This blog is written with insights from Lisa Shepherd‘s’ TEC webinar: “6 Practical & Immediate Ways to Pivot Your Marketing in a Crisis“.
Lisa Shepherd is a keynote speaker and President of the Mezzanine Group. Specializing in business-to-business (B2B) marketing, Mezzanine Group has worked with over 250 B2B companies of all sizes across more than 30 industries.
The world has changed, and your demand and lead generation plans need to change with it.
The team at Mezzanine has talked with marketing leaders in B2B companies across North America and with our own clients. From those conversations, here are 6 practical and immediate ways that they’re making changes in their plans, and you should consider them too.
6 Practical and Immediate Changes to Consider
B2B marketing experts are using these 6 principles to pivot their marketing and lead generation plans:
- Shift Your Message
When it comes to shifting your message, there are a few things to consider.
First, let’s assume that you’ve already done the ‘how we’re handling COVID-19’ messages to your stakeholders, and you’ve covered the 2 key components, which are what your business continuity plans are, and how you’re handling the health and well-being of your staff.
Second, what’s important right now is to be nimble in your messaging. The COVID crisis is evolving quickly, and messages are changing to match what’s happening and what’s being felt in society, in the economy, in the rules and regulations that we’re living by.
Third, make sure to revisit your automated marketing messages if you use an automated marketing platform like Hubspot or Pardot. Chances are you have a lot of automated email messages going out in sequences based on actions your prospects took in the first part of this year or last year. Those messages are probably not effective or might even be inappropriate for the current environment. Go back and check what you’re sending out through your automated system.
- Analyze What’s Really Happening In your business
First, look at your data. What is going on with your website? What is Google Analytics telling you? Are the search volumes for some of your keywords up while others are down? If so, turn the tap off on the ones that are low and double down on the ones that are up. Work on the webpages that are optimized for your strong keywords. Consider creating special offers for emerging, new and growing needs.
The second way to figure out if you have specific opportunities is to have your sales team do a customer calls blitz. In a 48-hour period, have your sales team connect with 10 current or past customers to talk about their business and hear what’s going on for them. These conversations will help them identify possible opportunities. Are customers looking for particular solutions based on what’s going on with their business? They may even make suggestions to you about services that would be helpful to them.
- Reprioritize Campaigns
Your 2020 plan now feels woefully off the mark. The world has changed, at least for now. So, re-align your campaigns to the current situation. Have a look at the market segments, the solutions and the offers that you had planned for your campaigns, and reprioritize them for whatever has the highest potential and the highest need right now.
You may have opportunities in industries that you were planning on targeting in Q4. Move those up to Q2. You may have been planning to secure a number of large contracts in Q2 – it may be difficult to get those contracts signed in some sectors right now. Perhaps some customers are going to be interested in service contracts to help them maintain uptime in the coming months and avoid employee shortages or failing to have sufficient back up capacity. Look at each of your campaigns based on the market segment and the solution you were offering, and shift things around based on current information.
- Do Something Bold and Unprecedented For Your Brand
There is the opportunity now to do something unprecedented and bold for your company’s reputation and brand, while doing something very good for the world. There are many good examples already – we’ve seen Canada Goose manufacturing scrubs, alcohol makers producing hand sanitizer and UberEats waiving deliver fees for independent restaurants. Those are just a few examples.
There are so many creative ways you can break through the noise now, and do something that is great for your community AND also will contribute to your company’s positive reputation.
For inspiration, have a look at 50 Ways Companies Are Giving Back During The Pandemic. There are big and small ideas there. Turn to your team for their ideas. It will productively use their minds right now, and give them something positive and optimistic to think about and work on.
- Focus Your Team
Marketing leaders are concerned about their teams. They often have young staff members who haven’t been through a downturn, and they often work with freelancers who don’t know where their next paycheque will come from.
Marketing leaders are doing a couple of things to help their people stay focused and productive.
The first thing is that they’re using this time to get prepared for later in the year. Use your resources – and this can mean your contractors and freelancers as well as employees – to prepare content, collateral and lists that you’ll use later in the year. All those case studies, whitepapers and blogs you say you want to develop but never seem to have the time to? Now’s the time. Now is also a great time for your team members to get certified and learn new technologies.
- Stay The Course
The data is entirely consistent over the last 100 years: companies who maintain or increase their market presence through a downturn grow disproportionately faster and larger after the downturn than competitors who cut.
For many marketers, this is the first significant economic downturn they’ve experienced. And for many more of us – the vast majority – this is the first global pandemic of our careers. No one knows exactly how long this situation will be or exactly how it will turn out. But, we hope these 6 tips will help you navigate through and be successful.