Developing a Strong B2B Marketing Plan in a Volatile Environment

A key factor in resilience is adaptability. – Forbes, March 2020

Considering current circumstances, businesses should understand the significance of this statement.

There’s no denying that developing a strategic marketing plan in volatile conditions, such as the coronavirus pandemic, is tough. Businesses are in the spotlight, and as such, have a responsibility to act sensitively and ensure their marketing plan is reflective of that sensitivity. Ultimately, your business must look at new ways of developing your B2B marketing plan to adapt to new conditions.

During these times, you may find yourself quieter than usual, or conversely, you may be busier than before. Either way, the key is setting the foundation for a successful business when things return to ‘normal’. Our top marketing trends of 2020 may be a useful starting point, as well as the following helpful tips and tricks for developing your B2B marketing plan while operating in a volatile environment.

1. Leverage Content Marketing

It is important to incorporate content marketing into your B2B marketing plan, regardless of the environment you are operating within. As we navigate unknown and volatile spaces, the content and messaging you are putting out will be heavily influenced by the current business environment. In difficult times, like what we are facing with COVID-19, ensure that your messaging is still relevant to your audience.

While it is always important to be relevant in your industry, you must be sensitive to the differing situations that your customers, clients or audience are finding themselves within. Don’t just churn out all the same content that you had originally planned to. Stay relevant by constantly changing and adapting; this will allow you to connect with your audience and deliver what they want or need from you when the going gets tough.

2. Optimise your Digital Spaces

When business is thriving, we all have a habit of putting those administrative type tasks in the ‘too hard’ basket. In times you find business is slowing down, it is a great opportunity to move those tasks onto your to-do list.  Optimising your digital channels is one of these tasks. Depending on the industry you work within, the specific channels will differ but the strategy remains the same. We have outlined a few ideas for how you can get started and begin to prioritise some of those dreaded tasks.

  • Take the time to access the analytics of your digital channels. We can all be guilty of neglecting this when things get busy, so take the time to learn about what channels and campaigns are performing well and identify any trends to inform potential changes or updates.
  • Optimise your website and social media channels for SEO. It may have been a while since you last conducted keyword research. If so, take the time to identify relevant keywords and ensure you are incorporating them into your copywriting.
  • Audit your website to ensure all of the content is still relevant and up to date. Take the time to upload testimonials or any accolades you have received.
  • Brainstorm some strategies to grow your social media network or following. This way, when businesses returns to its normal state, you can hit the ground running with building your online profile.
  • Use any spare time to plan out your content calendars, whether it is for LinkedIn, Facebook or email marketing. You will thank yourself for having a backlog of content to fall on when business picks back up.

3. Focus on Building Relationships with your Customers/Clients

While the world may be topsy-turvy at the moment, keeping your customer at the centre of your business strategy is more important than ever. Tech Crunch

Customer/client satisfaction should drive your marketing strategy at all times. This becomes even more important in times of volatility. With challenges and changes to our business environment, come changes to customer/client needs.

It is important to remember that during challenging times, getting that deal across the line is not what you should be focusing on. With volatile business conditions comes high stress and you run the risk of rubbing your clients and customers the wrong way if you push too hard. It is a time to build, nurture and maintain your current relationships. This might mean varying planned communications, depending on your industry and business, however a few simple tips we recommend are:

  • Pick up the phone. Utilise the spare time you have to reconnect with your clientele and catch up on how things have been going. When business is going well and things are busy, we often neglect this, so capitalise on this time to get to know your clients a bit better.
  • Be transparent and understanding. If you are in the position to do so, you might look to extend some of your customers’ invoice dates back a week or two if you know they are struggling. Or you can show you care by simply being understanding when they can’t renew their contact right away.
  • Send your bigger clients a care package. It might even be a comical attempt but regardless, brighten their day and let them know you are thinking of them.

By looking after your clients and customers, you ensure that the relationship is maintained so that when business returns back to a normal state, they are more likely to renew their contracts and continue doing business with you.

4. Look for Ways to Help Your Community

If you have the ability to help, either through your business or personal initiatives, determine ways you can help out those around you. It is during these vulnerable times that we have the ability to impact others in a positive way and ensure we are contributing to the community. It is humbling to see the ways businesses and individuals have stepped up over the last few weeks.

Forbes reported that a group of entrepreneurs in Toronto have started a social tech venture in the rise of the coronavirus pandemic, to assist restaurants with their cash-flow.

Many small businesses and restaurants, in particular, are hit extremely hard right now. Due to the shutdown, many have zero revenue but still have bills to pay and people to employ. Our mission is to help these businesses make it through this crisis by selling gift cards – Forbes

Stories of individuals helping out the elderly or vulnerable with their grocery shopping have been surfacing over the past few weeks, while others have donated money or food to local shelters. There are many things we can do, large and small, that will help the communities we live in and contribute either socially, financially or economically.

Operating in a volatile and uncertain environment is challenging and may affect multiple parts of your business. Your B2B marketing strategy will inevitably change in these conditions as your responsibility to be sensitive and ethical becomes greater than before. They key is to be adaptive, and to do so quickly. Make the necessary changes to your marketing plan, from messaging updates to reinvesting in different channels. Remember that many businesses are not making money, and most individuals aren’t abiding by their barefoot investor budget, so that last thing they all want is to be sold to. Focus on building and maintaining those meaningful relationships and help out if you have the capability to do so.

For more information, or if you have any questions on the above, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Most importantly, everyone at The Lead Agency hopes that you stay safe and well during this time.