We invited Saber Sherrard and Johnny Hansen from Bain & Company to share findings from research they did, in partnership with Twitter, about how COVID forever changed B2B marketing. They surveyed over 100 B2B marketers and around 250 B2B buyers. During June 2020 to April 2021 they sent out three surveys to provide a longitudinal view of COVID’s impact on B2B marketing. The research effort aimed to better understand what drives B2B decision making, how aligned marketers and sales were with what matters most to buyers, and they wanted to know how marketers responded and performed during the pandemic.
There are two takeaways from their research:
Expectations have never been higher for marketers, and there is an increase in sales targets. Of the survey respondents, 90% said they relied on marketing-driven awareness and lead generation to hit sales targets. Marketers are also facing pressure from buyers. Buyer sophistication continues to increase. As a result, there are higher expectations for marketers with fewer resources. Most firms lowered the budget for marketing during covid. Though some funding has come back, it is not to its level before the covid pandemic.
Johnny Hansen shared some insights on the differences between good and bad marketers during the pandemic. He first established a definition of a good marketer, and called them ‘winning marketers.’ The way they defined ‘winning marketers’ was outcome based by whether or not their companies were growing in revenue.
Here are some of the highlights of how a winning marketer did things better during the pandemic. One key point here is that by the end of the research time period in this study (April 2021) almost all the marketers surveyed were doing these winning marketing strategies, the difference was winning marketers did them at the beginning of the pandemic too.
The next natural question is, did these marketers actually win during the pandemic? Yes. In both brand awareness measurement and quality lead generation they experienced an increase.
Covid caused a dramatic impact and those changes are here to stay. Winning marketers established a playbook for success over covid and they are applying those learnings to the future to win even more. Here are the top learnings going forward that Saber and Johnny shared in this presentation.
Winning marketers used customers as their compass to develop the right response in a time of crisis.
Winning marketers moved faster and were more decisive, even in the face of uncertainty.
Winning marketers used focused priorities to protect budgets and outperform through the crisis.
Winning marketers deepened their collaboration with commercial functions, especially the sales team.
You can check out the entire presentation below if you'd like to learn about everything they found.