B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

75. How to do B2B Marketing in the Midst of COVID-19


We're all getting a little fed up with COVID-19 by now, but we need to adapt to the new realities the pandemic has imposed on us. 

No one knows when things will go back to normal, and in the marketing business we can't wait for that to happen, anyway. We have to go the extra mile now and help businesses keep pressing forward in the face of these challenges.

In this episode, I interview Robin Emiliani, one of the co-founders and partners at Catalyst Marketing Agency, about how to do B2B marketing in the midst of COVID-19. 

We talked about: how companies are adapting to the changes brought on by COVID-19, the overnight shift from in-person events to virtual events, the Harvard Business Review study that proves that you shouldn't stop marketing, how sales has changed and what marketing can do to support the sales team now, and the #1 thing you can build during this time.

To hear this interview and many more like it, subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or our website.

You were listening to bb revenue acceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executive stay on the cutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome to be. To be a revenue acceleration. My name is Alim, with you, and I'm here today with Robin Emili any, funder and partner at catalyst marketing. How are you today, Robin? I'm doing very well. Thank you for asking. No problem at all. So today we are talking about how to do be, to be marketing in the midst of covid nineteen. I think we all getting a little bit fed up of covid nineteen. This real painful of us and and unfortunately, we need to addapt. So you and I, Robin, W on to call lest way to discuss a Mosa matter and you know, we decided, and the through some of the information that you exchange with me, as Wey with you, a great topic and quite quite an interesting one for audience. So let's go with it. But before we go into the topic, would you man introducing yourself, as well as your company, Catalyst Marketing, to audience? Yes, so I am Robbin Emiliani and I am one of the CO founders and partners at Catala's marketing agency and we are a full service marketing agency and we have a specialty and BEDB tack. So we do last of campaign creation, lots of strategy, lots of content development, Lutch, lots of digital advertising for our clients. But our sweet spot really is be be tax. So we have clients like a Jobie A and Microsoft, Intel and Arrow electronics are a couple of the big names you might know. Yes, I'm smaller one, but yeah, we know about then the young startups. So, Robin, we are living currently in a pretty much sure we had time and and and the market needs to quickly adapt to the new reality. I don't think anyone knows when things will go back to normality, but unfortunately, in business we can't wait. We are speaking in the preparation of this this this podcast, that all the Elf stuff, Nasi's doctor walking extra shift to try to save life, and the fact we believe that US, being very small cogs of the economy, also need to go to the extreme. I and Work Ouder to support the the economy in this difficult time. But from a marketing perspective, what are the main changes that you've seen happening since the covid nineteen outbreak and and our companies adapting cash. We are a lot to talk about, don't we all really? Yeah, yeah, so speaking first and foremost about what's changed, and Beb marketing is the obvious. So first of which is messaging. So I think I can speak for all marketers at this time that we have this terrible fear of sounding tone death during these times, and of course that peers legitimate, because I'm sure we've all gotten...

...that email, you know, in the last couple weeks, where it felt that it was a complete turnoff because it didn't strike the right tone or the messaging was off and it just didn't feel right during this time. But what we're finding that's really fascinating to me is this shift to right brain messaging. So let me back up. So in the last couple years, be to be advertising has largely appeal to the left brain, so messaging that's very black and white and very features and benefits focused. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about talking about. Yeah, and what we're finding is that the messaging that's really resonating relates to the right brain. So what does that mean exactly? Well, right, brain messaging is more empathetic. It strikes on human connection, it can use irony or metaphors and even human humor. So imagine that, like be to be brands using humor, and be to be brands really need to embrace this new way of talking and this new way of messaging so that they can get ahead of the curve. The other thing too, as you all know, is this big shift from in person events that have transformed to virtual events overnight, you know, because all of the imperfect in person conferences have been canceled and some of the bigger shows like adobe summit, have been replaced with these virtual events. And there are two sides of this and we deal with clients on both of these sides. So the first of which is are the companies that are the ones that are putting on the shows. There are the companies that are the exhibitors at these shows, and what we're seeing is some of these folks are doing these really well and some are not. Then we have a couple recommendations. So the companies that are putting on the events, you know a lot of people are scrambling to make the virtual event happen the same time the in person event was supposed to happen, and this is this can be a mistake if you're not fully prepared. So making sure you're giving you and your team plenty of time to prepare for this. You don't have to match that date of the in person in person event and try not to pre record the majority of the event. Do as much as you can live. And what's great about this, and when I love is that right now everyone is more forgiving, so being polished and perfect is being replaced by frankly good enough and authentic people are. You know, everyone's got their kids in the background and they have background noise and they're sitting in their home offices. So really growing up and being authentic, I think is become really effective. And then for exhibitors, you know, the folks that are actually exhibiting at these events. It's a really interesting time and what's...

