“Easy” and “predictable” have never been accurate descriptors for businesses, especially those looking to grow. Unfortunately, as COVID-19 tears across the country and leaves gaping holes in the world economy, it is even harder and more chaotic to run a business than ever before.
With the future so uncertain — and with so many businesses shutting their doors for the next weeks and months — B2Bs need to start making decisions on how to focus their efforts to survive the pandemic and thrive afterwards. Here are a few suggestions to help B2Bs devote their resources during this exceedingly unpredictable time.
Invest in Marketing
The last thing any business wants to happen during this pandemic is for the brand they have diligently built to be forgotten. Eventually, this crisis will end, the world will normalize, and business leaders should work to maintain visibility and relevancy amongst their audience. While it might be wise to temporarily reduce budgets elsewhere, business leaders should at least maintain if not increase the money they spend on marketing — specifically, digital marketing.
Because circumstances are changing so fast, and because the future is so uncertain in these days of COVID-19, it is imperative that business marketers move fast to produce content that matters to their audience right now. Business leaders should lean on B2B content marketing services with the ability to develop strategies and create content quickly. However, it is equally important that marketers keep one eye on the distant future, when business will be back to normal (or the new normal).
While B2Cs need to pay attention to consumer sentiment, B2Bs need to be able to address business behavior, responding to emerging fears with clarity and compassion and remaining cognizant of operational changes that might require shifts in services. Content is king, but digital marketing tactics like SEO, email marketing, PPC ads and more will continue to be valuable throughout the pandemic.
Invest in Security
Unfortunately, crisis always cause the crooks to come out, and it seems that this one is no different. When people panic, they reach for any information and tools they can find that offers any kind of solace — and cyber-criminals can exploit that desperation for their own benefit. Malicious hackers are having a field day, producing fraudulent information about the disease that draws people in and infects their machines with malware; corrupt websites, emails, social media messages and more are laced with dangerous content that encourages the spread of digital viruses perhaps as dangerous as the real one.
Not only are cyber-criminals utilizing the confusion surrounding COVID-19 to their advantage, but they are also preying on businesses that by necessity are working remotely, from home. Home networks are notoriously less secure than business networks simply because few consumers have the knowledge to protect their personal systems — and because consumers are rarely prime targets for more intensive cyber attacks. However, because so much business is being done from home, attacks on home networks are likely to increase, and businesses need to be prepared.
B2Bs would do well to offer enhanced home security to all employees working remotely as well as security training to help employees better protect their home networks and devices. Home security services are effective at eliminating common vulnerabilities in home systems, and security education will help employees identify and avoid threats lurking online. Enhanced security is essential for as long as a business’s workers are remote, and it might be a valuable perk to offer even after the pandemic has passed.
It’s anyone’s guess which business strategy is most effective during this time of chaos and uncertainty, but regardless of what the world looks like next year — or even next week — businesses need to protect themselves. By investing in marketing and security, B2Bs will be able to hold steady during the worst of the crisis, at the very least, and at best, B2Bs will be able to build their brand and continue to operate safely regardless of what the future holds.