COVID-19 has brought us the future of digital marketing even faster than the rapid pace we were experiencing. These changes are not something we can wait out until things return to business-as-usual.
This month I’ve looked at current trends and how a commercial printer can respond. When faced with unknowns, I look at what the data is telling us.
COVID-19 Induced Trends
Many identifiable trends are impacting your customers.
Social Media Spending Increased 74%
According to a recent Harvard Business Review Article, enterprise spending on social media increased by 74% during the first two months of COVID-19. Social media spending increased from 13% of the marketing budget in February to a whopping 23% in May. Marketers expect it to stay at this level until next year.
Almost All Marketers Are Working From Home
In 87% of companies, the entire marketing workforce is working remotely, according to a recent Newscred survey. Another 11% of companies responded that over 90% of marketers are working remotely.
Virtual Events Have Replaced Live Events
An Eventbrite article says that last year, 54% of B2B businesses planned on hosting more events. According to Contently, 20% of the average B2B marketing budget has on in-person events and nearly 50% for many companies. Virtual events have replaced most of these in-person conferences.
Doom and Gloom for Printers?
For years, commercial printers have felt the shift of marketing budgets towards digital communications and away from offline marketing. COVID-19 has brought massive changes in marketing budgets in a short time. Many of these shifts may prove to be temporary, but even these will last well into 2021.
Fighting these trends is not going to be a successful strategy, but not all is doom and gloom.
According to the CMO Survey, marketing budgets are not dropping as much as revenue. Marketing is grabbing a larger share of corporate budgets, rising from 8.6% of company revenues in February 2020 to 11.4% in June.
So What Can A Printer Do?
At the beginning of 2020, no marketing team had a COVID-19 game plan. According to the Newscred survey mentioned earlier, 56% of marketers say that managing shifting priorities or strategies are now the top challenge. ()
Take a hint from Marketing 101: be where your customers are.
Up Your Social Media Game
Social media budgets have increased by 74% for a reason. People that are not going to the office or out for entertainment are spending more time online. Now is a good time for sales reps to review and improve their LinkedIn profiles. Reach out and connect with all existing customers and new prospects. You may you’re your customers appreciate the contact.
Get Your Customer’s New Work Address and Send Direct Mail
Printers understand the power of getting your message into the hands of your customer. But for B2B companies, sending direct mail to the office doesn’t make much sense with people working from home.
It’s time to utilize those mostly ignored home address fields in your CRM system.
Find something that your customers will find useful and ask them for the best mailing address to use. Unless you’re in a specific sales situation, offering to send information likely won’t be effective. One offer that might work well is to send them a gift card to a local restaurant that offers take-out or delivery service.
Reach out and make the offer with some combination of email, phone calls, or social media.
Once you have the address and have sent out a gift, follow up with a direct mail drip campaign.
Don’t Fight It, Go with the Flow
Over the past few years, I’ve offered many ideas for printers integrating their services with digital marketing. Here are a few I’ve selected that may be particularly useful during these COVID-19 times. You may even find it helpful to share a few of these with your customers.