What are the most critical B2B marketing trends to keep an eye on?
Is digital media going to be at the forefront of all marketing efforts?
Or will technological advancements play a key role?
And how should your business deal with the pandemic’s wide-ranging consequences?
For businesses, the B2B marketing trend equation in 2021 has a lot of unknown variables.
In contrast to 2020, which provided global enterprises with ideal conditions for tangible and face-to-face connectivity, live sales pitches, and deal-closing handshakes, the pandemic demanded a paradigm shift to digital content marketing, search engine optimization, and technologically advanced strategies. Organizations were not ignorant of the sluggish transformation into digital channels; the pandemic just ignited it.
That being said, 2021 engages in digitized trends that have the same tenacity as their previous B2B sales methods such as telling an intriguing story, correctly positioning the target audience, differentiating it from competitors, focusing on customer retention strategies, and staying in alignment with social media marketing.
The conclusions drawn through such B2B marketing strategies are neither novel nor vastly different to those obtained through outbound marketing; however, they are a market requirement.
Clinging to or practicing old B2B marketing techniques as we wait to change our calendars and enter a new year would be a foolish and counterproductive thought. Taking into account the colossal demand for digital content, a company must, without a doubt, stay ahead of the marketing trajectory in 2021.
Why is it important for any company to keep up with B2B marketing trends?
Trend 1: Artificial Intelligence's Rising Prominence
Technology has transformed the world into a global village. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, has made some breakthroughs into B2B marketing, automating tactics with interactive technologies like chatbots.
AI, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, enables data-driven analysis, processes, and operations. At least one out of every five businesses uses AI-powered marketing to gain better insights, perform faster analysis, and automate routine tasks.
AI enables businesses to unlock the value of their data, scale up content for a more versatile outreach strategy, and present a more comprehensive view of customers and how to serve them.
What are their methods for accomplishing this?
More clients will receive faster responses, improved services, and a 24/7 agent to attend to their needs as chatbots become a crucial component of websites, apps, and other business structures.
Customer service and online experiences have been rebooted similar to these AI-bots.
Trend 2: Do not overlook the power of authentic and ingenious content
While networking distinguishes B2B and B2C marketing strategies, content is the common thread that binds them together. Although as marketers, you understand that content is king and that if you don’t treat it with respect, you’ll never succeed in the market.
Now, you could perhaps argue that there is so much clutter out there that you can’t make any noise for your company, but this isn’t the case.
Such ideas necessitate long-term content marketing strategies. Before you say that not all brands are as fortunate, keep in mind that some brands did make it big during the Covid-19 era.
Trying to figure out how they did it?
Such brands, on the other hand, used a simple strategy.
- They created content that was based on keyword research.
- Content pieces with a mix of long and short formats
- Customers, executives, and partners were all sold on the content.
- Increase the number of subscribers and followers for their company.
- Paid promotion strategies were used to get their content to the top of the search results.
And they were able to achieve all of this showbiz on a marketing budget of only $300-$3000.
To summarise, focus on supporting authentic content and you will see rapidly rising ROIs.
Trend 3: Voice search is advantageous
Want to tell Siri to set the alarm, or ask Alexa to play a song, or tell Cortana to open a document?
Well, all of us love to talk to voice-bots. These are like our personal assistants, who do all we want and act as we wish for them.
Although voice search was launched as a food store and note-taker aggregator, consumers are now using this to play their favorite songs, ask questions and get instructions.
That said, the modern audience is very much looking for voice searches, and over a billion searches are performed by voice globally, as per the research.
It’s not fascinating!
Furthermore, this figure is only estimated to cross 5 billion by 2021 and 6.4 billion by 2022.
Such figures demonstrate its opportunistic nature and the importance of including this relatively new trend in B2B marketing strategies. Not to mention Alexa and Google Home, which have already set the standard for voice-activated search. This is why you should weaponize its presence, research related voice search tools, and use them in your marketing efforts to compete globally with other businesses.
