Digital Marketing for the Next Frontier

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Your B2B or creative services organization should rethink your current strategy.

The digital struggle is real. Everything that can be done remotely has moved online—science class is done in front of a computer, sing-alongs are broadcast to the entire nation and playdates are hosted from your phone, not to mention the now 57%+ of Americans who are working from home, according to a Gallup poll.

While all this technology has come in handy while we’re all supposed to stay at home, we all also seem to be re-acknowledging that it’s not even close to the real thing. We’re exhausted from the increased screentime and we crave real human interaction.

The digital landscape, like everything else, has changed. Your company and communications strategy have to change with it. The good news is that you can make changes now that will translate into success even after we can all meet up in person again.

Good Content and Good Stories

Digital advertising is reaching more people than ever, but ad conversion rates have fallen fairly sharply overall, with some industries seeing huge sales increases (home goods and loungewear, unsurprisingly).

Our clients at 148 Communications tend to be B2B and creative services companies, so we focus on the relationship rather than the transaction, but AEC industry firms and real estate developers still need to be smart about their digital presence. And that starts with the basics of real, relevant brand messaging, and strong content that speaks to who you are as a firm and service provider. The things that made your clients want to work with you before COVID-19 should be the same things that make them want to continue working with you. I cannot understate the importance of strong content that tells the story of your work and who you are in a way that is relevant to your clients. That will always be true, no matter the platform and regardless of marketing trends.

The Social-ese of Platform Options

When we start working with a new client, we inevitably end up discussing social media. Our clients want to know which platforms will work for them, where they should spend their time and resources, and what’s the next up-and-coming platform worth investing in.

The truth is that most B2B organizations probably spend too much time broadcasting social media to a large audience when they should be targeting their messaging to clients and potential clients.

Well, without being too wishy-washy, it depends. Who are you trying to reach? What are your goals? What do you think social media is going to do for your company?

The truth is that most B2B organizations probably spend too much time broadcasting social media to a large audience when they should be targeting their messaging to clients and potential clients. Each platform offers something slightly different in terms of interface and users, and each platform is better suited for certain objectives. It’s surprising how many clients initially believe that if they can’t be on all social platforms, they shouldn’t bother with social media at all, which couldn’t be further from the truth. And my advice is not to pivot to the latest platform unless it’s going to add value to your overall digital strategy.

Four Ways to Up Your Digital Marketing Game

My best advice to B2B and creative service organizations is to use this time to rethink, reimagine and reallocate marketing and communications resources. Here’s where to focus:

  1. Rethink your budget. Like all things digital, social media can be a financial vortex of death. Yes, decide how much money you want to spend but be clear on your expectations and what you’re willing to do to get there. Truthfully, B2B social has always had a tenuous ROI without the right strategy behind it.
  2. Re-examine your digital and content strategy as it stands. Are you using the same strategy and messaging as you did pre-pandemic? Have you changed everything about your messaging to fit the current, temporary environment? Neither is the right way to go. If your core voice, concepts and message aren’t working, it’s time to make a big change. An outside perspective could do wonders.
  3. Reimagine the skill-sets on your team. Do your people have the flexibility to move from analog to digital marketing and back again? Do they understand that your brand message can and must transcend current platforms? If not, this is a great time for online training, classes and seminars to get up to speed. Or hire out.
  4. Reallocate your marketing resources based on the current financial status and strategic direction of your firm, and then be prepared to shift it. Three months from now—three weeks from now—you may need to change it up again, so agility is key and flexibility is the greatest component of social media.

The pandemic has given us all an opportunity to pause and re-think our current approach to even the most over-looked elements of our marketing and communications toolbox. That’s a good thing. But it has also thrown new challenges in our path. Thanks to the digital revolution, we all have the tools to address and solve those challenges. Social media is surely among them, but we have to use it appropriately, effectively and potently. That takes some doing.

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