Keeping ahead of the marketing curve is essential for any B2B business to succeed. To do this, decision-makers need to understand the latest in marketing trends in order to develop effective strategies to grow their business. Marketing trends are set to change in 2021, and here are some of the key findings to keep in mind to achieve marketing success in the New Year.
Digital marketing is the new norm, so it should come as no surprise that in 2020, the majority of marketing budgets (56%), according to the B2B Marketing Mix Report from Sagefrog Marketing Group, will be spent developing this strategy. Digital marketing has the ability to drive potential clients to company websites and provides the best opportunity to generate leads and create future business.
Once a potential customer lands on a company’s website, their experience when they get there is critical to get them to convert. Thus, the next largest percentage of B2B marketing budgets (52%) in the upcoming year will be spent on website development. With search engine optimization (SEO) determining the effectiveness of websites and their ranking, it’s important that they are optimized, well designed, and user-friendly.
Tradeshow and Events
Tradeshows and events still occupy a good portion of B2B marketing budgets (36%) established for next year. Interacting with potential clients face-to-face, allows businesses to better understand client needs and potential problems. For many B2B companies, this tried and true marketing strategy helps raise brand awareness and can be just as effective as digital marketing.
Content marketing is next on the list of B2B marketing budget spending (27%) in 2020. Developing relevant content that reflects a company’s expertise, and factors in SEO, is a cost-effective marketing strategy for driving traffic to websites and converting them into leads. Next year, there will be a strong focus on creating interactive content that provides new and exciting experiences to potential customers, and ultimately generates more business.
Email marketing will also occupy 27% of B2B marketing budgets in the upcoming year. This strategy continues to be a powerful tool to nurture potential customers. Targeted emails that deliver timely, relevant information can build trust and customer loyalty. They also deliver a high ROI.
The demand for higher levels of personal client interaction and service from websites and businesses has led to the growing trend of personalization.
In B2B client interactions, it is important to remember that you are not just doing business with companies, but with the people who work for them. Understanding what they need and want leads to customer satisfaction, loyalty, and potential leads.
With the growing need to provide personalized service, the use of Chatbots on websites will continue to develop. This technology allows businesses to capture all potential prospects or leads because they can address their needs in real-time. No possible lead is lost by being put on hold, or by calling after hours. Chatbots save time and increase customer satisfaction by always being available to serve.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial Intelligence, like Chatbots, along with virtual assistants such as Siri, or Google Assistant, will continue to be prevalent in 2020. Advancements in AI will be used to improve customer experiences, and target potential business leads.
Look for the growth of influencer marketing in the upcoming year. Why? Potential customers still rely on referrals or word-of-mouth endorsements from someone they trust as a primary factor in making their final purchasing decisions. There has been a steady growth of the influencer marketing industry since 2016, with influencer marketing platforms doubling during this period of time.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content is another form of word-of-mouth marketing. It helps people trust and relate to a company’s brand. User-generated content, that includes images, blog posts and videos, as well as testimonials and reviews, can all be incorporated in content marketing. UGC is a great resource to show appreciation for customer opinions and insights, and build client relationships.
Messaging Apps in Business
Messaging apps provide the ability to hold private conversations with select groups of people. Companies can target and communicate with customers who share common interests, and respect each other’s opinion. The use of these apps provides marketers the ability to have fast, personalized and effective conversations with their target audience.
Targeting communication/ads to people based on their location is not new, however, companies like Apple and Pulsate are developing new applications to improve and fulfill the growth in geofencing demand.
To understand the overall effectiveness of digital marketing strategies, the use of predictive analytics will become more widespread in 2020. Prospective clients can be found by using advanced analytics to understand their patterns and behaviors. The use of predictive analytics uses this information and goes one step further by forecasting what they will do in the future.
Consolidate Marketing onto One Platform
Data gathered from analytics tools, email marketing, content creation, SEO, lead nurturing and social media marketing can generate data across multiple platforms. To effectively manage and draw insights from this data, businesses have previously utilized multiple data management tools. In the upcoming year, companies like Hubspot will provide a method to integrate and streamline data gathered from multiple sources into one platform. This will help to ensure effective decision-making in marketing efforts.
Automated Omni-Channel Marketing
Omni-channel marketing provides an integrated and seamless experience to customers to access your brand regardless of the channel they are using. For this approach to work, it requires automation software to maintain consistent brand messaging across all mediums. When properly managed and implemented, omni-channel marketing increases purchase frequency, and customer retention by providing enhanced customer service.
For companies to continue to thrive in the ever-changing digital world they need to keep up with advanced B2B marketing strategies and technological trends. This will help them be effective with their marketing efforts and build their businesses, by managing the information that is gathered, and utilizing this information to understand and deliver what their customers want.