But what is the best way to put it into practice?
It’s just as important to optimize voice search results as it is to optimize text search results. Because voice searches are typically sentence-based, you should include long-tail keywords in your search engine optimization strategy.
This will increase the visibility of your website and allow it to reach a broader group of customers, particularly those who conduct such searches.
Trend 4: Tailored marketing for consumer loyalty:
One basic principle of B2B marketing is to pay attention to new customers while worshipping your loyal customers. After all, having something is preferable to having nothing.
Retention marketing is exactly that.
It is based on a simple idea: what is there must be conserved and treasured.
Because it is always easy, convenient, and less exhausting to sell a product to an existing customer than to pitch it to a new individual.
Such classic B2B marketing trends necessitate a set of activities that preserve and enable customer relationships, maintaining continued sales, lower cost per sale, and a consistent ROI funnel.
Your clientele will be more valuable and vast if you improve your customer retention marketing strategies. According to the Harvard Business Review, a 5% increase in customer retention translates to a 25% to 95% increase in profits.
Let’s face it: acquiring new customers is always 5 to 25 times significantly more costly than keeping an existing one. You’ll put in time and money to find a new client, and then some more to keep them happy.
Finally, any business benefits from having a consistent and loyal customer base. And making sure they’re happy should always be your priority.
So, how do you keep a customer base that you already have?
Customer retention strategies are depicted in the image below.
Trend 5: Successfully implementing an Omni-channel marketing strategy
So, which B2B marketing channels are ideal?
This particular question, on the other hand, has resulted in several sleepless nights.
So, let’s put an end to your concerns.
The term omnichannel has been swirling in the marketing world for several years and has become a popular concept in B2B marketing.
You don’t have to limit yourself to just one channel anymore; instead, use an omnichannel marketing strategy to make sure that your customers can find you wherever they are!
Omnichannel marketing is more than a B2B marketing trend; it is a component that enables interactions across multiple devices. Furthermore, businesses that implement omnichannel strategies have 91 percent higher customer retention rates than those that do not.
Adhering to such methods and techniques ensures that you are responding to business leads across all channels, including digital, social, and other internet-based platforms. The more clients you have on board, the better your ROI will be, and the sooner you will be able to surpass the competition.
Don’t confuse omnichannel marketing with multi-channel marketing; the former connects customers across all channels, while the latter makes all channels available to a consumer but not necessarily in an integrated manner.
Trend 6: Acknowledging Predictive Analysis
Have you ever noticed how, after watching a rom-com film or series, your entire feed is decorated with similar themes?
That is, after all, the power of predictive analysis.
Predictive analysis is synonymous with tailored recommendations and it uses previous user behavior patterns, consumption, and purchasing charts to generate relevant results.
While some may argue that Netflix is a B2C company, keep in mind that B2B clients are also consumers, and their purchasing habits are similar to that of consumers.
For those who are unfamiliar with predictive analysis, it entails using historical data and analysis techniques to forecast future consequences. Marketers can gain valuable insights into previous campaigns, forecast consumer trends, study behavioral aspects, and fine-tune future marketing plans strategies based on derived inferences using modern technologies like statistical modeling and machine learning.
Businesses can use predictive analysis to entice, maintain, and nurture new and existing customers. Marketers can also use predictive analytics to improve their marketing efforts by generating more leads, converting more customers, and presenting cross-selling opportunities.
Trend 7: Examine SEO semantics.
There are no second thoughts that Google’s search algorithms will continue to improve in the coming updates. It has an unrivaled ability to analyze user data, a consumer’s location, search intent, and search context. Furthermore, paying attention to its tricky codes and updates is one way to ensure that your company’s search rankings and website performance do not disappoint. After all, over 93 percent of internet users start their search with a search engine query.
One reason to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing is the growing demand for corporate websites and the consumption of digital content (SEM).
