B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 1 year 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 andmarketing in their industry. Let's get into the show. Hi, welcome tobe. To be a revenue acceleration. My name is Alim, with you, and I'm here today with Robin Emili any, funder and partner at catalystmarketing. How are you today, Robin? I'm doing very well. Thank youfor asking. No problem at all. So today we are talking about howto do be, to be marketing in the midst of covid nineteen.I think we all getting a little bit fed up of covid nineteen. Thisreal painful of us and and unfortunately, we need to addapt. So youand I, Robin, W on to call lest way to discuss a Mosamatter and you know, we decided, and the through some of the informationthat you exchange with me, as Wey with you, a great topic andquite quite an interesting one for audience. So let's go with it. Butbefore we go into the topic, would you man introducing yourself, as wellas your company, Catalyst Marketing, to audience? Yes, so I amRobbin Emiliani and I am one of the CO founders and partners at Catala's marketingagency and we are a full service marketing agency and we have a specialty andBEDB 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 likea Jobie A and Microsoft, Intel and Arrow electronics are a couple of thebig names you might know. Yes, I'm smaller one, but yeah,we know about then the young startups. So, Robin, we are livingcurrently in a pretty much sure we had time and and and the market needsto quickly adapt to the new reality. I don't think anyone knows when thingswill go back to normality, but unfortunately, in business we can't wait. Weare speaking in the preparation of this this this podcast, that all theElf stuff, Nasi's doctor walking extra shift to try to save life, andthe 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 thethe economy in this difficult time. But from a marketing perspective, what arethe main changes that you've seen happening since the covid nineteen outbreak and and ourcompanies adapting cash. We are a lot to talk about, don't we allreally? Yeah, yeah, so speaking first and foremost about what's changed,and Beb marketing is the obvious. So first of which is messaging. SoI think I can speak for all marketers at this time that we have thisterrible fear of sounding tone death during these times, and of course that peerslegitimate, because I'm sure we've all gotten...

...that email, you know, inthe last couple weeks, where it felt that it was a complete turnoff becauseit didn't strike the right tone or the messaging was off and it just didn'tfeel right during this time. But what we're finding that's really fascinating to meis this shift to right brain messaging. So let me back up. Soin the last couple years, be to be advertising has largely appeal to theleft brain, so messaging that's very black and white and very features and benefitsfocused. 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 theright brain. So what does that mean exactly? Well, right, brainmessaging is more empathetic. It strikes on human connection, it can use ironyor metaphors and even human humor. So imagine that, like be to bebrands using humor, and be to be brands really need to embrace this newway of talking and this new way of messaging so that they can get aheadof the curve. The other thing too, as you all know, is thisbig 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 andsome 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 onboth of these sides. So the first of which is are the companies thatare the ones that are putting on the shows. There are the companies thatare the exhibitors at these shows, and what we're seeing is some of thesefolks are doing these really well and some are not. Then we have acouple recommendations. So the companies that are putting on the events, you knowa lot of people are scrambling to make the virtual event happen the same timethe in person event was supposed to happen, and this is this can be amistake if you're not fully prepared. So making sure you're giving you andyour team plenty of time to prepare for this. You don't have to matchthat date of the in person in person event and try not to pre recordthe majority of the event. Do as much as you can live. Andwhat's great about this, and when I love is that right now everyone ismore forgiving, so being polished and perfect is being replaced by frankly good enoughand authentic people are. You know, everyone's got their kids in the backgroundand they have background noise and they're sitting in their home offices. So reallygrowing up and being authentic, I think is become really effective. And thenfor 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, whenI was client side, I had the opportunity to be an exhibitor at oneof these virtual conferences and I really enjoyed it. And we had a digitalbooth and we had digital graphics within the booth. We also had videos runningin the booth. But one of the cool things about it was the engagementthat we had and the number of Lee's that we drove, because what wefound was with our online chat, the shy people are more apt to haveconversations with yeah, absolutely right, and so I was able to field questionsas as a marketer, but then, you know, some of the moretechnical questions I could hand off to my sales engineer and he could continue orshe could continue the online chat with these folks and we actually drove a lotof leads out of the event. So people can really do a lot withthese virtual events. Yeah, okay, says you. Almost feels like well, relaxing it. I know it sounds Bas out to say that, butyeah, what we feel from what we are doing. We've got we've gotsome 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 dogon 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 withhis 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 startto calling say up. You know, by the way, I've got mykids. They may come at any time now and one of them is dressedas 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 threemonths ago in a professional discipline way are now quite charming and it's something torealize. Actually, you know, what we're trying very odd, but weall human speaking to humans and and I think everybody's on jowing the conversation alittle 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 tellyou 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 themoment. 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 whatwe 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'san issue we are sharing. We've got something in common and that's something oncommon in a way we feel is bringing us close off to the prospect andthat's that's that's I found it very interesting. Coming back to the topic and whatyou 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 thattime and budget to be able to...

