COVID Forced Companies to Quickly Pivot to a More Robust Digital Approach. But Now What?
The past year under lockdown has evolved to an increased confidence among many B2B marketers. Whether providing services or products, many B2B companies’ previous digital hesitancy went by the wayside as they found themselves examining their digital presence with a much different perspective.
For many in the pre-COVID era, envisioning how their B2B customers could directly engage with their business via websites, portals, social media, and blogs was somewhat uncertain, let alone trying to figure out how to quickly transition to a thriving, digitally-driven sales and marketing process.
The COVID Effect
Unlike many other changes prompted by COVID-19, B2B companies were forced to examine how to convert their current digital assets from a passive presence towards a more robust digital approach.
The forced shutdown and remote working behaviors caused by the pandemic created a flurry of upgrades to websites. SEO, marketing automation, and content all with the hope of delivering a better quality online customer experience.
But in the absence of a strategically driven approach, technical and content upgrades are really just a first step. To realize the full business benefits of a cohesive digital marketing effort, companies should do one thing well: Know your customer better than ever before.
Yes, this is a basic starting point, but you would be shocked at how many companies forget to keep their audience and the audience needs as the key driver towards marketing. Without fully understanding your audiences, marketing efforts will not be as effective, especially post-COVID.
Unlike B2C customers, B2B purchases are more dynamic and often made by or influenced by more than one individual. Having multiple stakeholders can alter your content, the digital tools, and the service portals you utilize to ensure a quality digital experience.
The good news is many B2B companies have transactional data that can assist towards identifying the ideal customer profile. Using transactional data can expose the buyer, the influencer, past purchase cycles, titles of purchasers, and in some cases audience pain points. It’s critical to use this transactional data to start forming a base target profile.
Research, research, and research.
Interview your customers to round out your understanding of their expectations. Many B2B companies just assume their repeat customers are being satisfied by your product or service pre, during and post COVID. Implement a more thorough research model around why they purchase and how their purchase behavior has changed since the lockdown. Really understand what tools and content they have engaged with to formulate purchase decisions and what they expect to experience with your organization can enrich your ideal customer profile.
Bottom line, what are the common challenges, needs, and objections that this group of people face in their role, and how does your product or service add value.
Analyze Your Competitors
Define your ideal customers further by examining what your competitors are doing. How has COVID changed the way they do business? Review their digital content, how are they messaging, what unique position are they using to address customer pain points, what digital tools are they using to create a quality online experience.
Gathering data from transactional resources, audience research, and competitive activity will allow you to start formulating an in-depth understanding of your ideal customers.
Buyer personas are the foundation of your company’s digital marketing strategy. They will set the tone for all of your company’s marketing material, content creation, and strategy for your entire CX experience.
Once created, a detailed buyer persona can provide a template for how all of the digital tools in your company interact with your ideal customer. This will include everything from your brand voice, your website information, which channels you use to interact with your audience, and much more.
Customers expect a high-quality remote experience, and companies must strive for improvement in this area if they want to cut sales costs and increase customer satisfaction.
Many companies have pivoted and invested in improved digital tools. Those addressing their audience needs and expectations first will experience a better return on their investment as we enter the post-COVID phase.
Take the time to fully understand your audience before investing in your next-generation website, blog, or any digital tools you are using. The future has changed, and smart B2B companies are changing with it.