Chief Editor, Follow Your Buyer
You might know me as a writer, coach, content marketer, dog lover, editor, golfer, sales strategist, Diet Coke enthusiast, speaker, Allegheny alum, project manager, feminist, networker, or St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Skip to the content
It's been 24 business days plus 8 weekend days of working from home as I write this.
The window in my home office has made sheltering in place a mostly tolerable experience during the workweek. That's because my backyard overlooks a golf course. Beyond my dual monitors and snoring dog, I have a clear view of the tee boxes on #13 and the green on #15 (both par 5s, both very tough holes). Trust me, this tee shot is brutal:
Anyway, COVID-19 has made me miss golf more than ever (yes, yes, a #firstworldproblem, I know). Even under normal circumstances, I find it painful to be working instead of golfing. But at least I'm not tortured by the sight of the golf course when I'm at my office building. Every day when I see and hear the mowers and other equipment from my home office window, it reminds me of a good lesson for B2B marketers. Don't fall behind by stopping the important maintenance work.
Let me explain.
Golfers are not golfing right now. As of April 16, golf courses are still considered non-essential in Pennsylvania. My course even removed the flagsticks to discourage golfers from sneaking on to play. But our board of directors has made sure to fund course maintenance. A limited number of people on the grounds crew are mowing fairways and tee boxes, keeping the rough at a manageable height, and taking care of the greens (all while social distancing, of course).
We are investing in maintenance knowing that it will pay off in the long run. When golfers can golf again, our club will be ready. Will you be ready when your prospects restart their buyer's journeys? Or will you go dark and wait for more clarity on how COVID-19 will impact your business while your competitors double down on their marketing efforts?
Let me keep explaining.
We've been preaching that successful content marketing requires a long-term commitment to continuously be in front of your buyers. That's been our belief long before this current crisis. Our philosophy is centered around how buyer's journeys work, which is in part shaped by this research cited in Selling To The C-Suite:
"At any given time only 4 percent of your market is actively buying, 40 percent are ready to start looking at options, and 56 percent aren't ready or don't have a current need."
I'd argue that these numbers are still somewhat true. Remember, just because your buyers don't have the budget doesn't mean they don't have a need. Just because I can't golf at this very moment doesn't mean I don't want to go play a few holes.
I'll concede that maybe the "looking at options" category has gobbled up some of the "active buying" category as buyers grapple with economic uncertainties. But both types of buyers need your content now more than ever before. They can't connect with you at trade shows right now, so they are doing nearly all of their research digitally.
Let me give this final plea.
Don't abandon all marketing plans. Yes, it is true that in some industries, B2B buyers are not buying. Just like golfers are not golfing. I'm not golfing now. But I will be soon. And when I do, my country club's fairways will be mowed and the greens will be rolling smoothly. I will then happily continue to pay my dues as a loyal member. I will not even consider joining a different club (especially not since I can walk to the 13th tee from my yard, but that is beyond the point of this editorial).
When your buyers can buy again, they're going to look to the suppliers who kept up the marketing – who used helpful content to reassure buyers.
Buyers are paying attention to marketers' efforts now more than ever. Yet there are some marketers who don't believe that (or who don't have the budget and/or support from the C-suite to act on it). You have an unprecedented opportunity to elevate your share of voice, to steal attention away from your competitors who are letting their marketing efforts become overgrown and unkempt.
Mow the grass. Create and distribute the content. Don't sit back and wait. We'll be golfing and buying again soon. You'll want your sales funnel to be ready when that day comes.
We will not be great by what we accomplish, but by what we help others accomplish.How does this apply to your work as a B2B marketer?
Visit our Knowledge Center for helpful resources and guides that support any great content marketing strategy. You'll find tactical articles, customizable exercises, and more.
Learning to follow your buyer is a change in mindset
A transition from selling buyers on what you do to helping them accomplish what they do.