By Leslie Clavin, Vice President
By now, we’ve all come to realize that this global coronavirus pandemic is an ultramarathon. We are still likely to see many changes, shifts and adjustments in the months and years to come. For those B2B marketers and communicators who have successfully managed through the first phases of the new business environment, it’s time to take a close look at B2B messaging and positioning in today’s new market landscape.
It’s time to live and work in what the consulting firm McKinsey calls the Reimagination stage in its five-phase recovery framework. B2B organizations need to revisit their mission and vision and recast them for the post-pandemic environment. And, while we reference the pandemic, other events need to be taken into account as well, including mass unemployment, social unrest and climate change, just for starters.
Research and review
Even prior to 2020, enterprise messaging was continually evolving to keep current with market needs and new products and services. As you start to think about programs for 2021, it is a natural time to review your competitive and stakeholder landscape. Take a serious look at current competitors—who has weathered the transition, and which companies have faltered? Analyze the discussions happening on all platforms and channels. Analyze search trends to better understand current priorities and online behaviors. What parts of your pre-pandemic messaging are still relevant, and which no longer ring true or are high priority? What trends are happening in your market today—and forecast for tomorrow—that you can authentically own or address?
Redefine or recast under a greater purpose and value
For some, the pandemic has provided opportunities to demonstrate the greater value they are bringing to market. For example, a provider of routers and broadband infrastructure might previously have communicated the technical benefits of its platform pre-pandemic. Today it can legitimately highlight how it is working with its partners to help address the Digital Divide as everyone is forced to work, learn and socialize virtually. That message carries much greater purpose and is one people can connect with on an emotional level. The key here is thinking beyond ‘speeds and feeds’ and maintaining authenticity.
Above all, empathy
Acknowledging that life isn’t the same as it used to be might come more naturally to consumer-facing brands, but empathy has a newfound priority in B2B messaging and communications. According to recent research conducted by the analyst firm Forrester, more than 60 percent of B2B buyers “will gravitate toward providers that work hard to understand their goals during the buying journey. Connectedness creates lasting partnerships through empathy and commitment.” Connect with your buyers on a personal, individualized level. In all brand, marketing and sales communications, be sensitive to what they may be going through personally and professional. They will reward you for it.
Enterprise marketing has always required agility and constant evolution. Today’s communications environment, however, is even more complex and complicated to navigate. We’d love to help you chart your course and B2B message.