While the return to normal may mean a return to some ways of traditional, old-school B2B marketing strategy, a lot has changed permanently:
Q: Did you find a new way of communicating with customers?
A: Before the pandemic, our team already used video conferencing and online events/webinars to communicate with clients. Pre-pandemic, about 50% of the time, we were finding video-reluctant clients that were uncomfortable with video meetings and would resist turning on their webcams. Now, more than 90% of clients are very comfortable with a webcam-on approach to building rapport and improving collaboration. Along the same lines, clients became way more comfortable creating their own video content.
Q: Did you discover a tactic for reaching more people?
A: Yes, that's another finding during the pandemic as well. Before the pandemic, our clients were concentrated in our time zone (Eastern) and the adjacent time zone (Central). We had some clients in the Pacific and an occasional client on Mountain time. As companies became way more comfortable with remote teams during the pandemic, clients became way more comfortable with schedule-/calendar-compromising, making it more likely to reach and work with clients across multiple time zones. Interestingly enough, we've also reached and work with clients five to six hours ahead of us throughout Europe. Again, as people became more comfortable with all things virtual, this opened the door to reaching many more people.
Q: Have you realized a technique works better than you thought it would?
A: Yes, we've found two marketing techniques worked better than we thought they would. First, we already knew how strong the momentum towards people's self-serving (researching and making purchasing decisions) was before the pandemic. That's accelerated even more, and building digital journeys are even more effective than it was 18 months ago. Second, breaking large, considered purchase decisions up into smaller steps with incrementally increasing commitment levels has shortened sales cycles and lifted client satisfaction even more than expected.
Q: Have you adjusted your goals or changed how you measure success?
A: Yes, pre-pandemic, we had -- and a number of our clients had -- ambitious plans for building more marketing-sourced pipelines using self-sponsored, highly-targeted offline events. All of those plans and goals shifted to digital equivalents (and worked great!).
Q: What about where and how you work?
A: Before the pandemic, I was very comfortable with hybrid work (combining time in the office and working remotely). During the pandemic, this shifted to a fully remote team. My working routine, a typical workday, hasn't changed much. However, I became more deliberate about leaving large blocks of deep-work time open for projects rather than allowing meetings and workshops to be scheduled throughout the workweek. Without blocking out large swaths of non-meeting days/time, it's hard to make a lot of momentum on major initiatives focused on marketing and sales content strategy.