Furthermore, because voice search, search intent, and semantic search are rapidly gaining traction, marketers must keep long-tail keywords in mind. It necessitates the use of both content strategy and on-page and off-page SEO strategies by SEO marketers.
Overall, this means that, while short keywords are still important, long-tail keywords and infographic content are more beneficial to your SEO efforts.
Trend 8: Video marketing and augmented reality are becoming more integrated.
Without mentioning video and augmented reality, all digital marketing trends are incomplete. Videos make content more appealing, engaging, and convenient to a wide range of audiences. And it’s a tool that B2B marketers shouldn’t overlook.
Video marketing is crucial, just like your first cup of coffee in the morning, especially for B2B marketing jobs. Video marketing adds a visual element to B2B marketing by capturing a buyer’s journey.
Case studies are being cinematographed and turned into interactive videos that will gain traction in the B2B market by several companies.
What’s more, do you know what makes video so appealing?
The addition of augmented reality elevates videos to new heights. And it’s a must-have tool for B2B companies looking to showcase their products in a visually appealing way.
The bottom line is that augmented reality can help you fill in the blanks in your video, and you should embrace it wholeheartedly.
Trend 9: The consumer's experience comes first, followed by everything else.
We’ve all heard how customer experience shapes a professional reputation, but how about buyer experience?
In recent years, the buyer experience has changed substantially. The communication channel, the thought process behind marketing a product, a buyer’s persona for a service, its impact on end-users, and how well it is envisioned in the market have all changed, allowing businesses to take control of the front-end.
Let’s take a look at it this way.
Google has made it easier for readers to access information by allowing them to ask questions with their voices.
The same-day delivery imperative became a reality thanks to Amazon. Netflix also made binge-watching likable content all night an enjoyable leisure activity for people.
All of these top companies were able to satisfy their customers while also expanding their network. The same concept also benefits the B2B ecosystem.
Even B2B buyers expect speed, accessibility, proper product positioning, efficacy, and the use of cutting-edge technology.
Customer experience is ingrained in the end tip of millennials’ spines because they are mostly B2B buyers.
As a result, businesses must upgrade to digital-first environments and provide modern, exceptional customer experiences.
Trend 10: Paid marketing investments will significantly rise.
Paid ads and organic search are two synonymous terms.
And both contribute to your marketing shenanigans in a variety of ways. Although organic search defines your brand presence, trust, and commitment, paid search ads are a quick and measurable tool for catapulting organic listings in Google SERPs and outshining competitors.
Paid searches are all about putting you in the spotlight, getting the attention you deserve, and sprucing up leads generated. Furthermore, according to studies, search ads receive twice as many clicks as organic listings.
But does this mean you should focus solely on paid search and ignore organic results?
That, on the other hand, will be hazardous to your business. The goal is to increase brand awareness, improve SERP visibility, and drive high traffic by combining paid and organic strategies.
Let’s not forget that 54 percent of businesses are using paid ads in conjunction with content marketing to improve their B2B skills.
Trend 11: An email marketing strategy that is both contemporary and clever.
Gone are the days when emails were considered long and uninteresting pieces of content that were immediately discarded from your inbox. For B2B marketers, emails are an interactive, consistent, and reliable distribution channel.
Even 60 percent of B2B marketers believe in its effectiveness, considering it a profitable revenue-generating outlet.
So, how do you write effective emails that are funny, witty, and catch your customer’s attention?
Let’s take a look at an example.
Zomato is known for its witty and edgy social media posts and tweets. It also carries this wisecrack and hilarious sense into its emails, which is entirely appropriate.
Zomato is one of the few brands known for its humorous and light emails that aren’t just funny and relatable, but also elicit thoughtful responses from the audience.
It personalizes its emails by using more graphics, less content, and ensuring 100% engagement. The subtlety and wit in its emails serve as an example for B2B brands to keep their emails directed at customers in such a way that they will want to read them rather than toss them in the trash.
