Strategy | 5 minute read
The coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on marketing budgets for many B2B businesses. A recent report from Gartner found that marketing budgets as a percentage of revenue are at their lowest level in recent history.
The spend survey reported that the impact of COVID-19 has led to in-year budget cuts for many businesses, with budgets falling from 11% of revenue in 2020 to 6.4% in 2021.
Despite the financial challenges associated with the outbreak, new opportunities have arisen for savvy businesses to adapt and make the most of their B2B marketing. So, as we approach the next normal, here are some of the ways in which you can optimise your B2B marketing efforts regardless of where your budget is set.
1. Focus on your website
With the pandemic forcing B2B buyers and sellers to go digital, now is the perfect time to focus your efforts on ensuring your website presents your brand in the best possible light. As well as looking professional, it should be easy to navigate and be packed full of content that adds value to your target audience. After all, first impressions can hit your bottom line as visitors take just 0.05 seconds to decide whether they’re going to stay or leave a website.
2. Get social
Did you know that 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by information they find on social media? That’s why spending the time creating content for your social channels should be a vital part of your marketing strategy. As well as using social to promote your business, ensure that your posts add value to the prospective customer, so they see your business as a thought leader and have a reason to return. Social media is also a great channel for fostering relationships with your target audience so be sure to look out for mentions and reply quickly to keep the conversation flowing.
3. Embrace virtual events
As lockdowns and social distancing led to remote working, face-to-face meetings were replaced with virtual events. According to LinkedIn, that trend is here to stay. No less than 45% of future B2B events will be virtual with three times more invested in virtual events than physical ones in the next year. With people being more receptive than ever to networking online, hosting virtual events and webinars is a great way to remain front of mind with your target audience.
4. Be there for your customers
In an era of uncertainty, showing empathy can help to build a sense of community. So, take the time to listen to your customers and see what help they need at this moment in time. Taking on board their challenges, opinions, and experiences can help to shape your output. For example, you could create a blog to address a common problem your customers are experiencing or host a webinar on a topic that is trending in your sector.
Although no one knows what’s around the corner, one thing is certain. Businesses who are flexible in their approach and shrewdly invest their B2B marketing spend in the right places are in the strongest position to see a positive return on their marketing efforts.
Plus, there was a glimmer of hope from the Gartner spend survey, which found that most CMOs anticipated a swift recovery and expected budgets to bounce back in 2021.