Post-COVID, B2B marketing will need to undergo a dramatic shift.
Pandemics like this change the way business is done and the way people react to the world around them.
These shifts are major, often forcing us to change the way we interact with the world.
But pandemics are where innovation gains a foothold, and innovation within your marketing strategy has already become mandatory.
That same innovation must translate to the things you do while the world recovers.Thanks to COVID-19, B2B marketing will never be the same. Maybe that's a good thing. Click To Tweet
From this point moving forward, the world you’re doing business in is no longer the world it once was, and it will never be the same again.
Your choices for marketing your B2B business post-COVID are to innovate and adapt or be swept aside by the competition.
Therefore, to fully adapt to the world we’re in, you’ll need to understand the arenas of marketing that have and will change the most.
Let’s take an in-depth look at what post-COVID B2B marketing will do differently.
Post-COVID B2B Marketing Is Necessary For Recovery
There are a lot of B2B businesses that simply don’t invest in some forms of marketing.
However, in the post-COVID world, B2B brands won’t have that luxury if they want to survive the shift in people’s perceptions.
All the available tools will be required for a complete rebound from the financial impact and social change that the pandemic created.
Those tools will encompass the entire breadth of the digital marketing range, even when you might not think they’ll reach your target audience.There has been a massive shift in the way people are using the internet, especially in social media. Click To Tweet
One of the most major changes in the way people engage with brands and the internet.
Much more time is spent on social media than ever before, even among those who wouldn’t normally be.
Just look at the major demographic shift on TikTok.
With these kinds of dramatic changes taking place, old ways of thinking won’t hold anymore.
You’ll have to reconsider where your B2B target market is and adapt to meet them there.
What Will Post-COVID B2B Marketing Bring?
Shifts in post-COVID B2B marketing shouldn’t be all that surprising.
However, they’re going to require completely different behaviors within your B2B marketing strategies to reach your target markets.
The entire B2B marketing environment will have to take on a new philosophy in the post-COVID world.
Sterile, corporate language and personalities must completely disappear if your company is going to reach it’s market effectively.
B2B marketers will have to tap into a warm, emotional space to find their clients.
That’s not something the B2B industry has ever been used to.
Understanding that core change is central to making all the necessary adjustments that the post-COVID world will bring to B2B marketing.
One of the most long-lasting impacts the pandemic will have on people is the effect that social distancing has had on our appreciation of human connection.
Reaching out to your audience with that in mind will help you shift all of your post-COVID B2B marketing strategies with a better understanding of the end goals.
Here’s how the pandemic will leave its mark on B2B marketing.
People Need Deeper Connection
The single most important change in people’s behavior comes from months of social distancing and isolation.
As people understand the importance of the connections they have, they’ll realize that they want more of them.
While B2B marketing continues post-COVID, we’ll have to make more of those connections to reach our target markets.
But those connections can’t be superficial.
People need real connections with the companies and brands they’re going to work with.
They need to truly understand that the company they’re thinking of has their best interests in mind.
This has been true for years, but the need and requirement will be fully realized and acknowledged now.
That’s a huge shift for B2B marketing, which has primarily been focused on good intercompany relationships instead of individual ones.
Shifting like this takes methods of marketing that have typically been unconventional.
Methods that B2B marketers tend to shy away from.
Consider opening your brand up through social media, YouTube, and live feeds to find your way into your audience’s lives and hearts.
Allow your personality and your brand’s personality to take center stage in your marketing.
Let people know that no matter how corporate your product or service is, it’s offered by real people who care about their clients.
Doing so opens you up to stronger connections and better relationships with the decision-makers you want to work with.
There Is A Call For A More Human Element
Speaking of real people, your B2B marketing post-COVID needs to be more human.
There is a tendency for companies that market to other businesses to present themselves as a corporate entity.
That tendency has a specific downside that’s always been present.
Corporate entities tend to be cold, disconnected, and machine-like.
In the post-COVID world, that kind of presentation is something that’s going to be disconnected from your audience.
With a need for more connection comes a need for more humanity.
The concerns, fears, challenges, and successes of your target audience need to be something that your brand recognizes and relates to.
People need to know that you’re not just there for them, however.
Show them that you’re there with them.
Without complaining, share your brand’s successes, failures, challenges, and fears.
Relate to the ways you’re facing the same world issues that they’re thinking about.
A brand that understands what it’s the audience is living through is a brand that knows how to take care of its clients’ problems and help them when they need it.
Your ability to show them that your company is there for them will change the course of your interactions throughout the process of nurturing them to a sale.
And their loyalty to your brand once they become your client will increase massively.
You’ll need a willingness to make your company look vulnerable, but the reward is well worth the risk and discomfort.
Nothing will be more valuable to your company’s recovery than a client with that level of loyalty.
Understanding The Impact Will Matter More
Many times, as B2B companies, we tend to relate to the needs our product fills and communicate that to our target audience.
However, in the post-COVID world, B2B marketing will need to do a better job of relaying the impact of the products or services on the decision-maker.
People are concerned about things revolving around their job that they weren’t before.
For example, there has been no greater disparity among people during this crisis than the concern over who is essential and who isn’t.
Those concerns will transform on a more personal level post-COVID.
Nonessential employees will be concerned with the security and stability of their careers.
What happens if their employer begins to see them as nonessential?
But what if the impact your product or service has on their company can change that opinion?
Demonstrating to your target audience that your product or service can prove their value to the company will be worth more than demonstrating that it can solve a key problem.
