If 2020/21 taught us anything, it’s that B2B marketing needs to be broken. Big time. With COVID-19, every play in the traditional B2B marketing playbook seemed futile in a world without in-person events and slashed marketing budgets. Luckily, the best B2B marketers did not panic. Instead, they started ripping pages out of their outdated playbooks and writing new ones that better align with not only the world we live in today but also the “return to the new normal” that’s on the horizon. Here are three new rules that you should consider adding to your marketing playbook:
Sell The Truth
If you’re coming out with a product release and you know there’s a portion that isn’t quite up to snuff, then consider releasing that portion as a “public beta” and tell people it’s still a work in progress. If your company is taking a holiday off, then post on social media that your employees will be away so your accounts can be quiet for the day. Not only does marketing become much easier when you opt into being truthful instead of “working your angles” all the time, but it also works wonders on building trust with your audience.
Listen Before You Influence
Your audience doesn’t want to be marketed to. Instead, you should be focusing on real relationships rather than throwing advertisements around and hoping they land in front of the right eyes. It’s estimated that today’s average consumer sees over 6,000 ads daily. Millennials and Gen Z’ers literally unfollow brands that they think do “too much advertising”. Spend time persuading your audience to help you affect change, implement key decisions, and create buy-in around your ideas. This can only happen if you’re genuinely listening to your audience and know what they care about. If your brand’s social media goals are all about “number of posts” and “impressions”, then you’re focusing way more on talking than you are on listening. It’s time to rethink the goal of your brand’s social media presence.
Show & Tell It Like It Is
B2B has a home page problem. How do we fix it? It’s all in the hero. So many B2B companies rely on stock photos and random illustrations to make their homepage look sleek, trendy, clean, or any other buzzword your C-suite asks for. Why do we focus so much on how the page looks rather than on what it says? You should focus your website efforts on ensuring every element of your site points back to your brand and what you sell, including every image, header, paragraph, and CTA. This is an audit you should be doing frequently. Be bold, forward, and honest.
Here’s the bottom line: your current marketing playbook cannot look exactly the same as it did two years ago. If you’re still using 2019’s playbook, we hope the above marketing rules help you rethink your own unique strategy. It’s time to get to work on writing your own 2021 playbook for your brand and goals!