You may have heard this before, but this year has been unlike any other, and it has forced marketers to boost their digital marketing efforts.

In this episode of AMP Up Your Digital Marketing, Glenn Gaudet speaks with Winfried Schultz, VP of EMEA Marketing at Teradata, a provider of database and analytics software and services. They discuss the transition to stronger virtual and digital marketing efforts from in-person marketing.

What you’ll learn:

  • The challenges of transitioning to a strictly digital marketing strategy. 
  • How to overcome your digital marketing challenges.
  • What marketers can do to make their digital presence more engaging. 

The marketing team over at Teradata speaks directly to the executive offices and high up decision-makers of prospective buyers. This entails a great deal of high-touch and in-person marketing activities, meaning conferences, face-to-face meetings, etc.

Of course, practicing this type of marketing is frowned upon in 2020 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. During the past few months, Winfried and his marketing team worked extremely hard at moving away from event marketing and meetings towards stronger digital marketing efforts through virtual interactions.

He quickly learned he needed to adjust his strategy, and it wasn’t as simple as offering your conference sessions through a webinar.

Your Digital Marketing Transition Won’t Be Easy

Early the pandemic, it became apparent that face-to-face interactions were not going to be an option for the foreseeable future.

They tested out webinars and forums in an attempt to recreate the experience of a roundtable in a digital setting. But, it just wasn’t working. Winfried points to the short attention spans that people have with digital content, so your digital marketing efforts have to adhere to cadence, storytelling, and suspense.

“We have to get the point across much, much quicker,” Winfried said.

When people watch YouTube videos, they’ll switch to a new video within 10 seconds if they aren’t entertained yet, so your content needs to grab their attention.

Take a Multilayered Approach

You can’t replace a face-to-face meeting or a networking experience from a conference through any kind of virtual setting.

“The buzz from a live event is different,” Winfried said. “It’s impossible to recreate that. You have to play to other senses and attention spans and interests.”

You need to be a bit more sophisticated and strategic in your digital marketing approach. It needs to be multifaceted with multiple channels.

“Blasting out a list of emails doesn’t really work very well in this environment,” Winfried said. “You have to reach out to people directly and indirectly. You need inbound tactics for thought leadership development. You have to train your organization for social selling a lot more. What was a ‘nice to have’ is a prerequisite for business.”

No matter the channel or format that you use to engage with someone, you need to give them easy opportunities to engage with you to keep them interested. Find ways for them to participate and give them opportunities to raise their hands, like online polls.  If doing a webinar, use a moderator to help with interaction. You want to keep calls conversational. Make it a back and forth interaction, much like you’d have if you were in person.

Be Prepared to Meet

When you have a contact willing to get on a call with you, you need to be ready.

You have to do your homework. Who are they? What do they do? How big are they? What problems are they trying to solve? People don’t want to spend their time filling you in on this. They want to get the answers about what you can offer, not give you answers about what they do.

“I don’t know how many calls I get a week from people trying to sell me marketing tools,” Winfried said “My patience for chit chat and questions on my problems…no, you should have figured that out by now. People’s patience level is getting smaller.”

The same way people can be more confrontational on social media, they could be that way in other digital settings. This is because they are not seeing you face-to-face. You need to be aware of that. What you present to someone on a call or digitally needs to be interesting and engaging.

Replacing a Physical Event For a Digital Event Doesn’t Make Sense

If your digital marketing strategy is to offer every session you planned to present at a physical conference through a digital one, your strategy won’t work.

You can’t replace a physical conference with a device or a computer screen. It’s just not the same. One of the biggest reasons people enjoy going to conferences is not even what the conference has to offer. It’s not the keynotes, the sessions, or the booths. They go to meet people.

You might run into an old colleague or friend that you haven’t seen in years at a show. You might build new relationships at these events. You won’t get that over a recording, a Zoom call, or a webinar.

Companies right now are trying to bridge this gap by offering a hybrid conference where the event is in person, but you can also participate virtually, Winfried said.

Will this work? It remains to be seen if there is interest. In Europe, more people are returning to their offices, so there might be more demand for hybrid conferences there.

Will These Digital Marketing Tactics Stay With Us Post-COVID?

Many people want to return to normal, but it’s not hard to see that many practices we gained from the pandemic will stick with us going forward.

People will be more comfortable with video calls than they were in January. Working from home will be more accepted, and digital marketing strategies will be stronger than before COVID-19.

“This situation we’ve been in since March or February serves as a pressure cooker,” Winfried said. “It’s an accelerator. There is no choice. A lot of our customers are banks, and we hear a lot of people have moved to online transactions because there is no choice. They can’t walk into banks. When you have situations like this, there is little choice.”

Habits changed and different practices are more acceptable now. People will be tired of video calls when the pandemic is finally over. And, there might be an itch to go to big in-person events when it’s safe, but in the long run, there will be significantly more virtual meetings and interactions than there was just last year.

AMP Up Your Digital Marketing brings together the leading marketing practitioners to share how they are succeeding in today’s digital landscape. Each podcast episode focuses on providing you with the knowledge and strategies you need to be a successful marketer. Subscribe via AppleFIR Podcast Network, or wherever you get your podcasts. Want to appear on AMP Up Your Digital Marketing? Contact Us and let us know how our listeners can benefit from hearing your message.

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