On March 19, 2020, California was the first state to implement stay-at-home orders to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Other states quickly followed suit – as of today, all but seven states have stay-at-home orders in place.
As a consequence, a record number of employees among those that haven’t been furloughed or laid off are working from home. According to consulting firm Global Workplace Analytics, 60 million to 70 million Americans may be attempting to conduct business from their dining rooms, kitchens and home offices.
What does this mean?
While B2C businesses are quickly shifting their commerce models and marketing focus online, B2B companies face a significant challenge reaching potential customers they typically connected with via trade shows, in-person sales calls and direct mail sent to now-vacant offices.
What should marketers be doing?
Companies that sell to other businesses should consider changing their approach from a traditional B2B mindset to B2H: Business to Human. Everyone reading this is a B2B consumer for some product or service. So focus on YOUR needs right now, how YOU want businesses to engage with you, and apply that filter to your core audience.
The first step in that process is understanding where your audience is physically. With business travel eliminated and so many people working from home, that means going all-in on digital tools like emails, online trade publications, LinkedIn posts and webinars.
Most digital platforms allow brands to facilitate account-based marketing – the ability to sell to individual companies or people vs. entire industries. Whether you’re targeting your own customers or using data to identify the most promising prospects, these tools can help B2B brands not only reach the right people, but deliver specific messages geared toward different demographics, mindsets and behaviors.
That’s the next step: understanding where your audience is emotionally and developing content that matches their needs and provides value to them as people. For example:
Brands that share research about COVID-19’s impact can help people feel better equipped to deal with the uncertainty around them, while positioning themselves as a trusted source of insight.
Brands that offer short-term solutions – be it discounts or value-added services – can help people look like heroes at a time when everyone wants to prove their value as an employee.
Brands that ask, “How can I help?” can demonstrate their willingness to partner individually with customers, offering customized assistance that builds long-term loyalty.
When it comes to B2H marketing – especially now – just follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Are you reaching your consumers where they are – physically and emotionally – right now? Is your marketing plan adding value for them?