This year has been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic complete with lockdowns, social distancing, facemasks and hand sanitizers. But it has given us all time to think and IBA research shows that despite the widespread disruption, B2B organizations have thought and are optimistic about the future.  

Our research suggests that B2B organizations have decided that now is the time to mobilize, adapt and consider where to make their next business moves. We found a staggering 86% of surveyed B2B organizations say they have reassessed their product roadmap during the coronavirus crisis with 28% of B2B organizations looking to new industries and 26% to new geographies.

Maybe lockdown is opening doors markets already showing potential

And yes, some industries have seen positive changes during the pandemic from HealthTech providers and supermarkets to online learning & video conferencing platforms – all attracting new investments. Identifying these early can ensure that you seize these opportunities as soon as possible. Take Ocado. This online food delivery organization predicts permanent changes in consumer shopping habits. It is investing millions of pounds in automated warehouses, robotic technology and vertical farming to optimize operations and increase capacity. Could your solution be part of this investment?

Countries starting to show growth

On the other hand, 26% of surveyed organizations are venturing into new geographies to ensure economic growth. The economy in your country might have been hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak, but that’s not the case for everyone. For example, China’s GDP is predicted to grow by 9.7% by Q4 2021 in comparison to Q4 2019. And despite being hit hard by the pandemic, the US economy is only expected to shrink by 0.1%. There are also a number of countries that are starting return to a sense of normality sooner than others. This chart shows countries with a high rate of mobility and a high recovery rate from the virus – these countries could offer a lot of potential for your business going forward.

Brexit – the international doors this could open, for UK and for international companies

And here’s another incentive for organizations to explore international expansion. 59% of UK businesses said they would consider exporting their goods or services outside the EU, if favorable trade agreements are established, and a further 26% would export if high tariffs are introduced within the EU. The picture looks positive from U.S. and ANZ organizations too, 46% of B2B businesses surveyed said favorable trade agreements would encourage them to trade with the UK, while low tariffs within the UK would encourage a further 35% to consider the UK as a new geographical market.

Reduced budgets don’t have to impact PR activity levels

New industries and locations need to know about your solution and how it can help. But IBA research shows 40% of organizations believe budget restrictions will limit the success of their expansion plans. PR will be vital for this. If your communications budgets have been squeezed by the impact of the pandemic, outsourcing PR support to a large retainer, big-name agency is an unlikely prospect. Most big-name agencies charge a large retainer fee, so campaign support in multiple geographies and vertical markets can soon cost five-figure sums, and according to our research only 11% of B2B organizations are satisfied with their support.

We’ve addressed these issues with the Global Outreach Hub

IBA has over 50 years of experience in international PR so is not immune to market changes. It has always offered a deliverable rather than a fee-based service but in 2020 we looked at the research, talked to our clients, and developed the low-cost and fast-paced Global Outreach Hub. It provides B2B organizations with the flexibility to choose which geographies and industries they want to target and deliver tailored services – charged at a flat monthly billing rate based on deliverables and measured KPIs, without the large retainer fee. It offers the agility to ramp up communications in new industries and geographies quickly – all from the same PR hub. Without multiple agencies in multiple offices you don’t need to worry about working with a new team every time you want to pitch to a new industry or region – something that 28% of marketing managers claimed they were unhappy with.

We believe in targeted pitching here at IBA – and that includes press releases as well as articles! We make sure your articles are placed in the top-tier trade publications that your B2B buying personas and prospects are reading and not just those with a high UVPM. We use this same tactic when distributing press releases. Where big-name agencies may charge large sums for distributing on a wire service that delivers empty, machine-generated results, we make sure your press releases land in the inboxes of the journalists that matter.

Results and metrics will be key

In the post-pandemic market environment, results will be top of mind for organizations. You need to choose an agency that can guarantee campaign success regardless of the industry or geography – and IBA’s Global Outreach Hub can do just that.

There are many opportunities to be seized across different industries and geographies, but to succeed with this expansion, you need to act faster than your competitors. Find out more about how IBA’s Global Outreach Hub can support your brand expansion every step of the way.

Eleanor Rhodes is a PR Account Executive at IBA International.

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