Image Source: Edelman and LinkedIn
A report recently published by Edelman and LinkedIn provides a useful update on COVID-19's impact on B2B marketing and customer engagement. The report was based on a survey of 394 U.S.-based B2B executives in customer-facing business functions, including marketing, sales, business development, and communications. Survey respondents represented a wide range of industries and company sizes.
This survey was fielded in June, which means that responses were obtained after the initial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic had subsided and some early signs of economic recovery had appeared. So, the results should reflect a more balanced view of business conditions than surveys conducted in March or April, at the height of the economic lockdowns.
Not surprisingly, the Edelman/LinkedIn survey found that COVID-19 was impacting customer buying behaviors in several ways.
- Seventy-two percent of the survey respondents said their customers were focused on conserving cash and weren't interested in buying non-essentials.
- Sixty-one percent said most customers were interested in purchasing familiar products with proven reliability rather than new or more innovative products.
- Seventy-three percent said customers were interested in buying, but were slower to evaluate and commit to specific purchases.
- Eighty-four percent of the respondents said they needed to strengthen their position as a trusted thought leader who could help customers solve immediate problems.
- Seventy-two percent believe it's important to increase their communications with customers about their expertise in helping customers protect or grow sales.
- Sixty-two percent believe it's important to improve their understanding of their customers' customers through new or intensified research or data gathering.
- Forty-six percent of the respondents said that marketing spending was being closely evaluated for its direct impact on sales.
- Fifty-five percent said they were shifting their marketing efforts to focus on existing product or service offerings with immediate appeal, while only 45% said they were focusing on developing new products or services.