Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
As mentioned last month, business buyers are altering their spend during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the current crisis, B2B buyers expressed concern about the possibility of a recession this year. Additionally, if a recession occurred, they wanted vendors to be better resources for them. They expected more quality and accurate information about what they are buying and confidence in the decision to buy.
In the throes of the downturn, vendors must recognize that prospects and customers are busy mitigating losses, minimizing layoffs and carefully maintaining their financial footing. It is exactly the wrong time for aggressive marketing and sales. Promotion alone will turn off buyers who face tough decisions about where they need to cut. B2B vendors need to show concern, offer assistance, and offer solutions to the customer’s problems. Sales and revenues take a back seat to problem-solving and relationships.
Michael Brenner, founder and CEO of B2B content agency Marketing Insider Group said, “No one is buying, but everyone is learning. We are advising clients to continue publishing educational content and even to take advantage of low CPMs in digital to promote helpful guides and webinars.”
In a recent emarketer.com article, ‘How B2B Buyer Behavior Has Changed in Light of COVID-19, and What Marketers and Sellers Can Do Now,’ Jillian Ryan concludes that B2B marketers need to be patient as their buyers, including current customers, are making hard decisions.
However, vendors should use the time to audit existing marketing plans. Are there any that are irrelevant or in bad taste because of the new reality? If so, cut it or rework it. What email communications are going out? Do those serve the audience in a practical way? How can brand messages and marketing add value and not noise? Is there a way to pivot in an authentic way to show how the company will serve those affected by the pandemic? If so, consider implementing those tactics to maintain client trust and relationships.