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What awaits B2B marketers and what steps to take

Here are some pointers for marketers in these times and for a post-pandemic era– that is, if there ever is one.

May 01, 2021 / 03:41 PM IST

Pandemic mayhem. Governance paralysis. Ever-changing industrial growth rates. Growing poverty and mayhem. Uncertain times are looming at large. In such a scenario what actions and plans business-to-business marketers should take? Should they look at website content revamp? Plan a new social media activity? With RBI pushing for more mobile payments, should that be a new focus area? Or focus on the good old lead generation?

Here are some pointers for marketers in these times and for a post-pandemic era– that is, if there ever is one. The degree to which each business focuses on these will vary depending on each industry and growth stage.

  • Manage your reputation. More and more B2B companies need to use social media in the years to come. With Twitter, Google+, Facebook and LinkedIn, customer feedback will be more important than ever. Reputation and authority will become synonymous with other forms of marketing.

  • Mobile will not be just a phone but a tablet, social media interface and payment gateway. Customers increasingly desire content specific to them, and as quickly as possible. B2B marketers must respond to this demand accordingly. Going mobile is much more than simply changing your company website for cellphone compatibility. Mobile commerce will continue to grow. Facebook and others have opened up their mobile ad network. Success awaits those businesses that adopt these options early.

  • Cloud based applications will be prominent. Applications aligning sales and marketing will be in demand. This will increase productivity and will accelerate revenue growth by as much as 30%. A new level of accountability and measurability will be prominent and will need this for success with no capex.

  • Changes in search engine optimisation and social media. Google is making big changes in how search results are ranked and listed. Unless social media activities are planned carefully you will lose the search visibility. Google is getting very tricky at understanding who you are and what your preferences are and this will affect your performance in the SEO space considerably. If search visibility is important, it will get harder to avoid participating big time in social media.

  • Knowledge is no longer power! It was, five or more years ago. Not any more. With the explosion of Wikipedia and Google Search, information is widely available and accessible. The new power for businesses is Insight: Making relevant analysis out of so much data. So marketers need to be tuned more and more into plans that will increase ROI.

  • Content will be king. With several new media gaining prominence, B2Bmarketers have to become more concerned on the channels they need to leverage versus what content they want to deliver across those channels.

  • Media planning will become critical. Great content that compels decisionmakers and influencers to engage will be of primary focus. The decision as to which channel this content should be included in will still be important, but with costs for positioning and distributing content lower, the talent and subject matter expertise to generate content will gain centre stage.

  • Inclusive or co-created marketing plans. Companies will rely on satisfied customers to plan marketing mix decisions. Informal industry contacts will become the most important human information sources for decision makers. It will be imperative for marketers to figure out how best to make use of them to connect to prospects.

  • Sales pitch that will go interactive. As iPad and other tablet sales zoom, B2Bmarketers need to make sales presentations that are more interactive and tech-driven. Many of our SME clients are already using new technology tools to support sales calls and trade shows, and they have started creating interactive presentations, videos and animations for this purpose.

  • Automation is here to stay. Marketing automation has been around for a few years, but the traditional tools are very complex and quite expensive. But the new media applications are much easier and involve lower costs upfront. So marketers should make use of the new softwares for better efficiency.

  • Brand positioning will have more relevance. Too much information is directly proportionate to brand disintegration. More marketing content in the media doesn’t mean more brand recall. In fact it may lead to overload of brand. With the social media and more democracy in content creation, quality has not improved much. Some of our clients complain that the brand story is not thick these days. Best thing to do under the circumstances is to own your space and single-mindedly execute on that big idea with all your marketing muscles.

  • Data analytics will be key. Ethical and privacy questions notwithstanding, datamining and analytics will be very important for B2B companies in the coming years. There is a big untapped potential to capture, and analyse data from prospects and to devise marketing plans accordingly. In India, companies are willing to share corporate data much more willingly than personal data. Many of the executives have jobs involving research and purchase of products and services. So for a B2B marketer getting the data may not be as tough as analysing them.

The changes that are coming our way in the next couple of years are many and companies that are able to ride on top of these changing waves will stay successful.
M Muneer is the managing director of CustomerLab Solutions, an innovative consulting firm delivering measureable results to clients.
first published: May 1, 2021 03:41 pm

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