A recent workspace trends report, based on a study of more than 300 company leaders in 18 major sectors, made four key predictions about the workspaces of the future. The top prediction is that hybrid working will become the norm and technology will play a greater role for boosting employee performance.
Many of us have seen our own organisations make decisions aligned to this mega-trend for reasons of business continuity, cost reduction, improved agility and more.
Is this good news, or disruptive? Will it stimulate people to become more productive, creative, and deliver better results? Or will it just result in things taking ten times as long because collaboration is harder when you are remote?
The answer, of course, is there will be a bit of both.
Pros and cons with remote working
First, the pros: remote working allows for better support of teams with family and working commitments, thus improving loyalty. It allows organisations access to talent pools that are further afield – for example, at Isoline we don’t need to restrict ourselves to London-based talent when we’re looking for people. Costs are lower, and agility is greater too.
The cons are not to be taken lightly, either. Collaboration, regardless of what the providers of various platforms tell us, is a lot more complex and forced. Issues that could be resolved in 30 seconds gathered around a single screen take 15 minutes of trying to connect on chat or over a screen share. Training and onboarding of staff is a lot more difficult and less effective. It’s harder to build the company culture and stay motivated, too.
Love it or hate it, we’ve all adapted and changed how we work and collaborate so we can get the best results over the past year. How can we apply some of these learnings to tech B2B marketing as a practice? And how can our campaigns adapt to the hybrid working era to maintain results?
Here are a few ways to start thinking differently.
Adapt your messaging and content strategies for the new normal
Remember that you’re no longer talking to one evangelist or a small group of users. Information sharing within your prospect’s organisation is a lot less seamless than before. As a result, you need to think about a much broader base of users within the target organisation. Consider the needs of these sub-groups more specifically than before and adapt your content as required.
Ensure your messaging addresses the different user group personas we spoke about in the previous section. One example could be creating content with more technical depth for IT audiences, and a more business-results oriented version for financial and operational decision makers.
Whilst your gatekeepers may remain the same demographic and personas based on job title and industry breakdown, your end users will now have far more of a say, having adopted a more hands-on research approach because of remote working. From a tactical perspective, this might mean you need to run multiple streams of an ABM campaign in parallel.
Take into account the ways your audience has changed
Recognise that most companies are in a state of flux and cautiousness when it comes to returning to the old ways of working.
I’ve spoken to several tech executives who are expecting a return to the old days of face-to-face or trade show-based selling, and view digital or content marketing as a stopgap, rather than a new, efficient, and futuristic way to work. Yes, trade shows will likely continue to play a vital role in relationship building, to see and be seen and get up to speed with industry developments. However, it is likely companies will become more conservative with the number of people travelling to major trade shows, the meetings they will attend, and so on.
Planning ongoing engagement throughout the year with key prospects via digital channels, such as ABM and social channels, with webinars and virtual events, will enable you to reach audiences who are rethinking their trade show approach.
The benefits of recognising and applying agility
If COVID-19 has shown us anything, it’s that staying agile and adapting strategies in alignment with market developments is essential to maintain effectiveness. Whether being able to run a quick audience survey to help your prospects understand what their customers are thinking, delivering proposals or presentations via video conferencing platforms, creating and organising virtual events, or gathering feedback through online forms, we’ve all helped to adapt the practice of tech B2B content marketing.
Your product positioning may need to shift focus, and your value proposition may now be less valid as a result of market changes. It’s okay to recognise this. Yes, you may have invested time, energy, and vast amounts of effort to clarify your proposition, target audiences, personas within those and have your annual marketing plans drawn up and signed off. You may already have your agency briefed and working on go-to-market activities, campaigns, and product launches. But the best marketeers are the ones who are not afraid to stick their head above the parapet.
This group have the confidence to halt activity and review plans when huge market changes occur, not to mention a world-wide pandemic. They apply sponsorship and stewardship to this agile approach to demonstrate their case against inevitable internal resistance.
Tech B2B content marketing professionals are lucky enough to work with some of the most cutting-edge, futuristic technologies in the world. Trends, technologies and launches we see today influence the way the wider community will work, chill, socialise, communicate and more in five or even ten years’ time.
We’re the ones in the best position to realise change is inevitable, whether it is through technological evolution or ‘acts of God’. Those that continue with preset strategies run the risk of being left behind. To make sure you’re not one of them, partnering with an agency that can consult and advise can be invaluable. It just so happens we offer such services. But you knew that already…right?