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B2B Marketing Insights Playbook for COVID-19

A peer-based trends analysis for B2B marketers amid the pandemic.

From budget cuts to full operations pivots, marketing teams are navigating unprecedented challenges. Using results from this survey, this resource provides timely, actionable insights from your peers.

5/22/2020

The latest insights from your B2B marketing peers

With all 50 stays partially reopened, many companies are facing tough decisions around trying to safely get their teams back in their offices or continue working from home for the foreseeable future. Marketers are continuing to focus on keeping their teams engaged and motivated while working from home, many having conversations around what "vacation time" looks like and how they can help their teams get much needed mental, and physical, breaks from the "office".

COVID related messaging is being minimized widely because while it may be the unspoken enemy, we're all working toward making the most of 2020. Many conversations are focused around channel changes and how the playing field has been largely leveled due to expensive conferences and unique in-person gatherings being the only thing off the menu. Creativity is abound as marketers are finding ways to keep their audience engaged while remote including using channels like direct mail. Hyper Personalization is the way of the future as this event has truly blurred the lines of home and work life - plus the small slip ups are more noticeable than ever.

Goals and focuses differ per company and industry. However, this playbook is meant to provide insights and data to make informed decisions about investments and areas of focus right now. Select how you've been impacted below to get started.

Because of the pandemic, my company has seen:

Your message tone:

  • Please choose your impact level above to review the weekly trends for your message tone.

Your channel focus:

  • Please choose your impact level above to review the weekly trends for your channel focus.

Your budget allocation:

  • Please choose your impact level above to review the weekly trends for your budget allocation.

Your message tone:

This week, we saw "Helpful" and "Reassuring" rise to the top of messages for those positively impacted. While other companies start to come back to a sense of normalcy, it's important to stay encouraging and empathetic to their challenges.
  • Helpful
  • Actionable
  • Empathetic
  • Reassuring
  • Encouraging

Your channel focus:

Focusing on your earned channels of SEO and blog is a great way to share your helpful and reassuring message. Continue hosting online events like webinars and podcasts, as many are able to learn from your educational insights.
  • Blog
  • Email
  • Webinar/online events
  • SEO
  • Podcasts

Your budget allocation:

Continue to have a close to even distribution of your channels, focusing slightly higher in your earned efforts as the media begins to focus on a variety of non-COVID-19 related topics. For your channel based marketing spend, we recommend a model resembling:
  • Earned - 35%
  • Owned - 33%
  • Paid - 32%

Your message tone:

"Confident" was the number one pick for companies negatively impacted this week, which indicates a generalized feeling of a return to normal. A close second was "Direct", which further backs up this claim. It's important that messaging remains educational, helpful and informational, however.
  • Confident
  • Direct
  • Educational
  • Informational
  • Helpful

Your channel focus:

SEO, blog and emails remain the top channels to focus right now. However, this week we saw an increase in paid channels for negatively impacted companies. Focusing on paid gives you the opportunity to round out your messaging and support your confident and direct tone this week.
  • SEO
  • Blog
  • Email
  • Paid

Your budget allocation:

Budgets continue to focus on owned channels with a concentration on SEO and content. With paid and earned activities all having potential to support your message, consider a close to even distribution between the two. For your channel based marketing spend, we recommend a model resembling:
  • Earned - 27.5%
  • Owned - 50%
  • Paid - 22.5%

Your message tone:

Communicate with your customers and prospects with an information and direct tone. Exude confidence in the direction you're heading while aiming to be helpful to them.
  • Informational
  • Direct

Your channel focus:

Email engagement rates continue to trend as successful across the board. The media is beginning to cover more non-COVID related topics so work with your team to find the right angles for your unique story.
  • SEO
  • Email
  • Media Relations

Your budget allocation:

Focus mainly on owned and earned channels to generate new opportunities for your business. For your channel based marketing spend, we recommend a model resembling:
  • Earned - 36%
  • Owned - 41%
  • Paid - 23%

Channel Recommendations

Please choose your impact level above to see your channel recommendations for earned, owned and paid channels.

