Change is nothing new, especially for marketers. But we’re living in especially volatile times, leading to new professional realities that are requiring us to adapt.
We recently gathered our expert content strategist for a panel discussion about the ways B2B marketers are adapting their content to adjust to changing circumstances. The conversation included actionable tips and real examples from clients in a range of industries.
If you missed the webcast, you can watch it on demand here.
The vast majority of 2020 events are cancelled or postponed, putting digital content and engagement front and center for customer engagement, demand generation and sales enablement. That demands that we examine existing content with a critical eye and identify the gaps we can fill.
There’s no reason to panic. It’s simply time to pivot. Here are six ways you do that and still meet your goals.
Realign on Priorities
Before you get to work on an action plan, take the time to connect with your colleagues in product marketing and sales. With a meeting of the minds, you can:
- Prioritize gaps in your strategy that need to be filled due to canceled events.
- Revisit and revise goals as needed
- Establish new priorities that require time and investment
- Zero in on target accounts and/or buyers
The outcomes of these planning conversations will be the foundation for the remaining five steps.
Look for High-Impact Ways to Reimagine Events
New digital event platforms, hubs and interactive tools allow you to replicate the power of face-to-face experiences that have been canceled. Here are some ideas:
Hold your own branded webinars: This will allow you to focus on timely topics and buyer needs. You can even onboard a customer, partner or subject matter expert to make it a more dynamic conversation.
Run digital workshops: If you’re looking for a more interactive format, run a virtual workshop focused on a topic you were planning to feature in an upcoming event session.
Create digital hubs based on buyer roles and pain points: Create curated experiences that combine webinars, short-form videos and even written content. This will help you create relevant and immersive experiences that your audience wants to binge.
Go Back to the Fundamentals
Once you’ve filled your events calendar with new content experiences, you can do some foundational work that can help you better understand your audience in this time of change. Here are some quick and relatively turnkey ways to revisit your personas—or sketch out new ones.
- Connect with existing customers: What do they want and need right now? What are their challenges, and how can you help them? (Only ask the latter if you believe you can authentically help them. Don’t put a veil of faux concern over a sales pitch.)
- Talk with sales: See what kinds of conversations they’re having and share outcomes from yours. How has your customer base changed during this time? What new things are they concerned about? What kind of pressure are they feeling professionally?
- Revisit your messaging: Update any go-to-market messaging you have in place that may impact your content and campaigns. See if there are any new ways you can add value, both from a solution and thought leadership perspective.
Once you go through these steps, you can finalize the topics or themes you should focus on through the year—and beyond.
Assess Past Content Performance
The best way to create content quickly is to reuse what you have. Whether you call it a content audit, bill of materials or content inventory, you should have a lit of all your existing content that includes key identifiers. These may include buyer’s stage alignment, persona alignment or even theme alignment. Once you identify a few pieces that have potential, look at their performance and ask yourself:
- What assets worked well?
- What content is relevant but may need to be reimagined for a new format?
- What is the best way to transform or retell the story?
Repurpose, Reuse and Reimagine
Having a list of high-value, existing content will allow you to:
- Fill gaps in your campaign calendar due to canceled conferences and field events.
- Use content in its current form to meet new campaign needs.
- Get a jumpstart on content creation if it needs to be refreshed or reimagined for a new format.
Empower Your Sales and Field Marketing Teams in the Long Term
The cancellation of conferences and field events has led to a big gap for your sales team’s engagement strategy. They lose face time with key prospects and clients and miss th chance to generate new leads for the business. Consider investing in other high-touch tactics with the power to replace in-person interactions, such as:
- Direct mail
- Virtual workshops
- Virtual roundtables
- “Meet the influencer” digital events
You can create repurposed or net-new content to support these experiences and better position your sales and field teams as trusted experts and thought leaders.
Make Your Mark While Moving Forward.
It may feel extremely challenging to overhaul your marketing strategy, especially as you navigate all your other personal and professional pressures. But we hope these six steps make it feel easier (or at least less overwhelming) to build your path forward.
Content4Demand is hard at work helping multiple brands in a range of industries pivot their content messaging and strategies in this new climate. We’re also working with clients to empower sales and field marketing teams with sales enablement content to help them bridge the event gap to develop relationships with prospects and clients. Please let us know how we can support you as you pivot during these extraordinary times.