Quarantine Insurance: 4 Reasons B2Bs Must Invest in Digital Marketing
Social distancing has upended society, devastated the economy, and laid off workers across the country. While a record-breaking 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment in the past few weeks, we know our efforts to work from home and socially distance from one another will ultimately save lives.
But, as marketing professionals, we’ve noticed an unfortunate, but all too common trend.
B2Bs who haven’t made the appropriate investments in digital marketing are unsure what to do right now. Clients they expected to meet with at trade shows are being courted by more digitally-savvy suppliers. Their own production lines are shuttering as consumer spending slows. Meanwhile, there’s little certainty that things will improve in time to preserve a business-as-usual mindset.
Instead, B2Bs—who already exist in a unique space—need to rethink the importance of digital marketing in the post-COVID-19 marketing landscape.
Because Quarantining Due to a Pandemic Could Happen Again
Let’s cut to the chase.
This could happen again. Specifically, disease and pandemic experts have been warning of an outbreak for years. Bill Gates even gave a TedTalk on it in 2015. We know this can happen again, and it could be as early as next year if the current virus isn’t adequately contained.
Sooner or later though, it is likely we find ourselves “social distancing” once again or quarantined completely.
When that happens, billboards are no longer being seen by thousands. Trade shows are cancelled. Expensive direct mail catalogs sent to understaffed or shuttered buyers go unread and concerns over survivability cause clients to cut back on spending.
But that shouldn’t spell the end for a prepared B2B business.
Though nothing can guarantee a business’s survival, a well-built digital marketing program can work as quarantine insurance in a lot of ways. Unlike most traditional B2B marketing tactics, digital marketing will survive social distancing.
However, that doesn’t mean a B2B can afford to wait until the next crisis to make that investment. To the contrary, the longer a digital marketing initiative exists, the more effective it becomes.
Because Digital Marketing Improves Over Time
While it doesn’t take long to get a few ads up on Google or social media, there’s a lot more to digital marketing than that. The unique power of digital marketing comes in the amount of data it is able to generate. Over time, data can paint a picture about a business, product, or campaign, and the audiences who are shopping for a particular product or service.
Given time to grow, data can teach you all sorts of things about the efficacy of the digital marketing initiatives being tracked.
For instance, you’ll need time to A/B test different ads, create landing pages, and track what combinations work best. Google ads in particular become more efficient over time as data implores marketers to add or remove keywords to make campaigns more efficient.
Other important marketing tools need time to generate useful data, as well. Here are just a few tools and solutions that benefit from having ample time to generate data:
- Heat mapping
- SEO, short and long-tail searches to target
- Social media following
- Remarketing campaigns
- Content performance audits
- Newsletter/email performance
All of these important marketing tactics require time for data to be collected and acted upon. And the more time they are given, the more useful their insights will be.
Because Digital Advertising and Marketing are Permanent
Once a digital marketing investment has been made—including an investment of time—many of the benefits are permanent. For example, an ad and landing page can be turned on and off with ease because they do not need to be rebuilt. Organic traction gained from SEO efforts will continue bringing in new site traffic so long as the website remains up-to-date. Google ads are saved even if they are turned off. Information gathered about audiences and demographics is likely to remain useful and relevant. Followers on social media won’t disappear right away either.
Effectively, gains made in digital marketing don’t completely disappear when budgets tighten or focuses shift. Meanwhile, a catalog is only useful so long as the information is accurate and it hasn’t been tossed in the recycling bin.
Not to mention, the basic structure and functionality of the internet is unlikely to change. All of our favorite services online are powered by advertising. That’s not going to stop. Ads allow Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, Youtube, and so much more on the internet to be essentially free.
Ultimately, digital marketing is not a short term solution. Instead, it’s a long term strategy that keeps brands relevant in normal times and in crises.
Because It Empowers Brands to Engage in Industry Conversations
For B2Bs, digital marketing provides important public relations opportunities. By developing social media profiles and cultivating authentic audiences, brands position themselves to effectively interact with industry news and current events in real time, without being ignored.
There’s a strategy to not being ignored, too. Brands strive to develop authentic followers who engage with content. Building followings like that isn’t easy. It takes dedication to original content creation, a commitment to stay on schedule, and a consistent brand voice followers can learn to rely on.
Additionally, many brands include a tactic called social listening in their larger digital marketing strategy. Social listening is the process of listening for mentions of their brand or topics associated with their industry on social media. There are tons of social listening tools and services to help facilitate these processes for marketers, who then decide what they should comment on based on preset strategies.
The result is an active brand that engages with stakeholders, posts interesting content, is quoted by reporters, and is never blindsided by conversations taking place about their brand or industry.
Digital Marketing is the Present and the Future
With or without social distancing, quarantines, and lockdowns, investing in a strong digital marketing program is a worthwhile investment for any B2B. Digital marketing is a necessary part of any comprehensive growth strategy.
If you haven’t incorporated a comprehensive digital strategy into your marketing efforts yet, now might be the best time to do so. Send me an email anytime at barmbruster@WeTellYourStory.com to start a conversation today.
- Resident B2B expert
- First agency position in 1997, joined Nichols in 2002
- Splits time between creative leadership and account service
- Remembers every detail about clients and their businesses
- Coffee connoisseur, music enthusiast and fair-weather runner