Let's forget the ravaging pandemic and all the negativity that surrounded your business last year.
What's the most valuable business lesson did you learn in 2021?
Well, most IT companies, big and small, now know that having a flexible marketing budget is much more essential than they thought.
Because they discovered that most of their current marketing strategies suck.
Okay, let's be honest of a sec…
Marketing for IT companies face a lot of problems including:
- Regurgitated, tasteless, and content
- Low adoption of automation and technology
- Impersonal ads and digital experiences
- Negative ROI
- Failure to keep up the buyer's changing pain points
- Low customer retention caused by a relentless pursuit for leads
Indeed, that's a whole lot of glitches right there, and the worst part is, very few IT businesses did anything worthwhile to sort these problems – until the pandemic came around.
Now, IT companies have no option but to review their marketing campaigns and, most importantly, devise ways to fix the hitches mentioned above – and that's what this post is all about.
We're taking a glance at what happened last year and evaluating what information technology companies need to do to change the status quo.
Before then, here are some quick takeaways:
- While the income and overall spending for most IT businesses declined during the pandemic, their marketing budget somehow remained the same.
In essence, this shows that brands in the information technology space are starting to understand the value of a well-thought-out, diverse marketing plan.
- IT brands are shifting from the traditional, usually unhealthy marketing strategies to enable them to adapt to the changing buyer behavior and expectations.
More specifically, organizations are abandoning the calendar-year budgets and plans in favor of short-term and more vibrant strategies.
- IT companies completely abandoned tactics that don't generate revenue.
- Business owners and executives must now focus on quality marketing methods and, most importantly, strategies that translate into a positive ROI.
- You can put your IT brand ahead of the curve by publishing high-quality content, interacting with your target customers, and sharing your content on multiple platforms.
That said, here's what you must do to ensure your business reaches new heights in 2021.
Keep Your Marketing Budget Intact
Indeed, 2020 was a challenging year for most businesses. Even so, that doesn't mean you should minimize your marketing budget.
Here are a couple of B2B marketing studies to help you make your budgeting decisions.
In April, just as the effects of the first round shutdowns were starting to kick in, one survey found out that 72 percent of B2B marketers were hoping to increase their budget, maintain the same expenditure or reduce it by a measly 20 percent for the rest of the year.
The research details reveal that marketers will cut their events budget and allocate the money to digital strategies such as content marketing, social media advertising, online events, and webinars.
August 2020 research by eMarketer anticipated that B2B ad spending would increase by up to 22.6 percent in 2021. This study's team attributes these changes to the shift toward content and online events that often require paid promotional platforms to reach the target audience.
Other studies that justify the spending behavior of IT companies toward marketing include LinkedIn-Edelman and Deloitte-Duke University.
According to LinkedIn-Edelman, business owners prefer allocating more funds to the following areas:
- Content marketing – 59 percent
- Virtual events and webinars – 52 percent
- Expertise based thought leadership – 55 percent
- Executive communications – 44 percent
Even then, it is essential to mention that businesses have to embark on more vigorous marketing campaigns to close sales, unlike before the pandemic.
On the other hand, Deloitte interviewed IT executives to find out their thoughts about marketing in 2020.
A whopping 62 percent said they need to do even more vibrant marketing this year. While the overall spending is likely to reduce this year, the execs say they will allocate more money to marketing this year.
With such stats, the question becomes...
Is Your Marketing Budget Big Enough To Outperform Your Competition In 2021?
The thing is...
Digital marketing for IT companies isn't the same as it was in 2008 during the last recession. Today, marketers have access to an assortment of tools and technology with an incredible ability, such as A. I and account-based marketing software.
In essence, this means that IT companies will respond differently to the pandemic induced recession than they did over two decades ago.
What Does This Mean For Your IT Brand?
Well, it implies that you stand a better chance to recover faster than you would have in 2008. There's a catch, though. The competition is much stiffer today. Brands are more vibrant in content marketing, events, and seeking attention on social media.
A Google report indicates that up to 45 percent of B2B brands adopted digital marketing strategies for the first time after the endemic.
So, make sure that the marketing budget is enough to counter the assault of content, social media, and events from your competition. That's the surest way to remain relevant in 2021.
There's Nothing Like The "New Normal" For IT Brands
You must have heard it. But, contrary to popular belief, there's no new normal regarding how IT companies are going to plan, budget, and market their brands.
The commotions caused by the pandemic didn't necessarily create new hurdles – they've only forced IT business owners and executives to find more profound ways of dealing with the existing problems.
Indeed, the IT marketing landscape has changed thanks to the easily-accessible digital tools considerably. On top of that, the buyer's expectations have changed. There's a very high chance that your product's buyer is young, grew up in the internet age, and expects tailored services.
Despite the changing buyer behavior and expectations, IT companies were still using the same old tactics to turn visitors into buyers until the pandemic.
We're talking about strategies such as:
- Gated content
- Creating regurgitated content for SEO
- Driving buyers into rigid persona boxes, etc.
The point is, you'll have a hard time trying to grow your IT brand if you're planning to continue using these tactics this year.
All is not lost, though. Here's what you can do to boost your marketing plan, budget, and strategy.
Shorten Your Planning Cycle
Be sure to have a flexible budget.
Why? Well, because your buyer's spending habits tend to change throughout the year. So, consider breaking your marketing budget into four-month while evaluating your ROI.
Focus On Your Customers' Changing Needs
Your marketing and budgeting plans should be in line with your target audience's dynamic needs.
We suggest you start moving away from product-driven messaging and leading generation. Instead, focus on customer retention.
Evaluate Your Last Year's Results
The reality of IT brands isn't the same as it was last year. The case is the same for your competitors and buyers. You can't compare your results with your competitors. You can't even copy their marketing strategies.
Evaluate your brand's unique proposition and customer's need to move your business to the next level.
How Your 2021 Marketing Playbook Should Look
As stated, you must review your marketing plans, budget, and tactics to recover from the pandemic induced recession.
That said, here's what any serious IT brand should prioritize in 2021:
- Come up with the goals and Key Performance Indicators
- Adopt hybrid events – live streams, phygital marketing, etc
- Expand your social media strategies
- Optimize your website for the best user experience
- Move away from lead generation to customer retention
- Boost your content integrity
- Adjust and adapt your PPC campaigns
- Focus on accessibility
- Give your buyers a human experience
- Optimize your website for mobile search
- Audit your martech
- Prioritize account-based marketing
- Improve your media and video strategy
The Bottom Line
We're all hoping for stability in 2021.
As things start to return to normal, you're better off preparing your IT business for growth. While you must change the way you market your brand, you must do so using the right strategies.
The recession caused by the pandemic is a wake-up call for IT businesses to start embracing digital transformation. That being the case, 2021 will be years for IT brands to follow new routines, set a new standard, and try to find a balance in multiple levels.
Again, all you can do is prepare for the new challenge by creating a flexible marketing budget and strategies.
Are you an IT business that wants to stay ahead of the curve in the post-pandemic era? GrowthGenerators has helped many businesses connect with their target audience and experience a positive ROI over the years.
We will help you develop a comprehensive inbound marketing plan and, most importantly, set you on a growth path once again.
We're about helping information technology brands make changes that can help them remain relevant in the ever-changing business environment.
Contact us today if you want help with your marketing plan and content, and we'll be happy to see what we can do.
June 16, 2021
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