Technique 2 minutes, 41 second read Rachael Kinsella,, iResearch Services
It is hardly the elephant in the room, but we may as well get it out of the way. The covid-19 pandemic has changed the way people live and work. Accordingly, the way brands communicate with and engage their clients and potential customers has adjusted accordingly.
In times of uncertainty, it is the ability to see people as human beings – and reflect that in all forms of engagement – that must become the starting point. It is an admirable quality. The question of how we can help others before embarking on content or communications campaigns must now be the focus.
At face value this may seem harder to achieve in the B2B sector, but there has been a gradual consumerisation of such campaigns in recent years. As the importance and availability of online channels pervades B2B marketing, these experiences can make or break the relationship, the deal or even the business.
Brands with a point of view
In times of uncertainty, it is also important that brands are not afraid to have a point of view, provided it is an informed one. This quickly builds trust and credibility.
Research is a great way to achieve this. Gaining industry, sector and role-specific insights from customers and their peers, understanding the challenges they have overcome, and the opportunities presented. Armed with this insight, marketers can create relevant, timely and quality perspectives and answers to the issues at hand.
A study of Chief Marketing Officers conducted by iResearch found almost three quarters (71%) believe thought leadership provides the best return for sentiment and relationship building.
Thought leadership packs a punch
Further research by LinkedIn and Edelman found 88% of decision makers agree that thought leadership is effective at enhancing their perceptions of an organisation. Added to this, almost half of C-level executives say they shared contact information after reading thought leadership content.
The importance of research isn’t just in building credibility, but in creating opinion-led content that will engage clients – and consequently get the biggest budgets in content marketing efforts. Backed by accessible evidence, this demonstrates an ability to tell truthful stories.
With a content strategy set, short, medium and long-term planning needs to be more adaptive and agile. Preparedness for constantly shifting sands requires laser-focused strategic marketing planning for integrated activity, using all the tools at the marketer’s disposal. This also makes it far easier to pivot. It may seem like there is much to lose, but a mindset shift from ‘failure’ to ‘learning’ pays dividends. Trying and testing an approach should become part of every marketer’s thinking. The covid-19 pandemic in particular has demonstrated the necessity of pivoting with purpose.
Finally, this enables better measurement and ease of demonstrating return on investment. What channels work best, what types of content, and why? Armed with this insight – and with an adaptable plan – incremental gains can be made that, over the course of a year, make a significant impact on the business.
In a time where brands are under scrutiny like never before, the need to gain trust and credibility with an honest message supported by hard facts, has never been more important. It is a time of great opportunity for B2B marketers.