Understanding consumer behavior is one of the most important parts of any business, no matter what industry. Yet, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it has been harder for the CMOs to understand what their customers are needing and how they are behaving. All of the methods you once knew and trusted will most likely not work anymore. In fact, four in ten CMOs said that the most significant challenge they will face within the next six to 12 months is understanding the difference between temporary changes and the permanent changes that will last after the pandemic.
Instead of waiting for things to go back to normal, prepared marketers are meeting their customers in the middle. CMOs that are prepared are learning a balance between consumer research and adapting their business operations to the current social and economic atmosphere.
In this article, we wrote about how CMOs can adapt to the changed consumer behavior caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and what consumer insights should be your top priorities moving forward.
What changes are CMOs facing?
Studies have shown that the Coronavirus pandemic has furthered consumer behavior insights and research. As the pandemic continued to alter daily life in ways that may have lasting effects, consumers have found new priorities and introduced new psychological profiles. Statistics show that the top challenges for marketers include how to align with these new and changing customer attitudes and how to handle the decline in customer spend. Marketers can study these priorities and profiles to learn how to move forward with marketing campaigns post-pandemic.
With social distancing guidelines set in place, CMOs had to become comfortable with the idea of transferring everything to a virtual format overnight. With these virtual formats, CMOs have to adapt to make connections and be personable through a screen rather than in a corporate setting. Additionally, CMOs are facing changes in their budgets. About 45% of chief marketing officers expected bigger marketing budget increases within the past year. However, 54% expected budget cuts.
How to prepare for marketing campaigns moving forward
In order for CMOs to be successful at post-pandemic marketing campaigns, they need to be prepared. Research conducted by Dentsu, an international advertising agency, shows that prepared CMOs are likely to face minimal disruptions (51% to 25%) and have even seen an increase in global revenue in the past year (70% to 48%).
CMOs that were in preparation for the shift from digital to e-commerce channels before the pandemic have also been focusing on purpose-led marketing at higher rates (42% to 23%). These research findings suggest that CMOs who feel ready for challenges that appeared during the pandemic – and those that will appear afterwards – were already addressing marketing areas that have recently evolved. Chief marketing officers who are better prepared to navigate the lasting effects of the pandemic are more likely to view their role as an opportunity to create the best customer experience possible. They will be able to meet challenges with innovation and introduce new products and services that will be beneficial during a crisis. Competitors that are less prepared will continue to do “business as usual” and not be able to adapt to their customers’ needs.
Moving forward, CMOs should have a rule book or guide set in place of what to do during unexpected situations. This guide should include marketing strategies, customer relationship strategies, and even a process for allocating the budget.
What should CMOs be prioritizing?
Dentsu has also noted that they are seeing more CMOs leading their organizations into unknown circumstances with confidence by making consumer intelligence a priority. CMOs should be focusing on how to address the needs of both their established customers and their prospects.
Do you have a product or service that you can offer your customers that can make this time easier for them? Make an effort to bring this solution to their attention.
Do your customers need extra assistance? Make sure you are there for them and ready to help.
Another way CMOs can be prioritizing consumer intelligence during this time is by conducting research. To best find out what your customers’ pandemic behaviors are like, and what would make prospects want to close a deal with organizations during this time, conduct interviews and ask these questions. This way, organizations – especially CMOs – can better understand customer behaviors and know how to roll out marketing campaigns that are sensitive to the current social and economic climate.
During these times, CMOs are advised to not leave their customers in the dark. Your customers should not have to question what their relationship will look like with your organization during hard times. Be transparent with them and willing to listen to their concerns. Communication is truly key!
Chief marketing officers have had to make many strategy and priority changes during this past year in order to keep their B2B organization afloat. Is your organization still searching for the right marketing strategy to sustain your B2B business during this time? At The Growth Engine, our team wants to help you navigate the current state of the B2B marketing field and create a plan that will last post-pandemic. Reach out to our team to get started on your new strategy.