...survive but also come out of thatcrazy 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 therecession and how did companies perform and what were they attributes and what were someof the behaviors that that were common in the companies that thrived? And youknow, the companies that didn't make drastic cuts were the ones that actually faredbetter. 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 Ithink one of the other things that we're seeing to that is fascinating is theis more emphasis on digital yes, we're really helping our clients double down onmedia 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 ofour computers and as marketers and as baby companies, we have got to showup where customers are and since everyone's on their computers, digital really has reallyincreased 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 adecrease of of connection via fun when we engage with prospect or when we engagewith 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 onthe daily basis or to channel partners on the daily basis, and wesaw dropping them of connection via fun by approximatively seventeen percent, which is awhich is major right. So must twenty percent. So you know, it'syou 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 socialmedia going up by approximatively twenty two percent, mainly being linkedin, of course,but people seems to be on Linkedin. This seems to be active. Wesee 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 postingabout things that are doing with their keys and all that. So it seemsto be like the the right platform. But in back, I think youmade the statement that I really, really like. You know, you shouldnot stop marketing, and I think I am, I am so, somuch in agreement with you on that one. I've had some, unfortunately some someconversation with clients who asked us to know, relax what we are doingor 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 thesame resources back to the project. No, but we confert people sittingon the bench for amounts and then starting again in May or mid May orwhatever. So we will have to ramp up again and and I think wealso have. We've had some most our...

...clients who ask us to actually pose, maybe for three months, what we were doing. And fundamentally, Ithink, you know, I can get it. You are concerned, you'llsee fools. Okay, you know what, less freeze everything, but you're goingto lose a faire yeah, it's three months time when you want toresume. It's like marketing. What we do is like marketing. It takesa little bit of time to go back to that momentum, to go backto producing that volume of pipeline on a monthly basis and having that, youknow, that's rock rolling, you know, pushing. You need to push theRock a little bit and when you get the momentum then it becomes easierand if you stop pushing the Rock, it's not good. So we tryingto discuss that with crime. It's a very small minority that have asked usto 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 mayberight for the smaller companies, but some of the biggest one. We actuallymanaged to convince a good part of them to not stop but but to reducewhat they were doing so we can keep the team taking we can take everythinggoing. And you know, at the end of the day, look,we've been locked down for what, three weeks now? I don't know fora 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. Thefirst 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 willcome back to normal. But I do a hundred percent agree with you. Stopping Marketing, stopping silly selling, is is, I think. That'smy opinion, is a mistake. So with mistake, and you know thecompany you want, your company, won't see the impact right away. Butto 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'thave 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 istwo types of organization. You've got organization with a business models almost as apay as you go and if they've got lots of customers in a specific articlethat is impacted, then there really and you will get down. But Ithink most of focused. The most probably a kills. They would have twoyears, threels a month to bear recurring contract monthtly, you know, streelsof contract basically already planned out. So the revenue is that going is probablythat grows. That could be impacted. But what you know ven you grows. Doub was important and I think invests the market. They may allow fallback 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 attractionwould 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 someexample of campaigns or program that you are running from for your clients that havebeen a successful in these new times, if I shout called them that way. Yeah, absolutely. So adobe comes to mind first and one of thethings that we're doing to help them is...

