Coronavirus outbreak makes B2B turning to digital marketing

For example, a lot of people expressed great disappointment over the last-minute cancellation of Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2020 in the wake of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The world largest cellular trade fair would have been the major industry event in which lot of company were planning to participate. Months of preparation and tens of thousands of dollars were lost as the Coronavirus panic led to the last-minute cancellation decision.

This is not 2008

We can still remember what happened during the financial crisis of 2008. Then most business-to-business (B2B) companies decided to play it safe and cut their marketing budgets.

Therefore, we were happy to hear that lot of companys has already adopted a new strategy. That means that they shift the funds allocated to participation in exhibitions/fairs/… to double the investment in online marketing.

On reflection, such a move makes perfect sense.

Add to this the fact that a growing number of organizations are these days minimizing all face-to-face meetings. Inevitable result is that they must change their digital strategy and turn it into their key source of lead generation.

Large organizations, such as the World Ban and International Monetary Fund have already announced that they drop all face-to-face meeting. Companies on the private sector are will follow.

Considering that companies allocate the largest chunk of their budgets to trade shows. Even a moderate change in preferences is likely to translate into higher investment in web marketing.

Billions of dollars lost

Figures published by data intelligence company PredictHQ indicate that in February alone, concerns about the coronavirus led to a 500% surge in cancellations and postponements of significant events.

The company said that more than 225 events ranked high impact were cancelled last month and the number of events canceled in March is expected to be significantly higher. The total cost of cancelations is estimated at billions of dollars.

Research conducted in 2018 by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research indicated that B2B marketers who participate in industry events allocated nearly 40 percent of their budgets to exhibitions and industry shows, almost five times more than the 8% spent on online marketing.

Even if only a small fraction of the events’ budgets shifts to online marketing, it would translate into a massive growth in web marketing.

Good thing for Online marketing

The major advantage of digital marketing, besides the fact that it does not require face-to-face interaction, is that it is measurable. Marketers can quite easily obtain a good picture of their spending return on investment (ROI). And…of which activities generate the highest number of quality leads and at what expense.

Assuming that many marketers will have some extra free time, especially those who will have to go into home isolation, they are advised to use it to review their online marketing strategy. Also, use it to redefine their marketing messages.

Marketing strategy – review it!

Marketing executives often complain that they have no time to update their websites because of their work overload. Well, this is exactly the time to revisit the corporate site. Make sure that your present your company well.

This is also the time to reset goals for your marketing campaigns. It is also time to take an in-depth look into the performance of past efforts. A close look will for sure indicate that there is real need to refresh much of the marketing materials produced in the past.

This is a great opportunity to fine-tune the following features of your company’s visibility and promotion strategy:

Website content – Ensure that it contains the right marketing messages with the right call for action.

SEO – Check your current website organic search rankings. Optimizing them for search engines to improve the quality and quantity of your web traffic.

Content marketing – Use this opportunity to generate ideas for new blog posts. Start writing the next newsletter for your customers.

Press releases and articles – Think of topics you can inform the media and your clients about and writing professional articles.

Marketing materials – Prepare presentations, brochures and other marketing materials.

Social media engagement – Strategize how you can improve social media engagement and writing new case studies, white papers and professional articles. Increasing the number of webinars you hold

Video – Draft the storyline for your next video

Strengthening your focus on web marketing will enable you to maintain normality in these crazy days. Also, it will give you a competitive edge over competitors who are slow to react.

Hopefully, the whole crisis will end soon, but no matter how long it takes strengthening you online marketing efforts will minimize the risk and improve your overall position.

digital marketing

Chief marketing officers plan to spend more on digital marketing in 2020

Chief marketing officers expect to spend on organic search, content marketing and email marketing, according to Chief Outsiders‘ “Market Trends 2020” report. Plus, marketers say tariffs and the ongoing U.S./China trade war will only have a negligible or a slightly negative impact on company goals.
Spending on digital marketing is expected to increase for 80% of chief marketing officers. Chief Outsiders is strategic marketing and management consulting firm specializing in executive insights.

The February 2020 report

The February 2020 report surveyed more than 50 chief marketing officers Chief Outsiders works with. All of them had experience with Fortune 500 companies and are now working at mid-sized businesses.

Marketers said they will prioritize their digital marketing spend on organic search, content marketing and email marketing, according to the report.

CMOs say organic search, content and email marketing will be prioritized for digital spending!
What are your spending priorities across these digital marketing channels? (Rank-ordered where higher figures represent a higher priority)

Source: Chief Outsiders, “Market Trends 2020” report

E-mail marketing?

Dollars allocated to email marketing specifically is a familiar trend. February 2020 survey of 105 online retailers by Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights stated the importance executives and advertisers place on email marketing as a method of reaching shoppers. 82% of retailers are saying that email marketing was in the two top most important strategies for improving conversion rate.