...cool is I actually had, when I was client side, I had the opportunity to be an exhibitor at one of these virtual conferences and I really enjoyed it. And we had a digital booth and we had digital graphics within the booth. We also had videos running in the booth. But one of the cool things about it was the engagement that we had and the number of Lee's that we drove, because what we found was with our online chat, the shy people are more apt to have conversations with yeah, absolutely right, and so I was able to field questions as as a marketer, but then, you know, some of the more technical questions I could hand off to my sales engineer and he could continue or she could continue the online chat with these folks and we actually drove a lot of leads out of the event. So people can really do a lot with these virtual events. Yeah, okay, says you. Almost feels like well, relaxing it. I know it sounds Bas out to say that, but yeah, what we feel from what we are doing. We've got we've got some of our stuff, you know, sending US skype or slack and say, yeah, I just poke to the CIO of such and such company, as Real Large Organization. Yeah, and you know, yeah, he's dog on his lap. It took kids backing behind him and it this and that, and you know, he was telling me how is managing the daytime with his wife and people will spend five minutes the opener is really is very human, is personal things that you would not talk about, you would never start to calling say up. You know, by the way, I've got my kids. They may come at any time now and one of them is dressed as a million so don't just pop in. And I think, you know, weird way, things that probably would not have been acceptable two months three months ago in a professional discipline way are now quite charming and it's something to realize. Actually, you know, what we're trying very odd, but we all human speaking to humans and and I think everybody's on jowing the conversation a little bit more, because it's not just business. People are more relaxed. They would actually tell you why they would not be interested by something or tell you what step they would want. So it's it's almost more it's more relaxed, more honest, more human and and we're actually really enjoying it at the moment. You know, lots of our stuff are telling as this is. It's obviously not a good moment in the look of face. You know, if you look at on the what's happening on the planet, but from what we are doing and from the way people are feels that one was that. That's solidarity, the fact that, you know, we are all in that's an issue we are sharing. We've got something in common and that's something on common in a way we feel is bringing us close off to the prospect and that's that's that's I found it very interesting. Coming back to the topic and what you are seeing in the market and and what you're seeing your clients doing. All you advising your clients? Well, do you think market should focus that time and budget to be able to...

...survive but also come out of that crazy strong? Yeah, I think first and foremost is don't stop marketing. So there was a study done by the Harbor Business Review and looking at the recession and how did companies perform and what were they attributes and what were some of the behaviors that that were common in the companies that thrived? And you know, the companies that didn't make drastic cuts were the ones that actually fared better. So if you make too many cuts you're less likely to survive later. So these companies continue to invest in marketing and research and development and I think one of the other things that we're seeing to that is fascinating is the is more emphasis on digital yes, we're really helping our clients double down on media and digital advertising spans because everyone's on their computers now and these social channels, I mean, they're experiencing record usage because we're all sitting in front of our computers and as marketers and as baby companies, we have got to show up where customers are and since everyone's on their computers, digital really has really increased in the last couple weeks, which I which I find really interesting. It is interesting and we see the sign by the way, we've seen a decrease of of connection via fun when we engage with prospect or when we engage with clients or anyone in particular. So we've got different type of compaigns. We've got channel compaigns, we've got productive companies, we've got follow up companies, whatever you you can think of compaigns, but basically we speak to prospect on the daily basis or to channel partners on the daily basis, and we saw dropping them of connection via fun by approximatively seventeen percent, which is a which is major right. So must twenty percent. So you know, it's you need to walk twenty percent Aal door to speak to us. Many people. However, we've seen email going up by certain person and we've seen social media going up by approximatively twenty two percent, mainly being linkedin, of course, but people seems to be on Linkedin. This seems to be active. We see people at well, I kind of you don't know where they were. They are starting to post again. We've got some clients who are posting about things that are doing with their keys and all that. So it seems to be like the the right platform. But in back, I think you made the statement that I really, really like. You know, you should not stop marketing, and I think I am, I am so, so much in agreement with you on that one. I've had some, unfortunately some some conversation with clients who asked us to know, relax what we are doing or pose what we were doing. And you know what I'm telling them. As look, with the way we work, if we pose what we are doing, when you will want to resume, we won't be able to allocate the same resources back to the project. No, but we confert people sitting on the bench for amounts and then starting again in May or mid May or whatever. So we will have to ramp up again and and I think we also have. We've had some most our...

