There has been a shift in consumer spending habits, media consumption
patterns, and how they perceive brands during the crisis.
Consumers are shifting both time and money towards things that have immediate utility in daily life, as many are fearing for their health and jobs due to coronavirus pandemic. But this does not only mean that consumers are closed to companies with products that do not fall under the essentials category — brands can prove their value during the crisis by extending a helping hand to others.
In a study in April 2020 by Ipsos and USA, about 41% percent of the respondents confirmed that they had shifted more of their shopping from brick-and-mortar stores to online, as against 13% who said the same in March. Necessities have become the prime focus — not only for B2B but also for B2C.
Consumption of media is on the rise, and video is topping the chart. In a survey conducted in March by GlobalWebIndex, respondents reported that they watch more broadcast TV,
streaming services, and news coverage, comprising close to 40% each. This is the right time for shifting perceptions and experimentations – and B2B brands are also shifting their focus to non-conventional marketing options, including TV.
Though in crisis, consumers are still open to hearing from brands. Consumers expect them to alter their messaging suited to the current situation. People especially expect to see brands taking action to help the community — a survey in March by the 4A’s, echoed the same – 56% of respondents said they were pleased when they know brands are making donations of goods and services.
Business and marketing plans conceived earlier in the year no longer work in a COVID-19 world. B2B companies must alter how and what they sell to adjust to the economic and societal conditions bought on by the coronavirus pandemic. This is driving digital transformation for B2B companies at an accelerated pace.
With many in-person events canceled and continuing concerns around face-to-face meetings, B2Bs need to lean on digital channels, including virtual events or other strategies like paid search, content, and email to engage audiences.
While some B2Bs paused their communication plans at the start of the pandemic, marketing should continue. But it’s about adjusting the message, so it is relevant and solution-oriented. B2Bs providing content or support that is pertinent to the moment will gain traction.
This is the best time to transform and get focused on marketing. B2Bs need to get the message and offering right and put that in front of receptive buyers. Many B2B companies are using this time to assess their customer data, and others are reevaluating their target account lists, to ensure that struggling industries and businesses aren’t the focus.
Yes, early research shows higher adoption rates in B2Bs implementing e-commerce to reach buyers online. Research from McKinsey & Company uncovered a 23% increase in the worldwide average company revenue share driven by e-commerce before vs. during the coronavirus pandemic.
The global market is evolving – and for long-term success – experimentation is the ultimate key.