B2B marketing needs to highlight the value of choosing your company over your competitors as it relates to the stability of the decision maker’s job.
Communicate the ways that your company and your product is proof that they are vital parts of their company.
Helping them create a situation that feels more secure will create feelings about your brand that can’t be earned any other way.
The sense that they owe their career to working with your company will bring them back any time they need what you offer, creating a long-term client, and assuring your brand’s recovery.
Your Mission Will Matter More Than Ever
People want a brand that cares, especially in the millennial generation.
This is not new news.
For years, people have chosen to align with brands whose values match their own.
They feel that they’re backing a cause by selecting that brand over its competitors.
In a post-COVID world, that feeling is stronger.
The results of social distancing, watching their neighbors struggle, and facing struggles of their own have changed people’s perspective on what they feel companies should be doing.
Your mission plays into those decisions, and many align with what your target audience feels.
Therefore, your B2B marketing strategies post-COVID need to put your mission center stage.
What your company stands for should not only be reflected in your marketing content but outright stated as well.
And larger actions that align with that mission need to be taken as well.
At the same time, reach out to see if any nonprofit entities that share a mission direction with your company might benefit from the things you’ll be doing anyway.
We’re not talking about a grand gesture to a charity so you can position your brand, but rather allowing a nonprofit to receive benefits of work you’ll be doing anyway.
You’ll show your audience that you mean what you say your mission is and you’ll help to further that mission at the same time.
All without adding any extra work in the process.
It’s a win for everyone, and your audience will know with certainty what you stand for.
You’ll Have To Share Your Brand As Authentically As Possible
There’s nothing more damning that comes from B2B marketing than the posturing that some companies do because they think it will help earn a customer.
For most of your customers, whether B2B or B2C, authenticity is critical to developing a solid relationship.
Posturing or sterilizing your content keeps people from relating to it.
It also damages the trust people have in your company because they’re not getting an accurate picture of who your brand is.
Authenticity is the only way to fix that.
By allowing your marketing content to be as authentic as possible, you allow your audience to fully understand the company they’ll be working with.
Transparency, which goes hand-in-hand with authenticity, allows your clients to build huge trust in your brand quickly.
And, because your audience can see your brand for what it is, the connection they can build is much stronger and more real.
Like many other important facets of marketing, these factors add up to stronger brand loyalty from your audience and clients, meaning that they’ll bring more people to you.
B2B marketing post-COVID must be more authentic than it has ever been.
Tying back to the human element, authenticity is about letting your audience know who you fully are.
Instead of metaphorically putting on the suit and tie, take the “shorts and sandals” approach to your content, spending less time on carefully crafted words that would make the legal team happy.
Speak from honesty about your products or services, your company, and your industry, sharing the good and the bad, and let the audience decide for themselves.
The confidence that comes across in that approach will change the way your audience feels about you for the better.
Customer Experience Will Change Across The Board
This should be the most obvious change in the post-COVID world.
B2B marketing is a part of that, and some changes need to be made as well.
Expect there to be a big change in the processes that require face-to-face meetings.
It’s going to take a while before people feel comfortable meeting in the same way they used to.
With that in mind, you’ll need to adjust your B2B marketing post-COVID to eliminate the need for as many of those meetings as possible.
But beyond that, you’ll need to put things in place that give your potential leads to access to as much information as possible.
People don’t enjoy having to jump through hoops for answers.
Again, something that’s especially true for the millennial generation.
The longer they have to wait for an answer, the more likely you are to lose the lead.
Because people have been spending more time online than ever before, they’re realizing the options they have and the customer experiences they prefer.
You have to start catching up if your business is going to recover.
Without the customer experience they prefer, you’ll lose them to one of your competitors.
Going forward, B2B marketing post-COVID will require a much more “hands-off” approach pre-sale, and the sale process itself will need to be streamlined.
That might take an adjustment for many B2B companies, but it’s far too important to ignore.
Communicating With Personality Will Hit Harder
People have been spending their time in isolation enjoying far more entertainment than they used to.
Social media has given rise to tons of new personalities to interact with.
And the previously mentioned rise of TikTok’s popularity has topped the charts when it comes to people’s expectations about content.
To return to old-fashioned, cold, corporate B2B marketing post-COVID simply won’t connect anymore.
Not that it ever really has.
However, managing to change the way you produce content so there’s more personality behind it – especially when it comes to whitepapers and other downloads – will completely shift your audience’s perspective.
Don’t stick to stuffy, sterile, law-department approved communications.
Instead, try to favor something more casual and relaxed, emphasizing real communication that shows who your brand is.
Turning to content with more personality offers your audience something engaging to find you through.
Nobody expects you to do a dance challenge on TikTok for your brand (though it couldn’t hurt), but they’re going to view your content through an interest level that’s been altered by those same dance challenges.
They’ve already been comparing you to their entertaining social media.
But with a new level of expectation set, your standards will have to come up.
Otherwise, you’ll be seen as far less interesting than before and your audience will head for a more interesting competitor.
B2B Marketing Post-COVID Will Take Flexibility
Post-COVID, you’re going to have to put aside your previous notions of successful B2B marketing strategies.
With the world changing as much as it has, the status quo is no more.
We, as B2B marketers, have to be different now.
If you can learn how to adjust your specifics to meet the new needs of your target audience, your company can come back from this pandemic stronger than ever.
B2B marketing post-COVID will change.
Let me know in the comments.