It’s day one billion of shelter-in-place. What comes next for marketers?
Okay, okay, so it’s more like day 30 or day 23 or day 45, depending where you are. But let’s be honest: all those memes going around about how February was 28 days, March was six months, and April is 10 years don’t feel wrong.
The world has changed and keeps changing and everybody—marketers included—is starting to adjust to a new normal. To find our way forward in a world where events must be virtual, communication strategies need a facelift, and data that gets us to the right prospects at the right time is no longer optional.
We’re starting to get a sense of what’s changed in the here and now. But what about the future? What’s coming next for marketing and sales? How is the current crisis going to have a ripple effect into the future? And, more importantly, how can we prepare ourselves?
Here are five predictions from the wisest marketers we know:
Brands who keep going are about to jump the line.
Think you should cut back on marketing spend? Think again. Companies who slash their budgets to the bone are unlikely to survive a recession according to research by Harvard Business Review.
Marketers agree, with only 8% saying companies should stop advertising right now. (And who even are those 8%? Because someone needs to give them a reality check.) And consumers are coming out of the woodwork to express their agreement too. In fact, 44% believe brands should do everything in their power to protect workers and vendors, even if it means suffering monetary losses, in order to earn or keep consumer trust.
Which is why our advice is to keep going. Brands that take the long view and focus on building brand equity will come out on top. Especially in B2B, where our sales funnels are three months, four months, six months, or even a year. Stopping your marketing efforts now is just going to kill your sales right as the world is starting to bounce back.
Digital ad spend is going to bounce back (so take advantage of low costs-per-click now).
The economy will bounce back. It always does. And those of us who marketed through the last recession can tell you: what you do before it comes back matters a whole damn lot.
CPCs and CPMs are lower on certain platforms and now’s the time to take advantage (while also keeping in mind that tone-deaf ads are worse than no ads and how you communicate during a disaster matters).
As our Digital Media Director—Trevor—says, “The key here is taking full advantage of real-time data and attribution modeling to inform your marketing decisions. As we all look to maximize efficiencies, this becomes the foundational piece. Changes in supply and demand will make keeping a highly proactive eye on spending and messaging essential to inch—and then speed—past the competition as things continue to change and eventually recover.”
Virtual events are here to stay.
Right now, we have to rely on virtual events if we want to get the benefits of events and trade shows. But even once the crisis has passed and more than three of us can be together in a room, virtual events aren’t going away.
Because who really wants to travel thousands of miles, pay thousands of dollars, and be stuck in a hotel for three days when you could just tune in from the coziest spot on your couch or at your home desk?
Virtual is simply a more cost-effective way to network, sell your products, and market your services. And the more virtual reality and augmented reality get in on the action, the more virtual events will feel pretty much like live ones.
Pay attention to LinkedIn.
Everything is changing—and sales is no exception. Which is why salespeople should be taking full advantage of LinkedIn while in-person networking is a No, No, and Hell No.
61 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers and 40 million are decision-makers. Which is a whole lot of great prospects all in one place.
65% of B2B marketers have already gotten leads through LinkedIn ads. And with networking becoming more virtual—not only now, but into the future—that number is only headed up.
From an ABM perspective, LinkedIn is the right channel to go after target accounts. And it’ll probably perform better than traditional marketing.
Which means now’s the time to:
- Consider sponsored InMail for your top salespeople or enhanced InMail with the newly-rolled-out Conversation Ads (think: a chatbot inside InMail).
- Post videos that explain your product in a visual and compelling way.
- Promote lead magnets.
- Engage your audience with questions and thought leadership through LinkedIn blogs.
It’s time to test drive personalized video.
Video’s been a big deal for a long time. And if you aren’t already onboard, now’s the time. Make screen share videos that demo your products. Publish salesperson selfie videos to introduce yourselves (and humanize the person behind the emails). Insert personalized snippets (like sales rep headshots) into your existing marketing videos. And make video playlists that guide people deeper into your funnel as they need more info.
Creativity is always a good idea.
No matter what’s going on in the world, creativity and strategy are always going to be rewarded.
Brands who work within the context of whatever situation they’re dealing with and come up with creative messages across channels (from video to virtual events to webinars to live chats) will come out as winners at the end of all this.
So that’s what our team has to say. What about you? What do you predict is coming next for marketing? We’d love to hear your thoughts and talk about how we can help you reach your goals in the coming months and years. Reach out anytime.