Generating demand can be a challenge. During COVID-19 it became even tougher. Many businesses adopted the pandemic survival strategy of dropping demand gen activities to focus on converting leads that were already in their pipeline.
But now? More is being asked of marketing budgets than ever as we open up to a new landscape. And the boom in demand generation requirement has already begun.
It’s time to take advantage. We’ve collated some key insights on what’s changed in B2B over the past year – and used them to pinpoint 3 tactics that will help you get more bang for your buck.
Sound good? Let’s get stuck in.
B2B marketing: what changed during COVID-19?
Marketers abandoned the top of the funnel
When lockdown hit last year, many B2B marketers and businesses stopped thinking about investing in long lead generation projects and, to keep the lights on, focused on short lead times and converting existing leads. The results? Top of funnel content plummeted from the 4th highest ranked B2B marketing strategy in 2019 to 17th place in 2020.
Business purchases were postponed
The marketing trend reflects business trends. According to the 2021 GWI dataset, 87% of technology procurement decision makers postponed making business purchases because of the COVID pandemic. 42% of those expressed it was because they were waiting for the situation to become clearer.
Now is the time for growth
As vaccines are administered and lockdowns gradually lift across the globe, businesses are once again focused on growing. Despite the uncertainty of the past year, the GWI 2021 dataset reveals that 63% of technology procurement decision makers expect moderate to significant growth in the next year.
There is a thirst to advance, and advancement needs leads. Are you ready to capitalise?
Digital demand gen is the future
More than three quarters of B2B marketers and customers now prefer remote interactions over face-to-face interactions. This means the digital demand gen arena is going to be more vital, and more competitive, than ever before.
Businesses can’t survive on existing leads forever. At some point, you are going to need to refill the top of your funnel.
That’s why it’s important to start putting the right demand gen strategy into place – and that begins by picking up your top of funnel (ToFu) content again.
What’s on the menu after lockdown? ToFu.
You want more bang for your precious budget buck. Your strategy needs to be a lean, mean demand generating machine. Here are 3 ways to get your demand gen fighting fit and ready to deliver throughout the funnel – from ToFu to BoFu.
1. Re-optimise content
Yes, we are in a different world to the one we lived in before COVID-19. But one key rule is more relevant than ever. Content is still king. And that means you have a great opportunity to re-optimise your existing marketing materials.
Remember that blog you published a while back that still gets impressions. When did you last update it? Adapting an existing marketing asset for the post-pandemic landscape is a time-effective way to show your continued relevance to your audience.
This can include re-purposing content in line with recent trends. Let’s take case studies as an example. During the pandemic, the number of people interacting with reviews online rose by 50%. We know that social proof is valuable, and that applies to B2B too. Businesses want assurance their cherished budget is in expert hands, and effective case studies provide that assurance. But in our time-poor, pressure-heavy current moment? That lengthy case study might be more effective re-purposed as a short, shareable video.
2. Embrace Video
If you’re going to make the most of the demand gen boom, use the tactics that are proven to work. 87% of video marketers say video has increased traffic to their website.
And yet, while it might be clichéd at this point to repeat it, video is still an underused B2B tool.
Even though 84% of people highlight videos as a key factor in their purchasing decisions*, only 60% of businesses use video in their marketing mix**.
Our insights show video isn’t just a key element of the top of funnel content strategy; it also plays a huge part in conversion. This correlation should show you why you really need to be thinking about video if you want to see improvements throughout the funnel.
3. Leverage LinkedIn
You’ve heard about the importance of social media countless times. But it’s especially vital to reconsider its value in the post-pandemic landscape.
62% of technology procurement decision makers (your audience!) refer to social media and blogs to research general product information and discover new services (according to the GWI dataset, 2021). But it’s important to target the right platforms. And for B2B demand generation, that platform is LinkedIn.
4 in 5 LinkedIn users drive business decisions, so it’s not hard to understand why marketers voted it the number 1 platform for B2B lead generation. And COVID-19 has revealed new potential in the platform. With the pandemic forcing countless live events to adapt or cancel, many of them took to LinkedIn. Content creation on the platform rose by 60% in 2020, with live streams increasing by a huge 437%.
While we will see more face-to-face events in the future, the LinkedIn skills developed by prospects as a result of the pandemic will mean they are more engaged and attentive to content on the platform.
The key points
We hope our insights have given you some food for thought. The pandemic saw top of funnel strategies take a back seat, but our insights show that things are changing. Are you ready?
Evolving habits in how and where your audience engages with content have highlighted the value re-optimised content, video, and LinkedIn hold for an efficient, effective post-lockdown demand gen strategy.
Stay ahead of the curve. Make sure you keep up to date with our latest insights.