Even in B2B tech, many marketing teams have seen their budget spend decline and experienced increased pressure from the board to justify any budget reallocation from live events. Some employees have been made redundant and many companies stopped using third-party services, such as freelancers, to cut costs. But is that really the right approach when it comes to marketing in turbulent times?
Ultimately, it is about finding the perfect balance between cutting costs and investing in tactics, technology, and people that will help you grow when economies bounce back. Many studies show that cutting back on marketing during a recession is proven to have a negative impact on your post-recession sales.
However, we have never experienced anything quite like this in the modern era and none of us have definite answers. What we do have is current research and data that can help us guide through finding that right cost-cutting & investment balance.
No project research downturn
We have significant evidence that B2B researchers are spending more time than ever on educating themselves on the available solutions. Bombora, who have unique insights into the content consumption behaviour across the B2B ecosystem, recently shared an article that shows despite the mass work from home movement occurring across the world, the number of active business users across Bombora’s Data Co-op globally maintains scale and proportion to gather significant content consumption activity.
Bombora’s content consumption activity shows that COVID-19 has driven increased interest towards Healthcare and Finance related content and, also shows that attention across other areas of B2B interest has remained relatively stable, with content related to Technology, Business and Legal, increasing in consumption compared to the start of the year.
IT projects are still happening, even in affected industries
In a recent video by the Executive Publisher at TechTarget, they shared current observations on buyer research behaviour for B2B tech marketing and sales teams.
Having a remote workforce meant that businesses had to ensure they could sustain it and have the right technologies and security in place. Immediate attention went to technology supporting ‘immediate imperatives’ areas of the business: productivity, enablement, optimisation, and future-proofing.
More recently, however, TechTarget shows how research has shifted towards strategic Digital Transformation topics and saw just a very slight decline in the number of confirmed IT projects happening on their network.
View the full video here: https://youtu.be/ZGAZ-8KmoAg
Perhaps the most surprising stat is that affected industries such as Retail, Consumer Goods Manufacturing, and Travel & Hospitality are amongst the top 6 industries with increased research on TechTarget’s network.
“Because these industries have been hit so hard, they are relying even more on the productivity of their workers, as well as the digital experience they have with their customers, to make sure that they can navigate through this.”Rebecca Kitchens – SVP of Market Development & Executive Publisher at TechTarget
This is invaluable evidence that companies can use to justify their marketing activity and to re-think their strategy. Not marketing or doing it without a refined Digital Transformation messaging can result in a missed opportunity not only for your company but also to support these industries.
What options do Marketing have?
Marketing tends to be one of the first areas where spending is cut, but is it really the right tactic for businesses to scale back on their marketing when buyers are clearly, actively searching for solutions?
We think the choice comes down to two options:
1. Keep marketing and defend your budget.
We have shown there is plenty of research out there to support that buyers are still in market for tech solutions.
Cuts may well continue to happen given that economies are predicted to recess by as much 30%, but businesses must realise that there will be significant consequences by scaling down or stopping marketing activity.
Company revenue will be impacted in Q3-Q4 2020 and during 2021, which could result in a need for increased budgets in the latter part of 2020 and 2021.
Instead, we suggest using research like this to challenge board decisions and search for new innovative ways to keep marketing effectively. You can invest in research, ask publishers, agencies, or your network if they can provide evidence to back up your decisions.
2. Future proof your strategy.
If you feel it isn’t an appropriate time to market your services, then now is the time to get resources in order. Get your infrastructure in place, look at the MarTech stack, tools, and processes you are currently using and assess their worth.
You will need more aggressive and consistent marketing down the line so it is paramount that you set up the best possible marketing to stay ahead of competitors.
How could Intent Data help?
If you are worried about marketing to the masses and feel it is an inappropriate time, then there isn’t a better option than Intent Data. You’ll be able to target the active market and ensure your digital voice is being heard by the right people at the right time. Companies are more determined than ever to make it through the crisis and will continue to spend on solutions that ensure they succeed during lockdown and beyond.
Ultimately, our advice is to take time and think about which Intent Data platform may benefit you best, as you are going to need as many insights as possible post COVID-19.