As B2B food ingredient marketers, we’re keeping a close eye on food businesses in the United States as they begin to reopen their doors, and tracking the effects of the pandemic to continue offering you valuable insights. One such business, Kraft Heinz, recently announced it has “significantly reduced production” of restaurant supplies, instead moving those resources to support the increased demand for packaged food. Similarly, marketing teams within the food industry will need to adapt their own processes and workflows in the coming months to better respond to shifting market conditions. These changes can be felt all over the industry, with events being postponed, cancelled or moving to online-only. In response, businesses are reducing trade show spending or opting to send only essential personnel. With less resources devoted to face-to-face events and interaction, it may be an ideal time to reevaluate where your marketing dollars are spent and reallocate them as needed.
As you begin to make changes to your budget, consider an evaluation of your marketing communications. Take a look at each touchpoint that informs customers about your brand: your website, product samples (and packaging), collateral, social channels, email communications, etc. Especially now, when you may be unable to interact with potential customers in person, it’s more important than ever that all your marketing content is as strong as it can be, and that each interaction you do have with a customer is a positive one.
In determining how effective your materials are, ask yourself how well these items are telling the story of your company. Are they communicating the vision you want potential clients to see? The price of ill-performing marketing content may mean missed opportunities to engage with your customers, so it’s important to tweak each of these items until they’re at their very best. Take your website, for example. At least 38% of people say they will leave a company’s website if its content and design are bad, and 75% say they judge a company’s credibility based on these same factors. After all, these items are telling your customers much more about your brand than you think, from the quality of your products, to your company’s attention to detail.
Larger brands often have many different types of marketing assets, and it can be a little overwhelming to tackle all these at once. Our advice? Take it slow. Step back and develop a strategy based on which of your brand elements need the most attention. If you have analytics available to you, take a deep dive and see what they tell you. Or speak to your team members to see which items are used most often. You may find that your website has a decent traffic rate, but that visitors drop off too quickly. Experts predict that even after the threat of COVID-19 is gone, many of the methods businesses are adopting to prevent the spread of the disease – things like digital meetings and virtual events – may become the new norm. This means that any work you do now to improve your communications will only serve to set you up for success later.
When it comes to the many ways you connect with customers in writing – things like chat, emails or text messages – even everyday communications should be a reflection of your brand. Train members of your sales team to get into the habit of double- or triple-checking written messages before they send them out. When you make a mistake in writing, customers notice. And while reviewing each communication, whether it’s a simple email greeting or a detailed product brochure, ask yourself if you’re striking the right balance of tone, information and length. An email that’s too short can come across as uncaring or curt. Conversely, a long email may be better suited as a video call. This may require more planning on your part, but it will leave a better impression with your customers.
When you really examine each of your communication pieces critically, you may find that your current tools or processes aren’t serving your business as well as you thought. If so, don’t be afraid to try a new customer relationship management program or redesign parts of your website until they do. The coronavirus has changed how many companies and their customers communicate. Be flexible and adaptable with these changes. It’s smart to reexamine your marketing materials now so that you are able to meet your customers where they are, and continue to give them what they want.
How has your company adapted to doing business during a pandemic? What are your predictions for how the coronavirus will continue to influence B2B marketers in the future? Let us know in the comments!