2020 will go down in history as a year beset with uncertainty, fear and apprehension. Despite all these, the business world grinds on, thriving insistently despite obvious challenges as the world ushers in a new era marked with rapid changes.
As the B2B market expects sales to reach figures of more than $1.8 trillion by the year 2023, the rapid transition into the new normal calls for a greater demand and consumption of digital content. Marketers have no choice but to turn more introspective, carefully studying where their budgets would be more fully and effectively utilized.
In an era of digital acceleration, marketers should take all these into careful consideration. They should examine the following digital marketing trends and see for themselves if they can adopt these innovative tactics into their marketing toolkits.
1) Back to Basics
The past periods witness B2B marketers get overwhelmed by a deluge of tactics, tools and technologies, many of which deliver contradictory results to what they were actually expecting. The events of 2020 should have been a great opportunity for these marketers to step back, examine their strategies, and remove all the clutter that do not deliver favorable results.
And what 2020 should have taught most B2B marketers about how to stand out from the din and cacophony of the digital sphere – is the need for connection. Simply go back to basics and understand that consumers, clients and organizations all crave for connection.
Surprisingly, only 76% of B2B organizations have a formal marketing plan. On top of that, only 74% of these B2B marketers have established sound goals and sadly only 3% achieve these goals. So, don’t lose focus, go back to basics – and start to connect.
2) Shifting Gear towards Retention Marketing
2020 have also taught B2B organizations one of the most important aspects of doing and maintaining business – and that is retaining customers.
It is a known fact that it is always easier to sell, upsell or cross-sell to existing customers, particularly those whom you have maintained a long and lasting relationship. The cost of finding new customers can really be taxing, particularly for struggling businesses in this New Normal.
That’s why many B2B marketers are shifting gears towards Retention Marketing. A mere 5% increase in customer retention is enough to rake in a 95% increase in profits according to the Harvard Business Review, so it really pays to refocus initiatives towards the following strategies to retain customers:
Welcoming, Onboarding and Educating New Customers
Establishing a Constant Communication Channel
Provide an Ongoing and Reliable Customer Care and Support Channel
Actively Solving Queries and Issues
Appreciating Customer Loyalty through Coupons, Discounts and Freebies
Surveys, Feedbacks, Testimonials and Reposting of Customer Mentions
3) Make Customer Interaction Memorable
The need to connect gained much more importance in 2020, as consumers and organizations experienced isolation like they’ve never experienced before. B2B marketers should take this into greater consideration as failure to get the attention of disconnected and distracted customers will end in you losing their business.
The old marketing strategies of segmentation will simply not work in these times. As much as 72% of B2B clients expect more personalized campaigns. Those who fail to connect with them in a more personalized manner are bound to fail or get replace. To avoid such pitfalls, examine the following strategies and see which would work best for you:
Consumers have typical attention spans of only eight seconds. So, failure to connect and get their attention within this period would surely drive them further away. Avoid this by making your content more interactive. Get them to participate in interactive stories, quizzes, videos and graphics that will keep them engaged.
Face-to-face events are still restricted, but it does not mean that all interactions should be cancelled altogether – and the immediate marketing alternative in to host virtual events. In 2020, up to 49% of B2B marketers made use of virtual events to launch new products, conduct business meetings or hold exhibits and conferences – and figures expect to increase exponentially in 2021.
As consumers and organizations are slowly getting accustomed to the virtual platform, B2B marketers need to implement effective strategies in conducting virtual events. They should re-examine their current virtual channels and explore new platforms that offer hybrid workflows and broadcast quality performances.
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Creative B2B marketers are looking into harnessing that marketing potential of Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR) and Virtual Reality (VR) for digital advertising. The outlook in 3 to 4 years is promising, with 44.3% of consumers adopting VR and 36.9% adopting AR/MR, particularly in these technologies are able to mimic in-store experiences right from the confines of their own homes.
In these unprecedented times, both consumers and organizations cling to things that they are more familiar with, things they can relate to and are more familiar with. This calls for marketing strategies that are nostalgic in nature, capitalizing on social and cultural trends, and authentic in their efforts to connect and relate to.
4) Greater Importance on Customer Experience
The need to connect solidifies the position of Customer Experience in taking center stage. To survive and excel in 2021, B2B marketers should focus in systems, strategies and workflows that enhance Customer Experience. The following are strategies and key points that B2B organizations should give careful attention to:
Simplified and More Personalized Transactions
Up to 77% of B2B customers claimed that their purchase experiences were either extremely complex or too difficult to execute. Most are looking for something that can connect and engage with them at a more experiential level.
Another area B2B customers are looking forward to is their needs being properly addressed as they move from one channel to another. B2B organizations that provides an omnichannel marketing experience can retain up to 89% of their customers, much higher compared to those who do not.
Voice Search Marketing
The number of instances voice search is used is expected to reach figures of up to 5 billion this year, and is expected to further increase by as much as 6.4 billion by the year 2022. To cater to this demand, the number of devices with digital voice assistants is forecasted to reach as much as 8 billion units by the year 2023. These figures alone should entice B2B marketers to suit and streamline their campaigns and content for voice search.
With as much as 67% of consumers using chatbots in 2020, the chatbot support system remain to be an important customer interaction feature that B2B organization should employ in 2021. Up to 90% of customers want immediate responses to their inquiries and 40% don’t care whether their answered by a real person or not – as long as they get a proper response.
Native Video Advertising
Video remains to be a top content format for marketing, with as much as 70% of B2B buyers performing research on a brand or company through their product videos. With as much as 82% of consumer internet traffic forecasted to be in online video format by 2022, B2B marketers should capitalize and ride on the popularity of video, particularly for native advertising.
Studies show that native video advertising generate higher impact results than YouTube or Social Media, with an impressive 60% average viewability rate, and above-standard 50% average completion rate.
5) Greater Adoption for Account Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing (ABM) was seen as a more effective B2B marketing strategy in 2020, and is expected to be an even bigger trend in 2021. ABM is now placed at the top of new strategies for both sales and marketing that B2B marketers will be adopting in 2021 as they transform their digital marketing strategies into full-funnel revenue generators.
6) More Streamlined Marketing Automation
The need to connect calls for more effective and more streamlined marketing automation strategies, particularly in providing B2B buyers with faster and more efficient access to information that they need.
With up to 95% of marketers claiming the efficacy of marketing automation, the use of new and more effective marketing automation software is expected to deliver a better customer experience and generate greater customer engagement.
7) Outsourcing Digital Marketing
With most B2B organization continuously facing even greater challenges amidst the events of 2020 sweeping the globe, most resort to more efficient and more effective use of resources. These include outsourcing at least one of their marketing activities to capable agencies, as experience by as much as half of B2B marketers in 2020.
Outsourcing digital marketing remains to be an effective and practical strategy in 2021 that global B2B enterprises can adopt. With more and more Business Process Outsourcing companies getting more aggressive in offering their services, B2B companies should choose a reliable Digital Marketing agency that can help them get through 2021 – and beyond.
The Take Away
News of Covid-19 vaccine rollouts and implementation, the horizon for the global scenario seems hopeful and promising. Still, the future remains uncertain and B2B companies can only rely in making effective use of their resources, adopt innovative strategies that deliver results, and prepare well for the Digital Marketing arena in 2021 and what lies beyond.
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