Mi6 Round Up | August 2020

What Is a Round Up?

Every month we pick articles from our B2B Sales and Marketing Digest and drill further down for you. We’ll give you a quick summary of the article – The Gist, give you our thoughts on why it’s important at this point in time and some advice. 

It’s our way of helping you further sift through the firehose of content we experience daily! Enjoy! Oh, and by the way… comments are welcomed. Also, if you’d like to be a contributor to an upcoming round up just pick an article from our digest and let Chris know.

Reimagining Marketing in the Next Normal

By: Lisa Denis, Partner, Mi6 Agency

The Gist

McKinsey outlines six changes in consumer behaviour observed over the past 6 months – some trends that have accelerated development and some that are emerging in the next normal.  They also echo the emerging conclusion that consumer behaviour has shifted permanently in the wake of the pandemic and marketers need to revisit their understanding of what consumers think, feel, say and do.

The six trends:

  1. E-Commerce:  The pandemic accelerated e-commerce adoption in B2C exponentially, and has been more quickly adopted in B2B for those who were able to rapidly deploy digital purchasing options.
  2. E-Services: Telemedicine and banking have led the charge, but in the new normal, fitness companies, real estate agents and mortgage brokers have expanded their e-service offerings and capabilities.
  3. At-Home Options:  The home has become command central for personal and professional activities.  Making it easier for buyers to transact from home is an important consideration for marketers.
  4. Go Local:  Closed borders and lock downs have forced buyers to look local for the products and services they need and in this environment, local options inspire confidence in quality and safety for the buyer.
  5. Redefining Trust:  Any trust a brand gained pre-pandemic has been amplified with consumers and gaining the trust of new consumers will require a nod to health and safety and affordability as an empathic option aligned with the consumers understanding of the negative impacts of the pandemic.
  6. Purpose:  Long before the COVID-19 crisis, companies were being held to socially conscious standards.  This requirement has been accelerated.  Real action and accountability needs to be included from the top down – the work you do, the partners you have, the vendors you use, your employees, the communities you operate in and the messaging to customers.

Why Is This an Important Article Now?

It seems clear that some brands and organizations are not getting the message that the consumer landscape has shifted more permanently then could have been planned for. 

It is important for marketers to understand that things are not going to return to the way they were and adjust accordingly.  And, be prepared to continue adjusting for the foreseeable future. 

Those marketers who are agile enough to quickly meet the needs of their customers will have success.

What Advice Can I Offer?

Your customers are the best source of information you have.  Change the relationship where you can as a marketer to better listen to their changing needs and meet them where they are. 

Create intentional and balanced communications to engage customers, monitor changing behaviours and be a more active part of the solution.

Upstream vs. Downstream Marketing, Explained

By: Chris Herbert, Managing Partner, Mi6 Agency

The Gist

Looking for a simple way to include big picturing thinking with tactical execution of your B2B marketing program? In this article by HubSpot you’ll learn all about upstream and downstream marketing and how they relate and complement each other. 

In a nutshell, upstream marketing is your big picture and long term plan, while downstream is the tactics that you’re going to execute that align with that plan. 

Key upstream activities include understanding the key problems the market and your customers are experiencing and how your offer solves them. The typical solution selling methodology applies to this activity along with persona development. It’s all about planning.

Downstream activities include all the tactical things you will do to implement the long term plan. It’s all about execution.

Why Is This an Important Article Now?

The pandemic has forced B2B companies to change the way they market. Or, in some cases, stop marketing all together!

Prior to COVID-19 the Lion’s share of resources (budget, effort and time) was directed to live events and tradeshows.

Marketing provided tactic support (downstream marketing) in the form of event management, content, graphics and chatzkies. 

Sure, the sales team was aware (or they should have been) that most buyers search online for solutions to their problems before engaging with a company.

They should know that the company website, peers and educational content was important but gobs of money was being spent on events still. But, the concern I’ve had with B2B companies is whether marketing fulfilled a strategic role or not.

In many cases it purely plays a supportive role in other words does only downstream marketing. This has to change. 

What Advice Can I Offer?

In last month’s Round Up on 5 Big Obstacles Encountered by B2B Content Marketers I identified the cause: lack of alignment with key people in their companies.

In order to even have a chance of applying the upstream/downstream approach having alignment and executive support is a must.

Since the tried and true B2B marketing tactic, tradeshows and face to face events, are no longer an option, marketing needs to step up and think more widely about what the company needs to do in order to get and keep customers.

Even if they’re moving their events budget over to virtual ones, they need to get out of the tactical weeds and participate, if not lead, when it comes to strategic go to market, network development, account and contact engagement plans.

The New Rules of Marketing (2020 Edition)

By: Karen Kelly, Managing Partner, K2 Performance Consulting

The Gist

My pick for August is “The New rules of Marketing”. Very little in today’s world is static, most things are in constant flow, your prospects are no different. Understanding this stresses the importance of our messaging to be genuine, time sensitive and in line with our brand based on trust, integrity and transparency.

Those whose message is tone deaf, insensitive or lacking empathy will quickly be shown the virtual door. Due to the ever changing environment it makes understanding our client’s needs more challenging, what they faced last month may be different this month. 

Why Is This an Important Article Now?

Operating in a state of flux, continues to represent a high level of uncertainty and low risk tolerance for most B2B organizations.

What can we do to make it simple for our clients to find us? engage with us? learn something or think differently about their current situation?

Improve our digital and social media presence; ensure it is customer focused and drives engagement through relevant, personalized and simple to digest content

What Advice Can I Offer?

Invest time to uncover your client’s needs, gather insights through conversations with existing and future clients. Get an accurate pulse of the challenges they are facing and some they have overcome. Share this via a weekly newsletter, automated campaign to inform clients of similar stories, social proofing.

To highlight your position of “trusted advisor”, share stories of how your solution prevented, improved, or resolved their challenges and some of the measurable results they provided. Paint a clear, detailed “before” picture using language similar to your clients (gathered from customer conversations) to increase relevance and relatability. Reduce the risk of status quo bias with a no pressure CTA.

What Do You Think?

B2B sales and marketing professionals around the world are seeking to learn and get better. So are we! Our hope is that you refer to these monthly round ups to help you do just that. If you’d like to be contributor to an upcoming round up just let Chris know.