Why B2B Companies Need Marketing and PR More Than Ever

vertical marketingLet’s face it, the economy hasn’t been doing anyone any favors lately. With consumers grappling with rising prices, the instinct is to cut, cut, cut. But in the B2B space, cutting budgets—especially for services like marketing and public relations—can backfire quickly. A lot of things can happen when you “take a break” from marketing and PR. By trimming these programs from your budget, you are in essence saying two things to the media, analysts, prospects and customers in your market—neither of which is compelling:

  1. My business goals for the year are no longer important to reach
  2. I’m OK with other companies taking a leadership role in my market

Staying the course can be a difficult decision when a potential recession is looming, but there are plenty of reasons why you should. A lot can happen in just a few months, and it might be more expensive from both a monetary cost and an opportunity cost to reboot programs. If you are asked to make cuts, here are five things to keep in mind to make them less painful:

  1. Consider strategic, surgical cuts—not complete pauses—in your programs. For example, if you’ve found success with a Thought Leadership program, find ways to continue it, but perhaps on a smaller scale. Focus on the topics and the outlets that will give you the most bang for your buck with media, analysts AND customers. Don’t worry about what your competitors are doing—follow your own drumbeat.
  2. Keep your momentum up. Don’t get caught starting from scratch when things “get better.” Consider the cuts you have already made, such as live events. Many companies that cut back during COVID are still feeling the pain. The market is not standing still while you back away. By taking even a few months away from elevating your awareness, you might find many changes in the market that will force you to switch course and play catch up. Making those changes incrementally will look less like a market shift than an intentional strategic movement on your part.
  3. Don’t feel trapped into thinking you need to do everything yourself. Engage with your PR team now and empower them to develop and pitch new storylines, ideas and campaigns that don’t require much work on your end. That might mean giving them direct access to other subject matter experts inside the company to get ideas on trends, recent customer questions and topics that could be addressed. Your PR team also could be prepping for a launch that’s a few months away, building media lists focused on a new audience, or preparing ideas for end-of-year “predictions” articles, awards entries or speaking opportunities.
  4. Create more evergreen content. Evergreen content stands the test of time – it makes as much sense today as it did a few years ago. Analysts, journalists and marketers all refer to evergreen content when providing information about a particular industry or niche. A few examples of evergreen content include customer case studies, 101-type articles, how-to guides and original research. Even a good quote or two during an interview can become evergreen content. Calysto has had clients for which an executive quote was so insightful that a publication used it frequently to describe their particular market.
  5. Repurpose your content. Evergreen content also has breadth and depth, i.e., it can be used in different ways to communicate your key messages to a variety of audiences. Working with your PR team to break down a recent whitepaper or build up a recent blog can really help expand your content library quickly and is much more cost effective than starting a new series. Plus, it’s something your PR team can do without much direction from you. Be sure to engage with the sales team to deliver content that can help them move the needle with both top of funnel and bottom of funnel prospects.

Today’s down market won’t last forever, but the ramifications of pausing your PR and marketing program can have long-term negative effects. In other words, now is the time you need marketing and PR programs more than ever. Engage with your PR team to create strategies that will not negatively impact your awareness but will help determine what activities can be postponed or taken internally for a month or two. Doing so ensures you don’t lose any hard-fought momentum against your competitors.

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