Crises force change and innovation. This one is no different.
For years there have been slow moving digital transformation projects required cultural change in the business. Suddenly all those managers who said the change was impossible have had no choice but to scramble and make it happen.
Some of those changes were predictable – the rush to tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams for video conferencing; the virtual events shifting online. We have learnt how effective they can be – quite often more effective than the face to face equivalent. Some of them are less predictable. The health service has gone online, adoption of virtual doctors has been rapidly accelerated with demand rocketing. Doctors are using virtual reality to treat patients remotely and architects to meet and work on projects. Many museums have brought their exhibitions online for people to “walk through”.
Impact on Marketing
Marketing is in a uniquely volatile situation. Customers are living online and online has become the only place to engage with customers in the foreseeable future. B2B Marketing has been uniquely affected. Suddenly, your prioritisation of key markets has shifted, your normal go to places for insight and feedback are now too slow and your ability to reach these niches proactively is now only digital.
There have been plenty of people piloting account-based marketing (ABM) in the run up to the pandemic and some ABM techniques have seen a surge in adoption in the past few weeks.
To get a grasp of the current state of the market, it is imperative that sales and marketing gain insight via customers and prospects. For marketers, this is the fastest way to gain real-time insight allowing them to re-evaluate the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
We are also seeing much greater communication flowing between sales and marketing to understand the changing environment and identify the right messaging. That is very clearly the start of a one-to-few account-based marketing strategy.
The current situation affects each cluster differently and requires clients to shift the companies that they target and change the messaging to suit the current environment. Ultimately, all of this lends itself to a scaled ABM strategy.
With new targets identified and messaging finalised, many are looking for ways to proactively reach them. Market-wide advertising is wasteful (today more than ever!), so we have seen more and more marketers exploring our ability to selectively reach target companies with highly tailored advertising, even when their staff are working from home. This has helped companies reach new priority niches quickly.
The only certainty is change… and the direction of travel has shifted significantly in the past few months.