Tracking the B2B Digital Marketing Shift: “B2B turns to digital marketing in the wake of coronavirus outbreak” by Dan Gerstenfeld

by: Nichole Gunn April 20, 2020

Whether or not we want to acknowledge it, the effects of the coronavirus pandemic have officially settled in.  Responses of social-distancing and “essential business” labeling has left many businesses scrambling to manage the impact.  In an industry notorious for its reliance on trade shows and in-person events, B2B marketers are left asking, “how do we keep the channel open for business?” According to Dan Gerstenfeld, the answer is simple: B2B digital marketing.

Today we’ll be taking a closer look into ClickZ’s article, “B2B turns to digital marketing in the wake of coronavirus outbreak” by Dan Gerstenfeld as it tracks the impacts of coronavirus on the adoption of B2B digital marketing.  As you read, make sure to ask yourself: Where can I focus my marketing efforts in this new B2B landscape to generate the largest return?

Tracking the Transition: Nowhere to Go but Digital

To set the stage, Dan Gerstenfeld starts with what we like to call the “fund” facts regarding cancelled B2B tradeshows and events:

  • A 2018 research study calculated B2B marketers allocating “40 percent of their budgets to exhibitions and industry shows.”
  • Safety concerns regarding the coronavirus “led to a 500% surge in cancellations and postponements of significant events,” according to PredictHQ.
  • The estimated cost of these event cancellations is “estimated at billions of dollars.”

If the math is correct, businesses have two options: sit on billions of dollars in loss, or repurpose newly available funds in the B2B digital marketing space.

Measurable Benefits to B2B Digital Marketing

All marketing efforts have benefits, but are the benefits truly measurable?  When it comes to the benefits of B2B digital marketing, Gerstenfeld says it best:

“The major advantage of digital marketing, besides the fact that it does not require face-to-face interaction, is that it is measurable. Marketers can quite easily obtain a good picture of their spending return on investment (ROI), and of which activities generate the highest number of quality leads and at what expense.”

By tracing online activity, such as email-open and click-thru rates, digital marketing provides a better understanding of your B2B customers.  An even better way to get to know your customers? Utilizing a channel incentive program as part of your B2B digital marketing strategy.  Signing up channel partners to earn rewards on an online platform helps gather more accurate customer data and better understand your buyer audience.

Use This Time to Revisit Your Marketing Strategy

Cancelled events not only mean repurposed budgets, but repurposed time. Gerstenfeld suggests using it as an opportunity to “reset goals for your marketing campaigns and take an in-depth look into the performance of past efforts.”

This is the time to be honest about the effectiveness of your current marketing strategy.  Are you happy with your current percentage of market share? Are you confident in your ability to capture partner mind share? Digital marketing was an effective tool before the pandemic, and will continue to remain after it subsides. Investing in smarter ways to provide engaging, omnichannel customer experiences while you have the time is exactly the boost your company will be grateful for when mandates are lifted.

Another way to build an online presence in the B2B digital marketing world is an online loyalty program. By providing a digital platform to communicate with channel partners in a time of remote work, you can begin to create brand loyalty while also driving sales.

Staying Focused in the New B2B Digital Marketing Landscape

Digital technology has become one of the saving graces of this pandemic, and will continue to grow in popularity as time progresses. When it comes to the benefits of digital marketing, investing now, while the time and funds are available, is key. It will not only solidify your presence in the channel today, it will continue to serve you in the digitally dominant future.

Interested in using an incentive program as part of your digital marketing strategy? Incentive Solutions is ready to help. Sign up for a free consultation today.

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About Nichole Gunn

Nichole Gunn is the VP of Marketing at Incentive Solutions, an Atlanta-based incentive company that delivers advanced, agile B2B customer loyalty and channel sales incentives programs.