PR | 23rd of July, 2020
B2B PR in a post-lockdown world
The world is changing faster than ever before. Digital transformation is disrupting industry after industry and is redefining how brands connect to customers, how they do business, deliver value and make money.
As COVID-19 wreaks havoc on traditional models of B2B marketing, the race to embrace digital transformation has been expedited. Pressure to transform the marketing function has never been greater.
Where previously, B2B companies relied on traditional marketing methods to build out pipelines, many have been forced to embrace virtual events and increase their digital marketing spend.
In many cases the enforced changes are helping business better understand the opportunities to be gleaned from increasing brand relevance versus focusing purely on product. Never has it been more important to understand the customer journey, choose the right channels for the task, and use analytics to prove impact.
Ultimately those that embrace a targeted and data-driven approach will see better results and survive, even thrive, in the wake of this global pandemic. PR can play a major role in making this happen.
Our top five opportunities for B2B brands are:
- Embrace the flight to digital
A rush to digital that was happening before even COVID-19 struck has since accelerated to meet the immediate needs of brands. A recent McKinsey survey of global business leaders revealed that more than two thirds of sales B2B companies transitioned to a virtual sales model during the pandemic. Clearly there will be some return to offline sales once full-service resumes, but don’t expect a return to ‘business as usual’. Success for B2B will require a deeper understanding of and investment in impactful digital sales and marketing strategies.
- Learn from this experience and prepare for the future
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. While many brands will have put in place crisis communications plan to help them manage a multitude of reputation threats, few will have anticipated or prepared for a crisis such as COVID-19. Business will need to rethink their resilience strategies based on the learnings from this pandemic and develop plans which can best prepare them to weather the storm of any future crisis or unexpected event.
- Think like a consumer brand
In the rush to compensate for lost sales time, it might be tempting to focus solely on shifting product. However, business should overlook brand investment at their peril. Now more than ever, buyers will seek security in brands which they trust and with whom they are loyal. This means creativity, storytelling and long-term brand building are just as important as re-focused product or service sales strategies.
- Mean something more
To succeed in a post-lockdown world, B2B brands will simply have to stand for something more than profit. This means brand, sales and social responsibility must converge in creating future-proof brands. In a post-lockdown world, playing a role in society and people’s lives is critical to ensuring your customers care about you. Buyers are attaching increased importance to suppliers who play an active role in society, and brands looking to take on investment or secure loans will increasingly need to demonstrate their ESG credentials. The business case is clear. Standing on the sidelines is no longer an option.
- Know your buyer
The rush to digital brings significant commercial and communication opportunities for those B2B brands willing to embrace such a transformation. However, a robust digital strategy is only as good as your audience understanding. Brands who possess deep insights into their buying audience will be able to generate and convert more leads, increasing revenue, and build brand loyalty for the longer term.
Head of B2B PR