The impact of COVID today may not seem as significant as they were a year back. However, business owners (especially in the B2B market) may disagree with this statement. The pandemic has thrown them off their game, forcing them to adapt to changing conditions and incur serious losses. The adoption of digital and social channels has accelerated across industries and become the mainstay for most of the marketing campaigns launched today. However, B2B marketers have been crippled (of sorts) to resort to digital-first channels instead of their usual lucrative face-to-face meetings.
“When B2B marketers could no longer connect with buyers in person, digital ads had to work overtime and have been a primary touchpoint to get in front of target audiences.” — Jillian Ryan, eMarketer Principal Analyst
Revenue vs. Brand
The common argument marketers face when working with B2B organizations is that marketing is more of a checklist item than a meaningful contributor to business growth. However, people fail to understand that no lucrative deal is closed without building relationships. And that’s where marketing comes in.
One could argue that sales reps do the same function. But, the playing field has drastically changed since buyers are getting younger and conducting their own research before speaking to anyone. B2B organizations are largely skipping out on spending money over trade shows and reaching their target accounts using digital and social platforms.
The objective shouldn’t always be about securing new leads. However, most B2B companies focus only on revenue generation activities and miss the train on building brand equity. And this can be harmful in the long term.
It’s like buying a new car without a working engine — it looks pretty on your driveway but is functionally challenged.
B2B organizations must strike a balance between revenue generation and brand building in order to be successful. One uses the market demand today, and the other creates the market demand of tomorrow.
I strongly believe that adopting digital-first strategies and boosting investment in brand equity can change the status quo of B2B marketing. This will lead to two major things happening:
Marketing will be viewed as a revenue driver rather than a cost driver in most B2B organizations
B2B organizations that find a balance between revenue activation and brand building will be successful
Hopefully, these factors are convincing enough for B2B organizations to equip their marketing teams with the tools they need to be successful. If not, they might need to ask their sales reps to take over marketing — which most often than not, is not the best alternative.