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B2B marketing: 10 actions to take advantage of the next recession

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The recession is knocking on our doors. With 70% of GDP, the B2B sector will be the first to feel the effects. How can you use the upcoming recession as a growth lever? Investing at a time when all your competitors are giving up and leaving the field open to you. Thanks to a few simple actions between 2020 and 2022, we have increased our audience by 180%. If we have done it, you can do it too. We propose 10 concrete actions to implement during a crisis to increase your notoriety and take market share from your competitors.

If you only have 30 seconds

  • B2B represents 70% of the economy. The recession that is expected in the next 6 to 18 months will hit B2B first
  • In times of uncertainty, 80% of companies tend to stop investing in marketing
  • Companies’ margins will decrease due to inflation and rising wages. Most companies make the strategic mistake of reducing their marketing and communication efforts, which will leave the field open to those who do not fall into this trap.
  • A crisis like the one we are facing is a unique opportunity to increase your notoriety and to take market share from your competitors
  • 10 concrete action points to develop the credibility, reliability, and intimacy needed to capture the attention of new prospects and convert them into customers

Summary


A climate of uncertainty that leads to irrational decisions

Remember what happened in March 2020. The Covid crisis surprised everyone, and companies stopped all their investments. The advertising market was the first to suffer. The Covid crisis froze all “non-core” activities overnight. This is the hedgehog’s reaction, which curls up into a ball when faced with danger.

With the war in Ukraine, we are reliving this emotional reaction at an interval of 2 years. The shock has led to an immediate freeze of many investments, especially marketing. The fear of tomorrow and Putin’s threats create a veil of uncertainty that companies hate. And in a climate of uncertainty, the good old reflexes take over.


Why the coming recession is a unique business opportunity

War and inflation have provoked irrational reactions. Companies may say they want to continue investing and hiring, but activity will slow down. Moreover, companies’ margins will decrease because of inflation and wage increases. At the European level, the OECD expects a loss of growth of 1.5% due to the war in Ukraine.

Under these conditions, most companies will inevitably make 2 strategic mistakes:

  • stop investments considered as “non-essential,” such as marketing
  • exhausting their existing network to go after business opportunities that no longer exist

The new crisis awaits us is an opportunity for companies that will not fall into these traps.


3 factors that determine your business success

Whatever the context, 3 factors determine your commercial success:

  • Credibility
  • Reliability
  • Intimacy

This is the thesis developed by David Maister in his book The Trusted Advisor. The 10 actions we propose below will enable you to seize new business opportunities while your competitors are stunned.

 

Credibility: help your peers by analyzing the situation objectively

When all your competitors abandon the field, it’s THE time to occupy it and make yourself known.

Your competitors will probably refocus on their “core business.” Protecting their margins, eroded by inflation and pessimism, will become their priority.

Please take advantage of this to go hunting in the lands they have abandoned due to a lack of investment in their marketing. Occupy the “brain time” of your prospects eager for information on their market, anxious to understand what will happen to them. By providing visibility and anticipation, you will help them the most.

Action 1: Collect factual and quantitative information about your prospects’ market. Interview your candidates in particular. Please allow them to express their opinions and put them forward.

Action 2: Analyze this information objectively, identify trends and give advice

Action 3: synthesize this information in the form of a white paper, an infographic, or any other format that allows you to reach a large audience

Action 4: disseminate these results to the people you interviewed and to your network


The new people you reach now are your customers of tomorrow


Reliability: distribute your analyses at regular intervals

In a recession period, companies are cutting back on their communications spending and turning inward. In doing so, they no longer communicate beyond their first circle. Take advantage of this to increase your notoriety and expand your field of influence. The new people you will reach now are your customers of tomorrow. Here are 4 more actions to achieve this.

Action 5: add a “blog” section to your company’s website to share your analysis

Action 6: use LinkedIn to draw attention to your results and spread the word

Action 7: start a monthly newsletter. Add a subscription button directly on your website

Action 8: further increase your reach by distributing the same content via a newsletter on LinkedIn.


Intimacy: initiate relationships with new prospects

The last action consists of getting into your future customers’ intimacy by initiating a direct relationship with them. To create this relationship, there is nothing better than a webinar.

The webinar offers the audience a direct, live reading of your generated results. And most importantly, the webinar allows them to “see” the author of the analysis, ask questions and thus start a direct relationship.

Action 9: organize a webinar to present your results and explore them further

Action 10: once the webinar is over, send a personalized email to each participant to ask them what they thought of the webinar and what interests them

This last action, aimed at a specific individual, is essential because it will initiate the feeling of intimacy.


In conclusion

Although most companies remain confident for the next 12 months, the risks of recession are real in Europe. Crises generate a lot of anxiety and are also the cause of irrational decisions. Cutting marketing and communication expenses is one of them.

Far from being a problem, this strategic mistake is an opportunity for companies that know how to take advantage of their competitors’ mistakes. By focusing their communication efforts on gathering factual data and delivering objective analysis, salespeople have a huge opportunity. The chance to get the attention of confused prospects ready to attach themselves to any perspective to gain clarity. The 10 action points we propose allow you to develop a clear plan to capture these opportunities and initiate a new period of growth for your company.

 

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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