trade shows and advertisement fairs require your clients’ physical attendance. This is not possible, as governments around the world have imposed strict lockdowns. Even in countries where a government-mandated lockdown does not exist, people are observing quarantine to protect themselves from the virus. Even mailing and courier services are not operating properly in many regions, making it useless for brands to continue producing physical brochures, pamphlets, or product catalogues.
Due to these restrictions, you cannot imagine holding any offline marketing event. The only way to educate customers about your products and services, now, is through online channels. You can use click-based ads, modify your website, start new email campaigns or start social media ads to achieve everything that a trade show would. With software like Skype making video conferencing easier and accessible, you can move all-important one-on-one client meetings and events online instead of cancelling them.
In times of social distancing, online channels will bring you closer to your clients.
- Slashed Marketing Budgets
To brace themselves against an economic downturn, brands have started saving funds by cutting down advertising budgets. Events like trade shows require massive amounts of resources, none of which are available anymore.
Darwin’s rule of survival applies here too – you will survive if you adapt, and an optimal way to do that on a tight budget is to revamp your digital marketing strategy. Even with a small budget, digital marketing will guarantee your brand better lead generation and conversion rates, and increased customer engagement.
Since online ads are generally cheaper than physical ones, creating or continuing digital campaigns should not be financially challenging for your brand. Social media posts, videos, images, and blogs can also be influential ways to interact with your leads and existing clientele, and none of them requires excessive funding. Similarly, you can raise brand awareness or communicate with your customers via your brand’s coronavirus management strategy. Such ongoing communication will keep your customers’ interest in your brand alive, and will not drain your limited budget. Companies around the world have realized the utility of digital and social media marketing in the wake of the coronavirus.
- Ease of Tracking
In times where you need every single dollar of your marketing budget to render some form of return, you cannot afford to abandon tracking the success rates of your marketing strategy. If some marketing method doesn’t work yet continues drawing limited funds, it will ultimately reduce your budget even more.
Digital ad campaigns are far easier to track than physical ones. This is because every single click, subscription, or website visit generates data that can be stored or purchased. The moment you create a new campaign, you can use several software or AI technologies to track its performance.
Whether you are creating click-based ads, posting new blogs, or sending out awareness emails, you can know which of them are proving to be most profitable for your brand by tracking different metrics. Once you realize that some channels are not performing optimally, you can pull your funds out of them and cancel or modify your campaign before you lose too much money.
With a wise digital marketing strategy, you can tackle the COVID scare and emerge afloat in a slow yet competitive post-pandemic economy. Act quickly and go digital soon to ward off the ill-effects of a reduced marketing budget, strict lockdowns, and broken supply chains.