Every emerging B2B tech company will no doubt be working hard to fully understand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdowns.
Aside from the potential personal health risks, what does coronavirus really mean for your business? There are probably three broad categories you could fall into:
- is it an existential threat? Were you engaged in a business that has suddenly vanished? This is way more likely in B2C but there are B2B examples we can readily think of (e.g. a solution for corporate travel)
- are you delivering a product/solution that is now more essential than ever given the pandemic?
- is your product/solution not directly effected but the market has slowed and procurement is less predictable?
What should companies in each of these categories do in terms of their marketing effort?
Let’s start with the easiest one ‘essential’. Of course, you should market like crazy but in an extremely ethical way. Meaning, no scalping. Now is not the time to inflate prices artificially and maximise profits from the crisis. For the avoidance of doubt, there never is a right time.
The temptation for those companies whose product/solution is ‘not directly effected’ by the crisis, but whose market may slow due to uncertainty, might be to batten down the hatches and reduce marketing spend.
However, what we have seen directly among our clients is that people (i.e. their prospective clients) are looking for more information, not less. Maybe working from home has removed the distractions of the office such that your target clients now have the time to explore alternative solutions to the problems in their business. Problems they’ve never quite had the headspace to address previously.
You need to be there and be the ones delivering the information your prospective customers are looking for. That means creating more top of funnel content (addressing the early stage, informational-type needs of your prospects) that you can use as lead magnets to convert traffic into leads.
If you’re already running paid ads (Google, Capterra, LinkedIn etc.) to drive traffic then you may find the platforms more price competitive as your competition (hopefully) reduces spend while you work smarter. If you’re not running paid ads and relying on your organic search engine marketing efforts, then keep those going (don’t let the frequency of your blog posts reduce) and consider running some paid ad campaigns.
This may also be a good time for you to review all aspects of your marketing starting with your target market. Do you really have that nailed down such that you’re not investing in marketing effort outside of that target market?
In summary, this category requires a tweak, a shift to the production of top of funnel content that adds value, as opposed to bottom of the funnel revenue maximisation efforts. When the market settles down again you’ll be seen much more as an influencer and the natural go-to resource for your prospective customers.
Much of what we’ve just said can apply to the ‘existential’ category too. If you have the cash runway (together with various government employment support schemes) to see you through the months when revenue has all but stopped, then redirecting marketing efforts to top of funnel content will make sense.
One question we have seen quite regularly is whether people should mention the crisis in communications? I think you have to, but in a genuine, authentic way. It is our reality right now and your audience is having the conversation already so it would seem weird for you not to acknowledge the reality.
This is only a very broad brush commentary on a very complex situation but if it serves to help you stop and reconsider your initial reaction to the crisis then it served its purpose. If you want to discuss any of this in further detail, please reach out using our Get in Touch page.