The coronavirus pandemic is causing businesses across the board to rethink their strategies in both the short and long-term to account for the massive economic upheaval that is currently underway. While many businesses have been forced to suspend most or all of their operations, regardless of the impact on their revenues, other businesses are continuing to operate to varying degrees.
For B2B marketing businesses, the present landscape is dominated by uncertainty. Being forced to work from home won’t have a tremendous impact on most B2B marketers, but the businesses that they work with may well be impacted by the coronavirus. When businesses are forced to trim their budgets and reduce their spending, it has a knock-on effect on the other businesses they rely on.
As a result, it is now more important than ever that B2B businesses start thinking about the long-term. While it might be tempting to focus on securing whatever business you can in the immediate to short term, here’s why the long-term game is more important than ever.
Counteract The Uncertainty
The massive uncertainty that currently pervades the global economy isn’t going away any time soon. Spending is likely to be down in every sector for some time yet, and while it is obviously helpful for businesses to be making money now, a rapidly-evolving and unpredictable situation means that you can’t rely on the business that you pick up now to be there in the future.
Everyone is having to make tough spending decisions in their personal and professional lives right now and some businesses are having to be more ruthless than they would like to survive. You should be giving priority to the businesses that are best positioned to weather the current storm, even if that means passing up on or cutting ties with businesses that would normally form a core part of your B2B strategy.
You Need A Marketing Message To Suit The Times
It is quite remarkable just how much the world has changed within the last few months. What’s more remarkable is that there is barely a country in the world that hasn’t been seriously affected by the current outbreak. Just as your B2B marketing message should change according to the time of year and the current state of your market, you are going to need a new message that is tailored for the current situation.
Your marketing message doesn’t need to mention Covid-19 specifically, but businesses can’t afford to pretend that it is business as usual when that is clearly not the case. The other businesses that you target with your marketing will currently be contending with their own struggles and challenges, just as you are. If you are able to present them with a message that demonstrates an awareness of the current situation and the challenges it creates, it will resonate much more strongly with your target audience.
However, thinking about things in the long-term, you also need a suitable message for when the time comes to exit the present situation and return to a sense of normalcy. Instead of giving your customers whiplash by suddenly switching your messaging, you should be thinking about an exit strategy so you can adapt your message to the present circumstances without compromising your ability to smoothly transition to your more usual messaging at a later date.
An Opportunity To Reward And Foster Customer Loyalty
Any business that is marketing to other businesses during these difficult times will no doubt see their revenues drop to some extent. The more businesses you have on your roster, the more likely it is that you will be saying goodbye to at least one of them, for now at least. Hopefully, some of the businesses you lose will be back when the pandemic is over, but others may be lost for good.
However, there are some businesses that are able to remain strong throughout the current crisis and there are even isolated sectors of the global economy that are thriving in the present conditions. With the number of businesses available for you to market to at an all-time low, you should be valuing the businesses that are still available to you more than ever.
If you are lucky enough to have some businesses on your roster who are still performing strongly in spite of everything that is going on, now is the time to reward their loyalty. Even if a business is performing strongly themselves, they no doubt have business partners of their own that are currently struggling or have already folded. If you can show them that not only are you still open but that you are still prepared to go the extra mile for other businesses, the loyalty will count for even more than usual.
You Can’t Afford To Make Mistakes
Perhaps the most compelling reason to take a long-term approach to your B2B marketing strategy right now is that any mistakes you make will prove even more costly than usual. An economic slump inevitably means that the overall pool of businesses that you can target with your marketing is going to be smaller than usual. Not only this, but the businesses that you market to are going to be much more conservative in their spending decisions.
Any mistakes that you make in your messaging during the current crisis could have even more serious repercussions than usual. In normal economic conditions, if you miss an opportunity with one business, you can make up for it by successfully targeting a different one. That isn’t necessarily going to be an option right now. This is no time for you to be scrambling to find leads and risking the precious few that you can find. Instead, you need to think long-term and inspire confidence in the businesses you target that you will still be here when the dust settles.
The coronavirus pandemic presents a number of significant challenges for businesses, not least of all because it is a constantly evolving situation. However, don’t fall into the trap of losing sight of your long-term goals in the name of short-term prosperity. Now more than ever, it is vital to have a long-term B2B marketing strategy.