Remote – not removed: how to engage a wfh audience
The end is in sight for what has been a long, hard year, thanks to the increasing number of vaccines on the horizon. Still, 2020 brought about a massive change in the way we work and these changes will endure long after the pandemic ends.
Our sudden switch to working from home will impact everything, including the way businesses market themselves. And remote working will become the norm for many. Nearly nine out of ten workers want to be able to choose whether to work remotely or from the office once COVID-19 restrictions ease.
Subsequently, marketers must adapt their strategies and messaging to compensate for this in both the near and long-term.
People’s daily commute used to reinforce clear boundaries between the work day versus family and social times. It also gave marketers a general idea of where their audience was, and what they were doing, during the workweek. Now, with so many people working from home, those routines are upended and the lines between work and personal time have blurred.
Engaging with audiences during this time will be more challenging. There are more pulls on people’s attention, from maintaining a work/life balance to managing homeschooling. Communications, more than ever, need to be relevant and useful. Timings should also be considered – if people are both simultaneously at work and home, how does this impact your strategy?
It’s also worth looking at digital channels as more than three quarters of B2B buyers now say that they prefer digital interactions over face-to-face, and only 20% hope to return to in-person sales. Digital adoption was accelerated by five years in just eight weeks. Safety may be one driver behind this. The ease and speed of getting information and placing orders has also been enjoyed by customers. The rise of ecommerce for personal purchasing decisions may also be influencing the openness towards digital B2B sales.
The new marketing mix
The marketing mix will also shift, both during the pandemic and afterwards; 2020 global ad spend fell by 10.2% to $557.3 billion compared to 2019. Many companies switched to using Zoom and webinars to engage audiences. Ecommerce and video conferencing now account for 43% of all B2B revenue. This strategy will need to be reassessed as vaccines become widespread and the world shifts towards recovery. There will likely be a lot of flux over the coming months and marketing tactics will have to pivot quickly in response.
In response to the global lockdown, Ethical Corporation (a division of Reuters Events) ran a webinar in May 2020 looking at the impact of COVID-19 on environmental and social governance. Typically, industry webinars attract 400-800 registrants. However, the timeliness and format of the webinar led to 2,950 registrants for this event.
The power of words
The language used in marketing messages at this time is vital, as audiences feel increasingly isolated, concerned, and stressed. 64% of marketers see languages as more important than ever in their communications now. Consequently, 71% expect to pay more attention to the language used in their future marketing efforts.
Craft beer company BrewDog took a proactive approach in the pandemic by making Punk Sanitiser for frontline workers. It was widely lauded for this stance and, to maintain brand awareness while bars are closed, it regularly updates its audiences on social media on its efforts.
Like all marketing strategies, the approach you take during the WFH era will be unique to your business. Be prepared to change many aspects of your marketing plan to reflect our new world. The way we work, socialise, and engage with businesses will never be the same – your marketing won’t either.
To discuss how your marketing plans can be supported by the Henley Group, get in touch with our team today: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Henley Group is a B2B communciations agency, based in Henley-on-Thames, UK. We specialise in public relations, content marketing, corporate communications and strategic consulting for clients in the UK and overseas. We advise, plan, produce and deliver engaging communication programmes for clients across a range of B2B sectors.