B2B Building Industry and Media Consumption During COVID-19 Disruption
As the world at large is thrust into a new way of living and a new way of thinking as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. construction market is undergoing an inevitable shift in its delivery and consumption of B2B communications in order to stay connected and informed. As with almost all industries at this time, a changing business environment (that includes a remote workforce and few, if any, face-to-face interactions) has spurred a rise in the need and desire for digital content. Whether turning to the digital pages of trusted industry sources, social media platforms or webinars, it has become clear that building industry professionals have transitioned to online resources for information and as a means to reach their own customers during this difficult time.
According to a recent McKinsey & Company survey, “Looking forward, B2B companies see digital interactions as two to three times more important to their customers than traditional sales interactions.” This means that to stay relevant companies are putting more of their marketing dollars into digital channels, virtually going to the space where industry customers are increasingly spending their time and energy.
Digital Media Consumption Trends
B2B advertising trends point to a significant increase in digital traffic, with coronavirus-related content spiking as well. This includes an increase in frequency of COVID-related coverage from trusted sources aimed at the construction industry, with building professionals seeking to understand the fast-changing situations they now face during this emergency.
Everyone is looking for solutions to how their business can best survive during these challenging times. Whether it’s checking in with industry organizations for the latest news and forecasts, or turning to digital advertising platforms of trusted publications or individual firms, the common denominator is staying engaged with useful, reliable content…which for now, increasingly lives online in formats such as digital advertising, blog posts, resource centers, social media posts, data summaries, podcasts, webinars and virtual conferences.
As building industry professionals increasingly turn their attention to the digital space for their news and other content, it is incumbent upon brand leaders to understand this shift so their messaging will both reach and resonate with customers. According to a recent Marketers post, most brand leaders have, in fact, adjusted their creative messaging since mid-March and have found that ad messages addressing the pandemic are resonating with customers. Increasingly, too, as live events are put on hold or cancelled, webinars and other virtual conferencing tools are being employed. Video content is another avenue surging. For example, as Marketers reports, a survey conducted by Influence Central found that “more than half of the influencers surveyed say they plan to create and post more video content…[and] influencers are seeing a 36% increase in engagement on both Instagram and Facebook since the outbreak.”
To these points, Aggregage, Inc., the publisher of B2B Marketing Zone, in conjunction with Webbiquity LLC, a digital marketing consultancy, conducted a survey about the impact of COVID-19 on 2020 B2B marketing plans. Their findings support the shift from live events to more digital content marketing and social media for lead generation. The survey found that the top spending categories for companies planning to reallocate live event budgets are “content creation, hosted and sponsored webinars, social media marketing, search engine optimization and industry vertical lead generation programs.”
A recent Forbes article confirms that the key to business resilience as face-to-face business channels all but disappear is “the development of ongoing contingencies to mitigate against this loss.” The Forbes piece quotes Scott Jones, CEO of 123 Internet Group, who says, “We are in uncertain times but, with the increase of remote working and a collaborative approach, companies are turning to digital channels and embracing the transformation. We have seen a real spike during the last few weeks from companies wishing to create or update websites, launch new e-commerce channels and create social media campaigns focused on home-workers, and a real focus on using influencers and SEO to reach new audiences.”
As the construction industry adjusts and transitions to a new “virtual reality,” it’s clear that digital marketing is a great way to stay connected with existing customers and build new relationships. Implementing best practices to mitigate business impact, for example, through digital advertising, video content, online learning, podcasts, webinars, videoconferencing and social media posts are all ways to ensure relevancy with a customer base that is logging on all day long to stay informed so, as an industry, we can keep moving forward.