The coronavirus pandemic has caused B2B marketers across all industries to reassess their 2020 marketing strategies, as the campaigns planned in Q1 became ineffective or impossible to carry out in Q2.
The Marketing Pod is a growing agency based in Hockley Heath, just outside Birmingham. Its team is made up of senior marketing and PR specialists who proudly refer to themselves as ‘B2B geeks’. When lockdown began, co-founder and director Jodie Williams knew they had to act fast to help their clients adapt to an altered world:
‘One of the things B2B businesses found most difficult at the outset was the need to refocus activity quickly; often with reduced budgets and dispersed or diminished teams. You could see that people were tempted to pause all activity and wait it out, but that is never going to give you a great result.
Research tells us time and time again that the businesses who focus on brand building during a crisis will come out strongest. With the right support, we knew our clients would be ready and willing to pivot activity instead – and to innovate. It’s been brilliant to see how resilient B2B is.’
For many businesses the most frustrating aspect has been an inability to prospect. With new customer acquisition suddenly so much more difficult, savvy businesses have been shifting the focus to brand building and to creating growth through existing customer relationships. But even that has been problematic against a backdrop of regularly shifting customer sentiment – in response to a crisis that’s affecting everybody in different ways. The key is having the right expert support, and The Marketing Pod’s team have been pleased to be able to provide that for their clients.
Harnessing the power of digital
The Marketing Pod has been working with clients to harness the power of the digital platforms at their disposal – meeting tight deadlines to come up with innovative alternatives for planned activity and moving as much as possible online through podcasts, video content and live events.
Already adept at working remotely, thanks to their Friday work from home ritual, the team was well placed to inspire clients to keep activity and productivity up and make the most of the resources available to them. They quickly got in touch with their contacts, put Zoom and Meet dates in the diary, and let them know that they were going to be around to support them for the duration.
Online event success story
One of The Marketing Pod’s lockdown success stories is the On Demand week created for leading third party intermediary (TPI) Inspired Energy. On Demand was a full week of high quality expert content, comprising 25 live and interactive webinar sessions over five days. The event brought together external industry experts including representatives from BEIS, National Grid ESO, ICON, Smartest Energy and the London School of Economics, and topics covered ranged from risk reduction and energy efficiency through to policy developments, the impacts of coronavirus, and choosing the right tech to support net zero goals.
Registered delegates were able to access sessions live or at a time to suit them – from the safety and comfort of their homes. The event was hosted on a custom-built platform created by The Marketing Pod’s digital team, and Danielle Wrench, marketing manager at Inspired Energy, was delighted with the results:
‘Our first ever series of online events could never have been the success they were without The Marketing Pod. They had so many great ideas and were able to execute them seamlessly. It removed all of my stress – I was relaxed throughout the week-long event knowing that they were on hand in case anything went wrong. It didn’t.’
One other important way that The Marketing Pod has provided support to B2B businesses during this difficult time is through free online resources – including their Guide to Energy Marketing in 2020 and their Guide to B2B Marketing during (and after) Covid-19. Both are available to download via the agency’s website. The team has also recorded a podcast aimed specifically at B2B businesses called B2B Marketing: making plans when the future is unknown. The intention behind this new content is to give B2B businesses the confidence to pivot (rather than pause) marketing activity and try something new.
The Marketing Pod’s director of client services Ellie Smith believes that this can be an important time to plan for the future too:
‘One topic covered in the new guides is key considerations for 2021 – because this a perfect time to reflect and reset, and make sure you have a really robust strategy for the coming year. Insight will be key. We can expect 2021 to bring fresh challenges (possibly including a recession), but by taking a strategic approach, you can ensure that your campaigns resonate and deliver the results you need.’