B2B Marketing Brands Rapidly Adapt to Change in COVID-19 Era

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By: Mike Capizzi, CLMP™ |

Posted on May 20, 2020

A new survey released by McKinsey & Company sheds some interesting light on the changes underway in the B2B marketing and sales arena.

B2B Brands Reduce Spend During COVID-19

As expected, both small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and larger, enterprise agencies have reduced their B2B marketing spend during the crisis. The average citing reduction is reported at 62% of all global B2B marketing agencies; highest in the UK, South Korea and Spain; lowest in the US and Italy. While the amount of the reduction is unknown, spending cutbacks are happening everywhere, at about the same level. Brands will quickly learn whether such decisions have a sustained impact on future business.

Optimism about businesses rebounding within the next 2-3 months appears to be softening. In McKinsey’s April 1 survey, 55% of all global B2B marketing companies cited optimism about the near-term future. By April 27th, the optimism scale had slipped to 50%. The longer the crisis lingers, the less likely it is to feel positive about the next 2-3 months.

Other findings reveal changes in tactics that are not surprising, especially among the SMBs. Digital engagement is growing on all fronts web support, customer service, and e-Commerce and 65% of B2B marketers report that the “new” tactics are just as effective or more effective than legacy approaches.

Strong Implications for B2B Marketers

While the McKinsey results may seem obvious to some, the report carries strong implications for B2B marketing: 

  • Shifts in spending towards customers and away from prospects
  • Retention objectives to gain significant traction, especially among loyal customers
  • Revised loyalty designs among channel, sales force, and customer audiences
  • Expect an entirely new round of B2B loyalty programs with digital technologies and engagement mechanisms at the forefront.

The study was conducted at the end of April among 3,700 B2B decision makers in 11 countries. A summary of key results can be found here.

Mike Capizzi is the Dean of The Loyalty Academy and a Certified Loyalty Marketing Professional.