...clients who ask us to actually pose, maybe for three months, what we were doing. And fundamentally, I think, you know, I can get it. You are concerned, you'll see fools. Okay, you know what, less freeze everything, but you're going to lose a faire yeah, it's three months time when you want to resume. It's like marketing. What we do is like marketing. It takes a little bit of time to go back to that momentum, to go back to producing that volume of pipeline on a monthly basis and having that, you know, that's rock rolling, you know, pushing. You need to push the Rock a little bit and when you get the momentum then it becomes easier and if you stop pushing the Rock, it's not good. So we trying to discuss that with crime. It's a very small minority that have asked us to stop things. Some of them may be short of action, you know, they've got to be careful with what what they're doing. It as maybe right for the smaller companies, but some of the biggest one. We actually managed to convince a good part of them to not stop but but to reduce what they were doing so we can keep the team taking we can take everything going. And you know, at the end of the day, look, we've been locked down for what, three weeks now? I don't know for a long you've been locked down in a in Denver, but therea yes, freaks as well. Look, is it's don new normal will get. The first week everybody was figuring it out. The second way people are like, okay, well, that's annoying. So the work is like, okay, well, we need to go by this the new normal. Let's carry on. We can't stop, you know. Is that so? So? So, you know, with the new normal, I think. I think things will come back to normal. But I do a hundred percent agree with you. Stopping Marketing, stopping silly selling, is is, I think. That's my opinion, is a mistake. So with mistake, and you know the company you want, your company, won't see the impact right away. But to your point, you know, with our longer sales, like goes, you're going to feel it later. It's oat bringing you for when you don't have the truck rolling that you're going to feel the impact of this. Yeah, and I think that that's particularly true if you are. But there is two types of organization. You've got organization with a business models almost as a pay as you go and if they've got lots of customers in a specific article that is impacted, then there really and you will get down. But I think most of focused. The most probably a kills. They would have two years, threels a month to bear recurring contract monthtly, you know, streels of contract basically already planned out. So the revenue is that going is probably that grows. That could be impacted. But what you know ven you grows. Doub was important and I think invests the market. They may allow fall back Qualto, but I don't think they will all for it. Everybody. YEA, and the company that will increase the value and and the the attraction would probably be doing when that that don't stop. But there you go. So to be a bit more specific, could you, could you show some example of campaigns or program that you are running from for your clients that have been a successful in these new times, if I shout called them that way. Yeah, absolutely. So adobe comes to mind first and one of the things that we're doing to help them is...

