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There’s no denying that COVID-19 has dampened the excitement of summer but we’re happy to be able to interrupt pandemic groundhog day with some sunshine from the world of B2B.

In late March when we were all isolating, at Hop Skip we were holding our breath to see what would happen with our clients and our business of B2B marketing. Now, five months in, we finally have some news to share. Here’s the state of B2B in Canada, from our perspective.

Business challenges

Despite supporting businesses in a wide range of industries, including some with B2C sales, what we’ve seen feels like a rainbow in a storm. Almost everyone is doing alright and some even better than alright!

This said, we’ve seen two big challenges.

First, supply has been disrupted and that’s affected order fulfillment. For these clients, we worked hard on customer communication to make sure they were kept up-to-date and informed. The saving grace has been that customers have been more forgiving than usual.

Second, some companies paused purchasing which was reflected in a dip in new orders and sales reported by Stats Canada. To these companies, we recommended continuing to nurture leads and implement top-of-funnel marketing tactics. For a couple of clients, we added webinars to further engage leads, and we’ve been rewarded with above-average registration and attendance numbers. While it may seem counter-intuitive to do more when buyers step back, our approach centres around readiness for when buyers restart their purchasing.

Enough about the hurdles — let’s talk sunshine.

Continued sales

We’ve seen that those companies who were inventive in the first months of COVID-19 were rewarded in sales. We created an online showroom and sales process for a big Canadian countertop company which enabled them to close their best month on record in June. For an interior design company, we’ve supported for years, we ran an event to makeover a local hotel. The feel-good event, done in partnership with other local businesses, has seen their social media engagement go way up, and they are on track for their sixth consecutive year of growth.

For another client, sales were far less straightforward but equally rosy. This B2C healthcare company had a grand opening slated for April 1st that had to be delayed indefinitely. Rather than freeze and wait, we modified our call-to-action to “Join the waitlist”. When they did finally open in May, they had nearly 70 people ready to go.

Investing in brand 

B2Bs across industries continue to invest in their brand. We’ve seen this in new projects we’ve taken on, and from our conversations with graphic designers.

Since late winter, we’ve welcomed two B2Bs who wanted “marketing help”. Neither had an in-house marketer, so our starting place with both was similar: brand strategy, messaging, a new website, and video. Stay tuned for these brand reveals in September!

Speaking of brand reveals, our team at Hop Skip has just been featured by Design Rush in its “Best Branding Company” list. Hooray! While our team does every type of marketing under the sun, we love brand and naming work because it’s such a tangible, exciting first step. It’s also a sign of great things to come (Hello, lead gen!).

Social media continues to slay

On the awareness side, we’ve seen shifting digital ad performance that has kept us experimenting to see what works best this week, but social media has continued to bring it for all of our clients. We’ve seen great engagement and an uptick in customer questions coming in via direct message and commenting.  

That’s the state of B2B marketing from our side of it. Yes, it’s groundhog day in COVID-land, but the B2Bs we’re working with are doing alright. The sunshine has never felt so good. 

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