Any B2B business model is a constantly evolving environment which requires, at the very minimum, an annual review of marketing strategies. But in the year 2021, with so much change and uncertainty at play, getting it right is twice as important. With that in mind, here are five tips to keep you ahead of the curve with your B2B marketing this year.
1. Be ready whenever and wherever your buyer is ready.
With a marketing environment that is always in flux, there seems to be an unending list of potential touchpoints where business can meet potential buyers. Don’t choose a channel and stick with it. Rather, try to be open to all potential channels. When a potential buyer makes contact, serve them then and there. That may take some extra flexibility on your part, but it’s a more customer-centric approach. Your goals will need to be shorter-term as well, in order to allow you the necessary freedom to adapt in the face of change – of which there will likely be plenty in 2021. Be prepared to adjust everything from your product lineup to your marketing messages, because demand changes with environmental changes. The good news is that greater agility can actually improve your efficiency in the long run.
2. Your public relations matter.
As we slowly overcome the immediate threat and consequences of the current pandemic crisis, you’ll need to build a strong foundation for recovery. That foundation will be constructed out of the way you brand yourself and your public relations. This crisis is a defining time for everyone, and B2B businesses are no different. What you do, how you do it and who you do it with can all impact how the public views you and your business. In 2020, many brands were boycotted because of their marketing choices. So be sure your marketing and your marketing relationships are in tune with public sentiment. Show empathy to people first, or you’ll pay for it later.
3. Research your market and take appropriate action.
Of course, 2020 brought with it a tsunami of unpredictable changes to just about every facet of our lives. What this means for your B2B marketing strategy is that you may have to start from scratch. You need to get a look at the lay of the land in this ‘new normal,’ as it pertains to your competitors and potential buyers. Start now by identifying current threats and challenges. And also watch out where new opportunities have arisen. While it’s sad that many businesses have failed as a consequence of this crisis, it may also have opened new doors for the survivors. Lastly, knowledge without action is worthless. So, make adjustments to your operations that suit what you learn from your market research.
4. Keep an eye on the competition.
While knowledge about your buyers and potential customers is important, so is having actionable intel on your competitors. A detailed competitor analysis can let you see what they’re doing. It will show you the ways in which they are different from you, and how well you’re doing by comparison. And that last one is solid gold. That’s because comparative analysis will highlight your own strengths and weaknesses, allowing you to improve your operations to better compete. The good news here is that your competitors aren’t keeping their marketing behavior secret. It’s easy enough to analyze their websites, social media pages, blogs and more – because it’s all publicly posted. So, go for it! Trust me, they’re most likely doing the same thing to you.
5. Take intelligent risks.
In this post, I’ve shared about gathering information through analysis. And information is a precious currency. But with the volatile nature of the markets right now, it’s highly probable that new information is going to be significantly different than old information. And that means you’re going to have to make adjustments to keep up. Change has always been inevitable, but the world is more unstable than ever. So, there is risk inherent in changing with the times. But if you follow your data and make decisions based on facts, rather than emotion, you’ll be alright.
In the end, the success of your B2B marketing plan this year will hinge heavily on your flexibility and your willingness to adapt to change. But if you do it right, your business can truly thrive in 2021.