I don’t believe that any industry will come out of the Covid-19 pandemic unscathed. Like others, the PR industry has shown an incredible resilience and resourcefulness in the face of the challenges posed over the last six months.
Time will tell when, and if, this uncertainty lifts, but none of us can afford the luxury of waiting to see what will happen. Businesses especially, must adapt to their customers’ evolving needs and respond to demands of the time.
For the companies and professionals effected, that’s a lot to keep track of and build into the sales funnel. To help provide some clarity, FleishmanHillard Fishburn – together with its True Global Intelligence partners – conducted proprietary research among 500 business decision-makers in the UK to get a state-of-the-nation update across a selection of key industries: manufacturing and logistics, financial and professional services and food and beverage. The survey was conducted between 15-20th July of this year, just as the UK was beginning to reduce its restrictions following the first wave of Covid-19 .
The resulting report; The Power of Business Communication: Navigating the Changing Landscape of B2B Buying, explores what is important to B2B Buyers now, how to better influence them and, importantly, how to harness communications to facilitate a smoother buying journey in a very uncertain economic landscape.
Rather than simply causing decision-makers to look nervously at their balance sheets, Covid-19 is changing the nature of the products and services these buyers are looking for. 61% of B2B buyers feel that the pandemic has opened opportunities for their business that they had not previously considered, and 67% are experiencing suppliers adapting quickly to meet new demands posed by Covid-19- it’s certainly competitive out there.
For us in the communications industry, while there’s so much change, some things are the same. It’s more important than ever for suppliers to communicate their ability to support in a clear, engaging and authentic way. The research shows that the views of expert journalists and industry analysts are still hugely important in this regard, with 61% of B2B buyers placing a high level of trust in information from industry-specific publications. Interestingly, while buyers still spend a great deal of time on social media, they can be more cautious when it comes to using content to evaluate suppliers.
To launch the report, FleishmanHillard Fishburn hosted an online panel discussion exploring the views of industry leaders on research findings. This event made it abundantly clear: buyers of B2B products and services are people first and they engage with authentic voices and clear messages, not business jargon.
As the UK continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the uncertainty it entails, businesses that are able to be agile in their comms, stay cognisant of the times and remember the buyers they are trying to reach are people, will give themselves the strongest possible chance of future success.
Written by Claudia Bate, head of technology, director and partner of PR firm FleishmanHillard Fishburn. Please find the full report here.
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