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Some Pandemic-Caused Changes in B2B Marketing will Persist

Some innovations caused by the pandemic were remarkably effective for B2B marketers. These resourceful people thought outside the box to reach out to current and prospective customers. Many traditional means, particularly in-person events, were impossible. The good news is that those events were very costly so funds were freed up for other initiatives.

Massive online conferences
Traditional in-person conferences and tradeshows require travel and registration fees. In their place, conference organizers created online events that typically had low or no fees for attendees. Vendors also had lower fees to appear on the conference website and to receive attendee lists. Suddenly conferences attracted much larger attendances. While the quality of leads and opportunities for one-on-one interaction were lower, quantity was much higher. Online conferences and tradeshows will continue this year and in the future.

Messaging and other creative work done at home
Marketing offices are typically bee hives of activity including noise and distractions. This is fine for forming and maintaining relationships, exchanging information and ideas, and planning. However, those marketers who create content in various media discovered their productivity and creativity were enhanced by working at home. They are likely to push for a hybrid work week.

Emphasizing customer retention
Some companies boomed during the pandemic. Others were hit hard by closures. Vendors scrambled to keep their current customers. The cost to keep a customer has always been less than the cost to attract new customers. All too often B2B marketers had forgotten this fact. Now that they have focused on retention for more than a year, they are very likely to continue these initiatives.

Up-marketing and cross-marketing to existing customers
Another way in which attention to current customers can increase revenues is to encourage upgrades to more valuable services and to expand the product portfolio held by each customer. When marketers spend time with current customers and with front-line workers who serve those customers, they learn about needs and wants. Catering to these needs and wants will not only increase revenues from current customers but provide information that will help attract new buyers.

The pandemic taught B2B marketers new ways to be effective. Some of these will be abandoned as the new normal is reached. Others will be retained including the four practices mentioned above.