For the last 18+ months, it seems like every marketing conversation referenced “Covid” or “Pandemic.” Isn’t it the time for B2B marketers to move beyond that?
What does the “new normal” look like and what is the future of B2B Marketing?
In this CounterPoint B2B episode, marketing leaders Sharon Spooler and Tom Treanor discuss everyone’s readiness to move on.
“Just like Zoom fatigue is real, pandemic fatigue is real,” says Sharon Spooler, Area Managing Partner at Chief Outsiders.
What Does the “New Normal” Mean in B2B Marketing?
While some want to go back to how things were, others are excited about the possibilities ahead.
Regardless of where you stand, the post-pandemic period brings a time of reflection for marketing leaders. Looking ahead has a new meaning.
“The only constant is change” says Tom Treanor, CMO at Treasure Data. “There will be a new normal because new technologies have been developed and companies have tested out new ways of working.”
But who’s actually driving the change?
Tom believes that while marketers are one of the forces of change, what’s really driving the move to a new normal is the meetings and conventions industry which wants to get back to business as well as attendees who are eager to start attending in-person events.
The events ecosystem is a big driver of the “new normal,” Tom says.
During the pandemic, marketing leaders have pivoted heavily and have been flexible in the way they’d go to market. But now it’s time to “steer the ship” in a direction that aligns with what the customers want.
“The CMO owns messaging”, says Sharon Spooler. “It’s the go-to-market motions where you need the aligned point of view from sales, marketing, finance, and the CEO,” she adds.
Should B2B Marketing Conversations Change?
Sharon believes the pandemic is embedded into the American and world’s psychics.
There are many businesses that have successfully changed their offers and solutions based on the pandemic. From a workforce perspective, there is a greater demand for flexibility that wasn’t there before.
In the B2B marketing space, however, the conversations are now much more nuanced. The focus should be on nurturing rather than selling, and making your customers feel comfortable, listened to and cared for.
No one wants to be “marketed to” with pandemic messaging.
But how do we make the transition?
Is it dropping pandemic references from marketing and customer conversations?
Tom says it’s a change in focus. “Let’s stop talking about why you were challenged. Now let’s talk about what you need to do.”
“Conversations should always begin with the customers,” Sharon argues. “It starts with what they’re trying to achieve and what their reality is.”
More than ever, it’s important for marketers to get in touch with their customers and their needs to guide the marketing messaging.
And data should be marketers’ best friend. Data tells you if your message is reaching your customers and prospects, if it’s effective, and ultimately if you’re having the right conversations or not.
Advice for Marketers
Sharon and Tom also shared their advice for new marketers.
Get out of your own silo and start talking with your customers to understand their reality, how they’re making their decisions, etc.
Get down in the “trenches” and really understand your customers’ needs and articulate how you’re going to help them achieve their goals.
For more insights into the future of B2B marketing, watch Sharon and Tom’s CounterPoint B2B episode here.