Like many marketers, I used the last couple of months of 2021 to reflect on what happened during the year and to plan for 2022. Because of the unprecedented events of 2020 and 2021, I spent more time than usual taking stock of the state of B2B marketing and assessing what the focus of my content should be in 2022 and beyond.
The COVID-19 pandemic turned 2020 into a nine-month-long exercise in crisis management for many companies. Business shutdowns and work-from-home policies forced many B2B marketers to pivot their go-to-market strategy and to make quick and substantial changes to their marketing plans and tactics.
2021 was a mixed year in several ways. The US economy experienced a robust recovery, and COVID-related fears and concerns eased somewhat with the rollout of vaccines, the approval of vaccine boosters and the development of effective antiviral therapeutics.
Then, near the end of last year, the Omicron variant appeared, and the world faced the prospect of another major surge of COVID-19. In the US, that surge is now well underway, but there is evidence the Omicron variant may produce proportionately fewer severe cases of COVID-19, and there is hope that this surge will be shorter than previous ones. So 2021 demonstrated that COVID isn’t likely to disappear any time soon.
There’s little doubt the pandemic changed the expectations and behaviors of consumers and business buyers, and it’s also clear that some of these changes will persist after COVID-related concerns recede. The current challenge for marketers is to determine which of those changes will be longer-lasting and how their marketing strategies will need to evolve to be successful.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been thinking through whether or to what extent the events of the past two years should affect the content I publish here. My objective for this blog has always been to provide content that readers will find informative, thought-provoking and useful. I’ve been gratified by the engagement this blog has received, and I believe it’s largely achieving its primary goal.
But there’s always room for improvement, and therefore, I’ll be making a few changes here beginning next week. During each calendar month, I plan to publish three new types of posts.
Book Reviews – Many important topics can only be addressed adequately in a full-length book, so I’ll be writing a book review post on a monthly basis. Most of these reviews will discuss books that have been recently published (usually within the past 1-2 years). Occasionally, however, I may review an older book that is particularly relevant for marketers in the current business environment.
Research Round-Ups – Regular readers of this blog will know that I frequently discuss the findings of marketing-related research studies. Over the past several years, the volume of such studies has increased dramatically, as companies have realized they can be effective for building thought leadership.
These Research Round-Up posts will briefly summarize the results of recently published research studies. Each post will usually cover 2 – 4 studies, although I may occasionally focus on a single study when I believe it’s particularly valuable for marketers.
Deep Dives – Research indicates that business professionals value content resources that provide trustworthy and in-depth information and insights. Until recently, blog posts were not typically seen as a good vehicle for addressing a topic in an in-depth way, simply because the conventional view was that blog posts should be relatively short.
This is changing, and I now frequently see longer blog posts that are more like feature articles in a periodical. For example, the Harvard Business Review website and the Sloan Management Review website regularly publish longer online articles.
So this year, I’m planning to publish one post each month that provides a more in-depth treatment of an important topic. This will enable me to address certain topics in a more cohesive and comprehensive manner.
The remaining one or two posts each month will be similar to those I’ve been writing since I launched this blog more than ten years ago. I’m hoping to include a few posts based on interviews with leading marketing and business thinkers, and I plan to publish several posts providing practical, “how-to” guidance that readers can put to immediate use.