The Small-but-Mighty B2B Marketing Team’s Guide to Constant Change

In this article
    Add a header to begin generating the table of contents
    Scroll to Top

    Hey marketers: How many times did you have to pivot last year? 

    In 2023, marketers faced budget and staff cuts, changes in messaging, shifts in market focus, a demand to “figure out AI,” company acquisitions and more. 

    The most recent data from HubSpot revealed that over half of marketers had to pivot over the most recent survey year (2021), and most did so two to four times. We’re curious: What will this year bring? And what are the best strategies for pivoting successfully, if not gracefully? 

    Here, we’ll share insights and advice around some of the challenges our fellow marketers experienced when gears shifted – and as they continue to shift. 

    Marketing Pivot #1: “Do more with less, please.” 

    Sometimes, the budget isn’t there to keep marketing at full capacity. In the most unfortunate scenarios, such budget constraints lead to staffing reductions. It’s been heartbreaking to see the layoffs this year. (Let us know if we can make an introduction or connection in the industry!) 

    If you were left behind to steer the ship, you may wonder: How do I keep my content program alive with such limited resources? 

    One of our favorite strategies is to repurpose or update what you have.  

    • Tasked with social media? Take one of your most popular, helpful blogs and break it down into a social media campaign. 
    • Need a new blog? Look back a few years and find a top performer you can update with new information and SEO. 
    • Want to use video? Identify useful topics you’ve covered already and use existing content to build out scripts. 
    • Seeking greater visibility? Take an existing blog your industry would appreciate and reframe it for a relevant trade publication. 
    • Starting something fresh? Plan to use it multiple ways so it packs a mightier punch. You can use the copy for sales materials, infographics, social media posts and more. 

    Find more repurposing tips >>  

    Marketing Pivot #2: “Focus on this new market, stat.” 

    Marketers target markets using research, their expertise and current tools.  

    However, it can be jarring, if you’ve been chugging along in one direction and leadership asks you to switch gears. Even if it’s already been one of your lesser-priority-target markets, it requires a reset in a short amount of time.  

    Our advice?  

    Don’t be afraid to humble yourself.  

    Be honest with yourself about what you do and don’t already know. And communicate those gaps with your team. If you approach the situation like it’s no big deal, people will believe it’s no big deal and expect you to have it all figured out. 

    Lean on existing research and data. 

    These days, very few corners of the global market are unexplored. Seek this research and return to the learner’s seat. Request any insights your company or organization already has, especially data related to existing and prospective customers in the market. Once you know this market, you can apply that long-honed expertise you bring to the table. 

    Prioritize personas. 

    Few archers can hit the mark blindfolded. Similarly, targeting a new persona is easier when you build and define the actual target. You and your team members could do your research and “know” who you’re targeting in your heads, but having it defined leaves fewer stones unturned when it comes time to engage that market.  

    Learn all about buyer personas – and get our free template >> 

    For additional reading, we love this blog by Mary Kearl for The Muse: 8 Tips for Adapting to Constant Change When You Work in Marketing. Kearl’s take is genuine and empathetic, with lots of great suggestions for tools and resources for handling change in marketing. 

    Marketing Pivot #3: “Get traffic and leads up by x% by end of quarter.” 

    This request hits differently depending on your situation. It could be that: 

    • You’re not hitting projected numbers. 
    • Leadership is shifting focus to these metrics. 
    • This is the first time leadership has requested such results. 

    But sometimes, no matter what you do, the numbers misbehave. Generating traffic and leads was the top challenge marketers anticipated for 2023, according to HubSpot. To overcome this, HubSpot suggests asking yourself: 

    • Are you truly creating high-quality content – the type of content people would pay for? 
    • Do you know the type of content your audience actually wants? 

    Okay, we must admit: This made our eyes sparkle, because YES! This is our exact soapbox speech every time. But how do you do this? 

    Figure out what people want. 

    Research your target market’s expectations and preferences. And make sure to speak with your actual customers or members 

    Link content to the buyer journey. 

    Produce content around key topics and in strategic formats that map to the buyer journey. If someone wants to learn “how it works” and all they can find is “benefits,” you have a gap. If someone wants to hear from your customers and you don’t have a relevant testimonial or case study, you’re not giving them what they need. You should fill that hole as quickly as you can.  

    Be intentional with on-page elements. 

    Make sure your content satisfies the great SEO machine in the digital sky by optimizing blog posts and site pages. This includes everything from keywords to page structure, meta descriptions and alt tags. And be sure to include meaningful calls to action!  

    Make sure humans get the final word.  

    Yes, AI can be useful for research, generating ideas and even outlining articles. But the differentiation happens when you get a professional writer in front of the document to make it yours 

    Marketing Pivot #4: “Figure out AI.” 

    Most marketers have heard this in one form or another this year, and many are tasked with using AI to achieve specific outcomes: optimize resources, reduce spend, improve ROI, etc.  

    At this point, we can’t just say, “No.” We all must figure it out and determine how we’ll integrate it or why we won’t. 

    Chances are, you’re running a small marketing team with limited time to experiment. Our advice? Peek at those who have already figured it out. 

    Today, one of the industry leaders we turn to for up-to-the-minute insights on AI for content and marketing is Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media. He frequently posts insights about AI on his social media and participates in industry events, podcasts, webinars and more, sharing his hard-earned expertise. 

    Another industry leader we appreciate is Robert Rose of The Content Advisory and the Content Marketing Institute. His podcast This Old Marketing is incredibly informative, easy listening for marketers. 

    This insight from the Content Marketing Institute, How to Put AI to Work for Better Marketing, is also a good read. 

    Marketing Pivot #5: “We need to change our message.” 

    Sometimes, your customer base stays the same – and changes at the same time. When this happens, it’s wise to adjust your messaging to speak more directly and authentically with your audience. 

    In a sense, you’re re-introducing yourself to your customers or members. 

    Even in times of minimal volatility (which we haven’t seen for a long, long time), customer preferences and expectations change. If you’re operating on beliefs you held about your customers three years ago, you may not know them as well as you think.  

    How do you adjust your message mindfully and strategically? Forget what you think you know and start researching.  

    • Interview existing customers about their experience of your company or organization, preferences, disappointments, etc. 
    • Interview customer-facing team members about their understanding of your customers. 
    • Review industry research on your target audience. 
    • Analyze the activity of successful competitors or comparable organizations. 
    • Look at data from your marketing channels to see who’s engaging and what’s most effective right now. 
    • Perform an SEO audit and get a search visibility report to understand how your website performs and how folks find you. 

    You might find the message you think you should convey is completely different from what your audience wants and needs.  

    For example, let’s say during customer interviews, you discover customers value their relationships with their rep above all else. If your messaging is all about the product’s helpfulness, perhaps you should switch to focus on reps’ helpfulness, making them authors on blogs and highlighting customer experiences with case studies. 

    Are you in the midst of a marketing shift that has you feeling overwhelmed? Reach out to us to see how we can support your marketing efforts. Our B2B content services range from writing and editing to design and distribution.  

    The Small-but-Mighty B2B Marketing Team’s Guide to Constant Change