Despite the pandemic-induced global slowdown of 2020, the B2B market remains optimistic, with sales figures expected to reach the $1.8 trillion level by the year 2023. This is made evident with the continuous increase of digital AD spending and the continuous allocation of considerable resources for B2B marketing efforts.
As the market transitions in into the new normal, there is a greater call and demand for digital content consumption – and digital marketers need to proactively respond to this trend. With a digital marketplace already inundated with myriad quantities of content in myriad forms, digital marketers need to adapt a more innovative and results-oriented approach to content marketing.
The following provides the latest trends and expectations on Content Marketing that will deliver the biggest impact in the B2B Market for 2021.
1) CONTENT Becomes More Targeted
Gone were the days when agencies and organizations generate a multitude of content of a more general nature. Focus then was to embellish their content with visually appealing features, then position these marketing collaterals in as much digital real estate as possible.
In 2021, content marketing efforts would even be more targeted and tailor-fitted to cater to the demands and needs of their intended B2B audiences. As much as 90% of the best performing B2B content marketers adopt this targeted approach in their campaigns, resulting in an even greater marketing ROI than what they’ve previously realized.
2) CONTENT Becomes More Interactive and Experiential
A dominant trend in marketing for B2B customers to the adoption of strategies and practices that were primarily intended for the B2C marketplace. B2B buyers now prefer the consumption of content of a more interactive, dynamic, technology-driven and experiential nature.
Personal, Emotional and Experiential
Today, total customer satisfaction is not only defined by product or service performance, but also on how the B2B buyer connect with the provider, product and service in a more personal, emotional and experiential level.
Most B2B customers prefer their transactions to be simplified and personalized, as up to 77% of these customers claimed their buying experiences were too difficult or complex. Many are also attracted by personalized marketing that are nostalgic in nature, something that buyers can relate to or are familiar with in a more social and cultural level.
With video content expected to dominate up to 82% of all internet traffic in 2021, as much as 91% of B2B buyers now prefer video as their preferred type when consuming content. In previous years, video has outranked other content marketing types, including eBooks and Infographics, and a greater demand for interactive video is expected to further rise this year.
Restrictions caused by the global pandemic forced consumers and organizations to conduct transactions and interactions through the various virtual platforms available. In 2020, B2B marketers adapted to this global trend, with as much as 49% of them launching new products, held exhibits, conducted conferences and other business meeting through virtual events and similar online channels.
Interactive Customer Service
B2B buyers would also prefer customer service to be immediate and interactive. The rising trend of digital voice assistants pushed voice search as a preferred way to look for information. Chatbot use have grown significantly as well in 2020, and will continue to blaze the train in 2021 and beyond.
Other Interactive Content
- Audio-guided eBooks
- Animated and Info-Training Infographics
- Gamified Pages and Content
- Interactive Quizzes
- ROI and other useful online calculators
- Augmented Reality (Product Catalogs)
- Virtual Reality content that provides a 360-degree experience
- … and more!
3) CONTENT Consumption via Mobile First
Mobile devices and mobile internet use have grown into explosive levels in recent years and will continue to do so this year and beyond. Now, it is not enough to simply have a mobile-friend website, but rather the preference is towards a mobile-first approach to digital marketing. This can be achieved by investing in mobile assets that can help you better serve your B2B customers.
4) CONTENT Marketing on Multiple Channels
Although greater preference is accorded towards a mobile-first strategy, it does not mean that you should stop your content marketing efforts there. B2B customers prefer providers that can address their needs at whatever platform or channel they prefer, any time and all the time. The use of multiple channels or omnichannel marketing is guaranteed to help business retain as much as 89% of their customers with this approach.
5) CONTENT Marketing Dominated by Topical Authority
The deluge of so-called gurus and pretentious marketers flooding the locked-down virtual landscape should prompt content marketers to focus less in traditional link building, but rather on developing their expertise, relevance and topical authority on their content’s targeted subject matters.
This is in line with Google’s direction towards giving more importance on the E-A-T (Expertise-Authoritativeness-Trustworthiness) of content providers. Gone are the days when posting content on a whim is enough to generate interest and authority. Well-researched and highly informative long-form content is what B2B marketers prefer when looking for information on products and services.
6) CONTENT Marketing Leveraging Partner Operations
In the highly competitive B2B market, it would be wise to leverage on relationship building and cross-promotion by partnering with teams, channels and organizations willing to work with you. These partner operations can help you promote your business and increase your exposure, as in turn you help them with their marketing needs as well. The greater exposure and promotions you mutually generate, the greater the influx of qualified leads and new business opportunities.
7) CONTENT Marketing as an Outsourced Service
The events of 2020 prompted businesses to rethink their strategies and approaches to marketing and in doing business in general. Focus now is on how to execute content marketing in a more efficient, more economical and more effective manner – and what better way to do this than outsourcing the workload to competent providers.
As much as 50% of B2B marketers in 2020 have outsourced at least one or more of their content marketing activities to qualified and capable agencies. Business Process Outsourcing companies are getting more aggressive in offering their services, including content marketing, and B2B companies should take advantage of this trend to help them bounce back this 2021 and the years to come.
The Take Away
Content is King. Always is and always was.
This is more evident in the new normal as the thirst for more relevant, interesting and useful content are driving B2B companies to look for more effective and more results-driven ways to connect and interact with their clientele.
Content Marketing remains a very significant digital marketing tool in the B2B arena, but connecting with your B2B clients should be done in a more experiential, more personalized and a more interactive level. Doing so would generate better connection and greater engagement, helping your business survive through 2021 with more positive outcomes.
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