Back in March, while our clients were focussing on what lockdown meant for their businesses, our first job was to draft COVID-19 statements for their websites, reassuring their customers and informing them about changes that were being made and what the impact would be on service and production levels.
Although our clients are all industrial businesses, thus sharing common ground in manufacturing and engineering, during lockdown they’ve faced very different challenges. Overcoming these have been through 1 of 5 different approaches.
Here are some of our shared experiences.
Increased agility and innovation
When a major change happens, that is out of your control but has an impact on your business, you quickly have to assess what direction you need to take. Look at what’s great about your business and see if there are any opportunities to get you over the hump in the road.
This is what OGM, one of our longstanding clients did. OGM are plastic injection moulders with two sites in the UK:
- one in Oxfordshire, where much of the client consultancy, design work and specialised moulding takes shape
- another in South Wales where the high-volume production happens.
OGM quickly spotted that some of its volume automotive business would be affected by COVID-19 so the team focussed on what they do well for their customers and applied it to their own business. OGM is an innovator that solves problems – and can spot an opportunity a mile off. That opportunity came in the shape of TouchSafe, a hand-held tool to help consumers or employees stay protected while out of their homes.
To overcome its challenge, OGM looked at the positives – its skilled design team, volume production capability, experienced management team, expertise in medical devices and a marketing partner who was prepared to put in as many hours as their in-house team. OGM brought a new product to market in 6 weeks and we helped them launch and sell it to a new audience by doing what we do best:
Read how we helped them here.
Keep calm and carry on
Some of our clients have been so busy through lockdown that it’s been a case of keep calm and carry on for them and us, as their outsourced marketing agency offering full marketing services.
Our PR team has been managing the UK press office for a global provider of PPE equipment. Since January, we’ve handled a number of enquiries from international and national broadcast and print media seeking information on production and availability of PPE, especially in relations to healthcare workers.
We also have some clients in utilities who, as designated keyworkers, have been exceptionally busy, particularly in the water industry. Our job has been to create engaging content that shows:
- how they are helping their customers overcome problems
- their cutting-edge capabilities through PR and social media
- industry leadership.
Key challenges during lockdown for these clients have been:
- maintaining production levels
- dealing with an increase in business enquiries while servicing existing customers.
And at the same time, they have had to manage maintenance visits and deal with major changes in working practices, with social distancing and remote working.
When our clients are so busy, it’s important that they can trust us to get on with their marketing while they focus on operations. Our experience of each client’s market and business has enabled us to continue to improve their visibility and contribute to their future sales pipeline.
Back to B2B marketing basics
Lockdown has also created an opportunity to spend time on finetuning the basics.
We’ve been doing in-depth fit checks on our clients’ websites including technical digital audits. As the online environment took a big hit due to both a new Google algorithm change earlier in the year and COVID-19, we wanted to go back to basics and focus on what made our clients successful in the first place but with a more humanised approach. Even with the smallest of changes, we noticed a positive impact on website and social performance.
Lockdown has provided an opportunity to clear out the cupboard, keep what’s valuable, reassess what’s important and ensure everything is optimised for when it’s business as usual.
That seems to have been the case for in-house marketeers too. We’ve noticed that most of our new business enquiries during lockdown have been from businesses looking to target high value, long lead-time audiences in a more personalised approach.
That’s where we’ve suggested a well-designed ABM strategy. Whether there is an internal resource or not, this strategy can support key prospect outreach. If you’d like to know more about ABM check out our free white paper.
Foresight and vision
Just prior to the pandemic, we had provided creative and video content ideas for InfinityQS to support its global partner acquisition campaign. One of these was an animated video to appeal to the needs of our client’s first of three target partner audiences – manufacturing consultants. Thankfully our client loved it because it meant we were able to continue with the second stage of the campaign during lockdown, targeting automation and control specialists. InfinityQS has signed 6 new Partners so far in key territories and has significantly reduced the conversion lead-time from prospect to signed partner. We will soon be starting a third video for IT services companies.
We’re now developing a partner portal on the microsite so new partners of InfinityQS can download information to help them sell Enact®, a cloud-based Quality Intelligence platform, to manufacturers.
Focus on what makes you great
Many companies are now considering both the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit on their future export opportunities. Where in-house marketing teams may be depleted or focussed on dealing with the fallout caused by the pandemic in the UK you might need extra resource from a B2B digital marketing and PR specialist that knows your market – check out a couple of case studies where we’ve helped build awareness with audiences in global markets – Pryor and Ewellix case studies.
What we’ve learnt in lockdown:
- Being thrown in at the deep end can be scary but, after the initial shock, by remaining agile and flexible, you can come out stronger, more focussed and with a fighting spirit
- It’s been a time to invest in existing, loyal customers by offering value and support in whatever type of challenge they’ve faced
- There’s always a solution to an unforeseen problem – marketing saviours have been animation video, webinars, social media and virtual meetings.
- Getting back to basics is good – clear out the cupboard and keep what’s valuable
- Partnering and sharing knowledge is mutually beneficial – we’ve been able to put some of our clients in touch with each other which has led to direct sales, we’ve also received lots of calls from people with innovative ideas for our clients that could lead to new opportunities.
So, to sum up our role in lockdown, we’ve been firefighters, head-scratchers, go-getters, jugglers and so flexible some of us are thinking of becoming contortionists.
Contact us to find out more