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The first thing that is striking in B2B digital marketing is how vital it is to have the basics in place.

Companies that don’t are in the same shape that companies without a website faced in 2008. The basics are:

COVID-19 has made this even more vital for virtually all companies. Particularly for companies, like manufacturing relying on traditional marketing and lead generation, those methods have dried up instantly. If companies don’t have this in place now, it will be a #1 priority during the recovery. Longer term, the dependence on online marketing and sales will be dramatically more vital to business success.

Next for companies is answering the question “How much should we be investing in marketing, sales, and digital marketing”. The trend to more investment in digital marketing continues.

As in the #1 Trend, getting up to speed with digital marketing will take an investment. Many of our clients are predicting that trade shows will get cut back dramatically and may disappear in some industries. Companies that still have revenue coming in are already starting to invest more in digital. It’s mandatory now.

SEO continues to be a staple of digital marketing but continues to change every year.

Although SEO will remain vital for the long term, it’s not such a “must do” during the COVID-19 crisis. The reason is that SEO takes time to see results. Investing now in SEO will show results in 6 to 12 months. If the money is there, it’s a good investment. If not, cautious spending on Paid Advertising will have more short term impact on bringing in new leads for products and services you can sell.

If a company wants to be “ahead of their competition” in digital marketing, these are some of things companies should be looking at.

In the middle of the COVID-19 crisis and immediate recovery, the two areas of video marketing and engaging social media offer the most immediate payoff. Implementing marketing automation is a long-term investment, like SEO. Content marketing is the same, more long term.

Aggressive growth companies will build on their investments over the last two years in digital marketing and stretch their online presence leads because of these areas of improvement.

Of these ideas in our focus are of manufacturing, eCommerce for B2B sales will be paramount as the recovery begins and companies plan for the future. The clear advantage companies with strong eCommerce had at the start of the COVID-19 shutdown will be a prime motivator for most B2B manufacturing companies. We expect a huge growth in eCommerce solutions.

A bit more detail on higher customer expectations in the B2B online experience.

This trend is crystal clear in the COVID-19 crisis. Companies who had this in place from the start are seeing huge advantages. Companies who had been putting it off are suffering more.

Personalization of your marketing messages becomes more vital in B2B. Customers are expecting Amazon-level of personalization in all their online dealings.

This trend is important as we recover from COVID-19 and things start returning to normal. In the middle of the crisis, customers are desperately looking for the solution or product they need online. They will be willing to put up with a bit more friction. Once things are back to the “new normal”, online businesses who make it easy will steal market share from those that don’t

AI automation of marketing processes is coming on strong in 2019. Some examples include:

A couple of these are easy to implement immediately. An AI chatbot can be set up in a matter of days with a little logic to guide customers to the right person. With many people working from home, it’s probably easier to make sure someone is monitoring the chat. It’s a quick easy way to talk to a customer.

Email marketing has been essential during COVID-19. Communicating with your customers has been more critical than ever before. Email is a great medium for that and successful companies are leveraging that power to get their message out fastest.

Importance of Video in all forms, particularly on mobile.

With so many people using Zoom and Go to Meeting, video will now explode even more than it already was. Use video in emails, in your blog posts and everywhere on your website. If Garth Brooks can be effective using simple videos from his home, you can use it in your business without fancy productions.

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