When it comes to what kind of emails are successful for brands, personalization is key, says Deana Thornton. She is director of commerce marketing for marketing automation and email marketing provider Mailchimp.

“Email marketing continues to be a consistent, driving force in conversion due to the low barrier to entry and high return on investment,” Thornton says. “With an average ROI of $52 for every dollar spent, email marketing allows any retail business to drive visibility of their brand and build customer loyalty with a one-to-one conversation.”

The Chief Outsiders study also found that “growth-minded” CEOs are using new technology. They try to innovate and begin to outsource marketing in an attempt to beat economic headwinds. This is one of the most important takeaways of their findings, says Pete Hayes, chief marketing officer and principal of Chief Outsiders.

“Marketing is not just about solving customer engagement problems anymore, but it’s about overall company growth,” Hayes says. “And for private equity, one of the biggest challenges—even bigger than a recession—will be finding growth-minded executives focused on strategy.”

CMOs plan to innovate and use new technology to beat any economic headwinds
What are growth-minded CEOs doing to beat economic headwinds? (Rank-ordered where higher figures represent a higher priority)

Source: Chief Outsiders, “Market Trends 2020” report

Deploying digital marketing strategies

According to Chief Outsiders, some of the greatest challenges chief marketing officers are facing when it comes to deploying digital marketing strategies include following. Technical knowledge of in-house teams, resource constraints in implementation and organizational inertia, which Chief Outsiders describes as “changing the way things have always been done.”

Resource constraints and organizational inertia marked as top challenges for digital marketing!
The greatest challenges to deploying digital marketing strategies in client companies are (rank):

Source: Chief Outsiders, “Market Trends 2020” report


The survey also found that chief marketing officers believe advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) will help them target and segment customers. Also, AI could assist them in the qualification and prioritization of new leads.

CMOs say AI will affect their marketing campaigns by helping them qualify/prioritize leads and assist in customer targeting!
What is the most important way AI (predictive analysis) will affect your marketing campaigns?

Source: Chief Outsiders, “Market Trends 2020” report

AI and automation are helpful when it comes to digital marketing. Reason? These tools can increase conversion rates, Thornton says.

“Automating marketing campaigns or messages based on factors like behavior, demographics and interests increases brand exposure and drives sales while decreasing the time business owners have to spend managing marketing,” Thornton says.

Automations specifically have helped marketers increase their average monthly revenue, according to Thornton.

Finally, the Chief Outsiders survey found that chief marketing officers were not worried about the impact of tariffs and the ongoing trade war between the United States and China. Most respondents are saying that any effects would be negligible.

Holiday marketing

Holiday marketing – gain an advantage over the competition!

Social media is kicking a** right now! It is more noisy & competitive than ever! The holidays offer a perfect opportunity to step up and gain an advantage over competition.

It Is all about people’s emotions! During the holidays users are actively engaged with a combination of excitement and nostalgia. If you can exploit this, then you can often multiply the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

Most people doesn’t take serious holiday marketing. Most of them will just make some clip art, offer a small promo discount, post it to Facebook, and that would be it. Afterwards, they’ll wonder why they didn’t get much results.

What is the key to success?

The key is to interact with your target audience on an emotional level and get your message in front of enough people. This will typically also require some amount of paid ads.

The beauty is that there are so many holidays that you have a year-long stream of opportunities. Some holidays may be better suited for certain industries, but creative marketers in any industry should be able to leverage just about any holiday.

We will outline several tactics you can use in your own social media marketing for the holidays, along with a number of specific examples of some of the content you might consider creating.

Remember, these examples aren’t meant as a blueprint, but more of a spark to get your creativity flowing so you can come up with specific holiday-themed content that’s relevant to your business.

Refresh your profile with a festive atmosphere

This is the first and most obvious component of social media marketing for the holidays and it takes the least effort.

Simply update your cover photo and profile picture to reflect the holiday.

For your cover photo, this might mean replacing your normal photo with one of your staff wearing Halloween costumes in front of your building or maybe throwing candy from a Christmas float. Or you might just use a holiday-themed graphic.

How you handle your profile picture might depend on whether it’s a headshot or a logo.

For example, if we’re talking about a headshot, you might put on a Santa hat or reindeer antlers. If we’re talking about a logo you might superimpose falling snow over your logo or drop some candy canes or holly in the corner of the image.

On some platforms, you might even use holiday-themed background colors in some of your posts leading up to a holiday. You could even include holiday-themed static images or animated GIFs in your posts.

Be Like Santa Claus

Holiday marketing

Everyone loves getting gifts. Well, maybe except for those people with warrants who got lured into an arrest by police under the guise of a free prize. But pretty much everyone else does.

This can make gift-giving a powerful way to generate exposure through social media. Some holidays may be better suited for this, such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

But it can work for most holidays. And the beauty of this approach is that it’s exactly the kind of thing that can get a lot of people talking about it and your company on social media.

