The ability to adapt to changing customer behavior in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to show more compassion on marketing campaigns is one of the key areas B2B marketers need to improve to be successful in 2021. This is the verdict of the marketing directors from Microsoft, EY and Mitel, who spoke about the panel “The New Growth Agenda” at the recent # B2BWorldFest by The Drum and Stein IAS.
Ravleen Beeston, Managing Director, UK Sales at Microsoft, answered a question from The Drum’s trending editor Rebecca Stewart about the biggest changes in B2B marketing in 2021: “With obviously more people at home, there is more growth in the Online area inevitable space. However, it can come from less traditional locations so we need to adapt and keep a proactive eye on it to keep track of where it is moving. We have to prepare for that too [B2B] Markt will completely upgrade again in 2022. “
Beeston also warned that B2B brands could no longer afford to view “branding” as something that just needs to be worked on. Rather, it needs to be implemented now. “The pandemic is putting brand purpose to the test, forcing brands to back up personal words with action,” she said. “Whether B2B or B2C, consumers have high expectations of the companies they are associated with. The brand purpose cannot just come from the marketing department and must be the focus of business discussions. “
“B2B companies need to ask: Why do we exist?” Beeston continued. “How do we make a positive contribution to ecological or social progress? Is our supply chain ethical? In the age of COVID-19, consumers want to know which companies they are really investing in [about these things]. Having a clear brand purpose is also becoming increasingly important when it comes to attracting the best new talent. “
David Silke, director of marketing at telecommunications giant Mitel, used his appearance on the panel to urge B2B brands to find a way to be “agile” and to invest in areas that offer solutions that help society in this dark time . “You have to adapt and be agile,” he explained.
“For example, at Mitel we have developed cell phones that are resistant to COVID-19 infections and that are more like a hybrid work area,” said Silke. “Much of the growth is currently due to people working remotely and moving into this totally contactless society. Therefore, the consideration of automation or deeper artificial intelligence in interactions will also be of enormous importance in the B2B area. You have to be open-minded and always keep an eye out for different bags. “
Toni Clayton-Hine, Head of Marketing at EY Americas, agreed with Silke’s assessment, but added that B2B companies need to show compassion for their workforce. “It is important that you consider the mental health of your employees. This pandemic has really taken its toll, so the way we support both our consumers and our employees needs to reflect this. It’s about targeting them at the right moment and realizing that things are difficult. “
Clayton-Hine added, “We need to think about how we can better tell the story as marketers in B2B. What we do can be less cold and less specific to the B2B environment, and there can be more of a human conversation. We can steal more from the B2C world, especially when our consumers have more time in front of their computer to focus emotionally on these exchanges. I’m looking for advertising agencies that I work with to make sure we stay honest. “
When Beeston got the last word, he emphasized the need for ongoing empathy. She concluded, “I think B2B marketers need to put themselves in the shoes of their partners and try to really understand their needs and expectations. If you can do that, you will bring B2B to a place where it can accelerate growth. “
For more information from Microsoft, Mitel and EY for the coming year in B2B marketing, see the full video above. Find out more about all the sessions that took place at The Drum and Stein IAS at # B2BWorldFest Here.