More than 8 in 10 marketers claim they have transformed their marketing strategy in direct response to the pandemic.
As a result, in-person events, networking, and demos are skewing in favor of hybrid and online marketing.
As you plan your B2B marketing strategy for 2022 and the last quarter of 2021, take the lessons learned from the COVID era into consideration and be proactive by building in fluidity.
I’ve compiled three areas to focus on for a fluid marketing plan: hybrid events, paid media, and field marketing. Focusing on these areas will help you reinvent your strategy for a post-pandemic world.
Blend In-Person & Virtual Engagement with Hybrid Events
The events of 2020 and 2021 forced an immediate shift from in-person to virtual events. With more than a year and a half of practice under our belts, B2B marketers have dialed in on the Zoom event.
Now, it’s time to build events that work for the changing world of 2022 by going hybrid, meaning events with both in-person and virtual components. Forrester predicts that hybrid events will become the “model of choice” for the quickly adapting post-pandemic world.
To incorporate hybrid events, we have to consider two questions: What do hybrid events look like? And does your team have the technology and skillset to support functional hybrid events?
Marketers can effectively solve this challenge with smart planning. B2B Marketing Alliance describes three hybrid event models:
- Single site: Content is produced at a single location and streamed to virtual participants.
- Hub and spoke: One main event streamed to multiple smaller sites (spokes) with customized engagement opportunities.
- Network: Multiple smaller locations produce content for both digital and in-person audiences that is incorporated into a holistic event (for example, a roundtable).
Hybrid events allow you to increase your reach and flexibility, compiling leads that otherwise wouldn’t be able to participate in your events. As Steven Estler writes for LinkedIn, a combination of a compelling in-person experience with digital participation features and polished digital content is the recipe for successful hybrid events.
Now’s the time to take a look at your team and event strategy to ensure you have the resources to pull off a fluid hybrid experience.
An Always-On Paid Media Strategy Pays Off
Paid media is a core component of a future-thinking media strategy, but it’s not as simple as shifting 30% of your budget to the paid media bucket. The competition for attention is heavy. This means you can’t just throw generic ads onto a few social media platforms and call it a day. Instead, your paid media strategy should be tightly geared toward campaign themes that sync with market research.
Paid media is the perfect resource for customized, ever-evolving lead generation.
And you don’t have to get trapped in the pitfall of bland, impersonal, unstrategic content.
- Think outside of the box with social media channels. B2B marketers often fail to incorporate two of the biggest channels into their strategy: Gmail and Facebook. Although your buyers might not be on Facebook professionally, they’re certainly there and paying attention to what they see. Same thing with Gmail.
- Utilize targeted messaging on LinkedIn. Because LinkedIn InMail allows highly customized messaging to qualified leads, it’s a high-value resource for building relationships. For example, Matmatch, a platform to connect engineering supplies with product teams, used LinkedIn to grow its user base to 150,00 in less than a year.
- Place your content on new platforms. Consider seeking out niche sites that appeal to ideal buyers. Or, seek out businesses that complement but don’t compete with your company’s market to exchange advertising.
Agile Field Marketing Incorporates Hybrid Strategies
Field marketing doesn’t look the same as it did 10 years ago, much less two years ago. Your field marketing strategy can be tied with your paid media and hybrid event efforts to create a holistic, synchronized B2B marketing plan.
Field marketers will explore new and compelling ways to support, enhance, and accelerate the sales process with innovative virtual experiences that transcend Zoom and create genuine connections with prospects in the coming years.
This can look like, among other things, using intent data and ABM strategies to target leads with content that tracks their place along the buying journey. As leads advance down their pathway, it means creating virtual and in-person opportunities to connect and build trust with your company.
The post-pandemic era requires a strategy shift, but that doesn’t mean you have to turn things upside down. Instead, work to incorporate flexibility and personalization into your B2B marketing plan.