The question is not so much who does it, including both B2C and B2B companies, but how they do it, and that is what truly matters.
Personalizing your emails boosts your email margins.
When readers see an email that includes their name and mentions their hobbies or interests, there’s a 26% chance it’ll be opened. As a result, it’s a potential treasure trove for your company.
Trend 12: In terms of B2B marketing, LinkedIn outperforms other social media platforms
Let’s be clear about something: LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social media marketing and its related aspects. There is no better channel for bringing expected and unexpected B2B traffic to your company than LinkedIn.
As a result, LinkedIn reigns supreme in B2B marketing, a trend that necessitates constant dedication and attention.
According to reports, LinkedIn generates over 80% of B2B leads, which is nearly seven times more than any other platform. Furthermore, over 91% of marketers use LinkedIn to promote professional content.
Paid LinkedIn marketing strategies appear to be the best option for marketers who are new to B2B marketing and don’t know how to use LinkedIn for increased profits and breakthrough success. These tactics will assist you in reaching out to your core business audience, which includes other B2B buyers, business influencers, clients, and researchers.
Trend 13: The trick is to re-optimize content on the internet and in blogs.
On the internet, there is far too much information.
Given the billions of results returned in response to a user query, we all know that.
As a result, adding drops to an already-existing ocean isn’t going to help. And it’s unlikely that your content will appear on the first page. Fresh content necessitates research, writing, editing, proofreading, and then the long wait for Google to index and rank your article, it will be a long time before you reap the benefits of your labor.
This is where the concept of re-optimization comes into play.
Every B2B marketer understands that if your page does not appear in the top three SERP results, it is effectively invisible to users.
All you need to do now is re-optimize your existing pages, blogs, and content. You can keep the current URL structure, internal and external links, and get your page ranked on Google with little effort if you do it this way.
It’s simple for marketers to update previously published content while maintaining the reputation and ranking of their blog posts and websites. To keep your content framework in order, you must also be aware of the most recent updates.
Trend 14: Local search optimization necessitates consideration as well.
While some businesses concentrate on global SEO, the importance of local SEO is frequently overlooked.
Google My Business is a must-have for any business, especially those that deal directly with customers. Consumers can now find information about local businesses, the products they sell, their physical address, contact information, and reviews thanks to geo-targeting marketing and sales strategies. To influence Google SERPs for a localized audience, local search optimization uses Google Maps and organic factors.
Online business directories such as Yelp, BBB, and BizJournals should be targeted by B2B brands. Fill in their Google My Business listings on sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and others. Although Google Maps marketing is slower and more difficult than general SEO, the results will leave you speechless.
As a result, try to manage your local reputation so that customers can find you more easily. Furthermore, if the Knowledge Panel on the right sidebar of Google SERPs displays non-authentic information or a different location than the actual address, you will lose valuable leads because customers will believe your company is unable to assist them in their journey.
Trend 15: The use of influencer marketing in B2B will emerge.
Influencer marketing is most commonly associated with B2C brands that want to capitalize on the popularity of well-known social media personalities to raise brand awareness, improve reputation, and expand customer base. All of this is correct!
However, the importance of influencer marketing for B2B audiences cannot be overstated. In 2021, B2B companies will collaborate with industry influencers, create micro-segment-specific content, and personalize purchasing experiences by giving customers what they want.
You should concentrate on the type of influencer content that is replicated in B2B arenas. The estimable case study is the most valuable of them all.
Every year, technology advances. Such rapid changes necessitate a sharp eye, a quick mind, and a dynamic B2B marketing strategy. Of course, if you want to do well in 2021, you’ll need to be aware of the best B2B marketing trends.
Consider each of these trends as a tool for preparing your marketing bomb. Every B2B marketing trend, from emails to personalization, aids in the ultimate battle against competition. And, if you’re desperate to beat your opponents, accepting change is the first step.
Remember, if a trend doesn’t kill your B2B marketing strategy, it only strengthens it!