...we're really acting as their triash teamto assess a lot of you know, because we have a lot of campaignsrunning for adobe at the moment. But we're going back and reevaluating all ofthe content to make sure it's appropriate for distribution and how do we need tomodify that content so that it's current it, you know, so that it's morerelative to these current times. Yeah, we're also helping them a lot withvirtual events. You know, there's there's some discomfort from a lot ofour clients about how to execute a lot of the virtual events, how topromote them, how to drive registrants. So, you know, we're supportingthem with a lot of the campaigns associated associated with that. One of theother 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 stepout of the box and provide their clients with services that are outside of theirtypical services. So, for example, you know, they're they're helping theirclients with implementations and upgrades of Microsoft products. But one of the things that we'rehelping 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 usedto this working from home. So we're coaching them through via these webinars onhow to work from home, how to be more productive, how to bemore effective, and then explaining to them, you know, how they're going tobe 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 thento other clients that I think I should mention, one of which is errowelectronics. One of the things that is fascinating during this time is how thesales people are and what they're doing has changed. So we're helping Arrow electronicswith a lot of their sales enablement tool so, you know, because they'reno longer having these in person, these facetoface meeting, so we have tohave 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 isreally a time to flex your creative muscle, because that's what's going to resonate withyour audiences. More interactive, more interesting, more engaging types of content. So we're doing a lot of that for Arrow. We're also doing alot 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 thefuture and the light at the end of the tunnel. Okay, howdo you think the bit to be marketing...

...world will look like when the lockdownis over? Yeah, I you know, what I would what I would advisemarketers is to, you know, like we talked about earlier, iskeep this momentum. Your marketing efforts, in your lead generation efforts may needto 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 accountbase marketing. Yeah, so things like intent data, you know, whichis heavily reliant on Ip addresses of corporations direct me out. Some of thosethings 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 Readyto 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 andpeople 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 andtalk human and stop talking about features and benefits and really focus on thisright brain type messaging, because we're all walking away from this transformed. Ithink it's a great time to build up relationship. You know, what wewhat we believe is opening that you you eat. May Be Difficult FO salespeople to actually collect to freshly printed touches, although from their clients, but theybelieve. You know, the conversation still goes on and I think froma marketing perspective, carrying on marketing, carrying on selling, but I'm talkingabout the top of the Phonolia is absolutely key. Even for us. Youknow, we had a couple of new contract so we've been able to bringseven new clients since since the beginning of the lockdown, but we had twoor three that didn't come in because, despite the fact that who are towardsthe 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 tostart and, you know, let's posit. And I think that's what it isit's supposed. I think, as we carry on what we are doing, we are actually nurturing conversation, we are putting those conversation. They arein the bag and I think they're going nowhere. And as soon as thelockdowne is over, and I don't know if it's really a question of thelog on is being over, but as soon as people adapt towards the newis, whatever the you is, lock down being over or, you know, people having to work in a different way and stuff like that, Ithink that all those conversation would result in opportunities moving forward. So almost seeit as an investment. is about carrying on making your investment and and andyou'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 andrefreshing to have you on the podcast. So they ever been, even ifI'm fed up to speak about covid nineteen.

It was good to speak, tospeak about it with you in that sense. So so thank you somuch for your insight today. I really appreciate you. You to the timeto be with me on the PODCAST and share some of yourselfs and share alsoexam on board off what you've been doing, which I think he's he's really withall agience. He's F t. Now if anyone's wants to connects youdiscuss about potentially out Kett least marketing canst you bought them in the marketing journeyand and Tak that conversation of flying. What is the best way to getrid of your were Bein? Yes, so the best way is probably email. So my email addresses robin at catalyst marketing dot IO, or they canvisit the website catalyst marketing dot IO and they can fill up the contact formand I'll be sure to reach back out. Well, the fun. Once again, he was great to have you on the show. So thank youfor coming and joining us today. We're thank you so much. operatics hasredefined the meaning of revenue generation for technology companies worldwide. While the traditional conceptsof 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 fastand complex world of enterprise technology sales. See O operatics can help your companyaccelerate 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 favoritepodcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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