Positively impacted companies should consider the following for their earned, owned and paid channel approach this week.

Negatively impacted companies should consider the following for their earned, owned and paid channel approach this week.

Severely negatively impacted companies should consider the following for their earned, owned and paid channel approach this week.

Earned Media

  • Please choose your impact level above to review your weekly recommendations for earned media.

Owned Media

  • Please choose your impact level above to review your weekly recommendations for owned media.

Paid Media

  • Please choose your impact level above to review your weekly recommendations for paid media.

Earned Media

  • Do be helpful and actionable as it always goes far with the press. Use your message tone this week to approach the media with new, fresh perspectives to help people continue seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Many journalists are looking for angles around how people plan to get back to work, so if your offering or solution can help in those ways, work with your PR team to strategize a "comeback" message.
  • Don't become tone deaf. Though people are looking to regain a sense of normalcy, the world and how we operate will still look a lot different than it did before. Keep this in mind with your approach to the media this week and beyond.

Owned Media

 
  • Do focus on building up your SEO. As there is a continued need for what you offer, now is a great time to focus on ways to build value in your owned assets to capture and keep marketshare, especially as other companies begin to search for what you provide.
  • Don't rest on your laurels. With a market in adjustment, more and more companies could need your support in coming months. Gear up to show up as that support when they'll need it most.

Paid Media

  • Do focus on ramping up search engine optimized content on your website. Many marketers who have been positively impacted are increasing their spend on SEO content so if your competition is doing so, you'll want to do the same.
  • Don't run any campaigns with tone deaf messaging. Make sure to check your messaging weekly to know what is and isn't resonating.

Earned Media

  • Do lead with confidence in your media pitching this week. Some journalists are looking for "come back" stories, as so many look for what "normal" will look like going forward. Wherever you can, back up that messaging with data. Focus on being informational and actionable in how you're moving forward.
  • Don't become tone deaf. Though people are looking to regain a sense of normalcy, the world and how we operate will still look a lot different than it did before. Keep this in mind with your approach to the media this week and beyond.

Owned Media

 
  • Do continue focusing your efforts in search engine marketing. SEO has the power to bring you the people who are looking for your solutions. Find new keywords and create new content but also consider revamping current initiatives and resources with keywords and phrases that match the evolving needs of your market. Your competition is doing the same so you don't want to get left behind.
  • Don't shy away from investing in the business right now. If you need a new website or brand, now is a good time to consider those things so that when you're ready for your rebound, your brand is, too.

Paid Media

 
  • Do switch on ad spend where you may have previously paused. Having your brand visible outside of your owned assets will continue to be crucial to keeping customers interested and able to find you when the timing is right for them.
  • Don't run any ads with tone deaf messaging. Make sure to check your messaging weekly to know what is and isn't resonating.

Earned Media

  • Do bring your information and direct tone to your press pitches this week. Some journalists are looking for stories as to how companies plan to rebound from this situation and get "back-to-work". Share any angle you have here and consider any data you have to support it.
  • Don’t freeze up. The media is still a great place for you to focus on thought leadership for what you know best as you navigate a though time.

Owned Media

 
  • Do continue focusing on your owned channels as a main focus. SEO is a good place for you to consider looking this week, especially if you've pivoted your offering to navigate this timeframe.
  • Don’t spam or overshare in email. Many people are feeling email fatigue so keep this in mind when preparing your messages for the week ahead. Just because it was planned doesn't mean it must happen.

Paid Media

 
  • Do look at data and report on a more frequent cadence. Look at what is working on your owned channels and double down. What messages are resonating and with which audiences? Be able to answer those questions on an ongoing basis.
  • Don't freeze up. Use your paid channels as a way to stay relevant to the right audiences.

More resources related to navigating the current climate:

Want a free marketing consultation?

If you find yourself needing additional support or guidance on best practices, we’re here to help. We’re providing free consultations on ways to pivot your strategy, budget and approach to find success amidst uncertainty in 2020. Fill out the form below to get in touch with our team.