...we're really acting as their triash team to assess a lot of you know, because we have a lot of campaigns running for adobe at the moment. But we're going back and reevaluating all of the content to make sure it's appropriate for distribution and how do we need to modify that content so that it's current it, you know, so that it's more relative to these current times. Yeah, we're also helping them a lot with virtual events. You know, there's there's some discomfort from a lot of our clients about how to execute a lot of the virtual events, how to promote them, how to drive registrants. So, you know, we're supporting them with a lot of the campaigns associated associated with that. One of the other clients that we have, so MCA connect, is a Microsoft partner, okay, and they're one of the things that we're helping them do is step out of the box and provide their clients with services that are outside of their typical services. So, for example, you know, they're they're helping their clients with implementations and upgrades of Microsoft products. But one of the things that we're helping them do is put on these webinars on how to work from home, because a lot of their clients work on premise, so they're not used to this working from home. So we're coaching them through via these webinars on how to work from home, how to be more productive, how to be more effective, and then explaining to them, you know, how they're going to be a good partner to them. So going out of the you know, out of the box and really being of service to their clients and then to other clients that I think I should mention, one of which is errow electronics. One of the things that is fascinating during this time is how the sales people are and what they're doing has changed. So we're helping Arrow electronics with a lot of their sales enablement tool so, you know, because they're no longer having these in person, these facetoface meeting, so we have to have really powerful, compelling digital materials that they can share with their folks. So what I love about that is everybody's up there creativity game. This is really a time to flex your creative muscle, because that's what's going to resonate with your audiences. More interactive, more interesting, more engaging types of content. So we're doing a lot of that for Arrow. We're also doing a lot of that for Intel. So we've seen this crazy spike in video, as you can imagine. You know, creating lots of video for our clients, both to be incorporated into campaigns but also be created for you know, helping the sales team and creating tools for them. Okay, that sounds cool, very, very good. Very good, very good. Let's talk about the future and the light at the end of the tunnel. Okay, how do you think the bit to be marketing...

...world will look like when the lockdown is over? Yeah, I you know, what I would what I would advise marketers is to, you know, like we talked about earlier, is keep this momentum. Your marketing efforts, in your lead generation efforts may need to be modified, but continue this this push forward. The other thing too, that's coming that has waned a little bit at this time time as account base marketing. Yeah, so things like intent data, you know, which is heavily reliant on Ip addresses of corporations direct me out. Some of those things have scale back significantly during this time, but that's going to come roaring back, so be prepared for that. Plan for that now. Be Ready to ramp your ABM campaigns back up, because that's going to be critical, and then also addressing like from here on now we're going to talk differently and people are transformed as a result of this, and I think in a good way. and BB marketers have got to, you know, show up authentically and talk human and stop talking about features and benefits and really focus on this right brain type messaging, because we're all walking away from this transformed. I think it's a great time to build up relationship. You know, what we what we believe is opening that you you eat. May Be Difficult FO sales people to actually collect to freshly printed touches, although from their clients, but they believe. You know, the conversation still goes on and I think from a marketing perspective, carrying on marketing, carrying on selling, but I'm talking about the top of the Phonolia is absolutely key. Even for us. You know, we had a couple of new contract so we've been able to bring seven new clients since since the beginning of the lockdown, but we had two or three that didn't come in because, despite the fact that who are towards the endge just about. Basically we are the docuside stage of the contract, which usually we've got a hundred percent conversion, then we are the CFO sing. Look, we know what. Don't believe it is the right time to start and, you know, let's posit. And I think that's what it is it's supposed. I think, as we carry on what we are doing, we are actually nurturing conversation, we are putting those conversation. They are in the bag and I think they're going nowhere. And as soon as the lockdowne is over, and I don't know if it's really a question of the log on is being over, but as soon as people adapt towards the new is, whatever the you is, lock down being over or, you know, people having to work in a different way and stuff like that, I think that all those conversation would result in opportunities moving forward. So almost see it as an investment. is about carrying on making your investment and and and you're going to collect the fruit of that Labor later on in the year. But but yeah, I do agree with you and it was actually wonderful and refreshing to have you on the podcast. So they ever been, even if I'm fed up to speak about covid nineteen.

It was good to speak, to speak about it with you in that sense. So so thank you so much for your insight today. I really appreciate you. You to the time to be with me on the PODCAST and share some of yourselfs and share also exam on board off what you've been doing, which I think he's he's really with all agience. He's F t. Now if anyone's wants to connects you discuss about potentially out Kett least marketing canst you bought them in the marketing journey and and Tak that conversation of flying. What is the best way to get rid of your were Bein? Yes, so the best way is probably email. So my email addresses robin at catalyst marketing dot IO, or they can visit the website catalyst marketing dot IO and they can fill up the contact form and I'll be sure to reach back out. Well, the fun. Once again, he was great to have you on the show. So thank you for coming and joining us today. We're thank you so much. operatics has redefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams inhouse has existed, for many years. Companies are struggling with a lack of focus, agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprise technology sales. See O operatics can help your company accelerate pipeline at operatics dotnet. You've been listening to BEDB revenue acceleration. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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