Now when we talk about giving a gift, it’s important to point out that it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive, but it does need to have some real value.

We’ll give you an example of what not to do.

We worked with a photographer several years ago who sent us a Christmas “gift” that consisted of a cheap Christmas card with a note handwritten on the inside that said: “I wanted to thank you for being a customer. As a Christmas gift to you, I’d like to offer you a 10% discount on any new photography projects between now and the end of the year.”

That’s not a gift.

It’s a promotion. And not a very impressive one at that.

If you’re going to give a gift, give an actual gift with no strings attached. And that gift should be of sufficient value, relative to the price point of your products or services, but it doesn’t need to be related to your business.

For example, you might send out a fancy box of Christmas chocolates to their top customers. In a tight-knit and tech-savvy industry like ours, many of the recipients of a gift like this would immediately hop on social media to post about their amazing gift, and they would usually tag the company that sent it.

Some may and some won’t, but you should never ask anyone to post about their gift because that will make the gift seem insincere. They’ll probably question your motives in giving it to them, and may even question how much you really value them as a customer.

The keys to giving the kind of gifts that are more likely to get people talking on social media are to:

  • Give something of sufficient value. (When in doubt, more is better.)
  • If possible, tailor the gift to their personality and interests.
  • Don’t ask them to post about it on social media. Not even subtly.

Holiday-Themed Content

Holiday marketing

There are a virtually unlimited number of topics you can come up with to help promote your business around a particular holiday.

There are two paths you can take here:

  • Publish long-form content on your blog and then share it on social media.
  • Publish short-form content only on social media.

So what kind of content is going to get people talking and encourage them to share it?

Long-Form Content

While this content probably won’t drive traffic from an organic search perspective in the short term, it can start to drive traffic from a social perspective immediately.

This is because it’s exactly the type of content people are likely to share while a particular holiday is at the front of their mind.


  • The best horror movies. You could further refine this by creating a separate post for the scariest, funniest, or kid-friendly horror movies.
  • A comprehensive list of local Halloween events.
  • The origin of various Halloween traditions.
  • Halloween decorating ideas.
  • Top horror movie villains.
  • A list of Halloween treats for kids with food sensitivities.
  • Scary short stories from local authors.


  • The best Christmas movies. You could further refine this by creating a separate post for kids, teen, and general Christmas movies.
  • A list of gift ideas for a particular type of person (digital marketers, journalists, construction workers, Marines, etc.)
  • Stories shared from people about their worst or best Christmas memories.
  • A comprehensive list of local Christmas events.
  • The origin of various Christmas traditions.
  • Christmas decorating ideas.
  • A list of bargain, luxury, or gag Christmas gifts.

Valentine’s Day

  • The best (or worst) Valentine or romantic movies.
  • A list of gift ideas based on how long you’ve been in a relationship.
  • Stories shared from people about their worst or best Valentine’s Day.
  • A list of local romantic restaurants.
  • A list of bargain, luxury, or gag Valentine gifts.

Short-Form Content

Polls, questions, and funny memes rule here. The idea is to generate quick engagement in the form of comments and shares.

This is a starting point, but to get significant traction, you’ll need to find a way to connect holiday-themed topics to your business and/or industry.


  • A poll of the best (or worst) horror villains.
  • Ask people to share their scariest Halloween experience.
  • A poll of the best (or worst) candies.
  • Ask people to comment on the plot holes in popular horror movies.
  • A poll on trick or treating vs going to a Halloween party.


  • A poll of the best (or worst) Christmas movies. Bonus points if you can get people debating whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie or an action movie.
  • Ask people to explain their theory of the science behind how Santa travels around the world, flies, carries all those toys, and gets in and out of homes undetected.
  • A poll of people’s favorite Christmas food.
  • Ask people to comment on the best or worst gift they’ve received or given.
  • Ask people to share their best Christmas memory.

Valentine’s Day

  • A poll of the best (or worst) romantic movies.
  • Ask people to comment on the best or worst gift they’ve received or given.
  • Ask people to share their best Valentine memory.
  • A poll on who they “love” most in your industry or what they love about your industry.
  • Ask people to share how they fell in love or how they knew their partner was “the one.”

Note: In cases where there are multiple options, each option should be its own post.

Create a Holiday-Inspired Hashtag

Hashtags can be a great way to get a lot of people talking about a particular topic while making it easy for everyone to find those conversations. All it takes, in some cases, is for a few people to use a particular hashtag in order for it to take off. The key is to make it powerful, funny, or timely, or ideally, a combination of those elements. Some ideas might include:





Valentine’s Day


Important note: Avoid tying politics in with your hashtags because that can go south really fast. It’s equally important to make sure the hashtag you want to use isn’t already in use. The baked goods company, Entenmanns, learned this the hard way when they jumped on the #NotGuilty hashtag a few years ago.