So, what are the top B2B marketing trends you need to know?
Will digital mediums be the forefront of all marketing strategies?
Or, will automation and artificial intelligence comprise the vital elements?
And, how should your business nullify the sweeping facets of the pandemic?
Well, for organizations, 2021 has a lot of unknown variables in its B2B marketing trend equation.
Unlike 2020, which offered global consortiums ideal conditions for physical and face-to-face networking, live sales pitches, and handshakes that sealed the deal; the infectious rife demanded a quantum leap to digital content marketing strategies, search engine optimization, and technology-driven strategies. Not that organizations were unaware of the dilly-dally evolution into digital channels; the pandemic triggered its shift.
That said, 2021 ordains digitally-powered trends that possess the nerve as their previous B2B selling tactics like telling an engaging story, positioning the product correctly to the audience, differentiating it from competitors, focussing on customer retention strategies, and maintaining sync with social media marketing.
Quite truly, the results obtained through such B2B marketing strategies aren’t novel or indifferent to the ones received from outbound marketing; however, they are the need of the market.
As we wait to change our calendars and hop into a new year, clinging to the old B2B marketing trends or practicing them would be a floundering and futile thought. Factoring in the massive drive and demand for digital content: without a second doubt, a business must stay ahead of the marketing curve in 2021.
Why does B2B marketing trends matter for any business?
As conventional outbound business marketing takes a backseat, rewarding B2B digital marketing trends have become a necessity more than a need. A brief understanding of the top B2B tactics helps identify trends, find loopholes, rework marketing strategies, and outpace the competition.
With this in mind, businesses are on a rave hunt for the best B2B marketing trends to leverage their strategies, sell and earn better than the previous year.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at the best marketing trends for 2021.
Trend 1: The growing dominance of Artificial Intelligence
Technology does make the world feel like a global village. That said, artificial intelligence has cut a few inroads into the B2B marketing alley, automating strategies with engaging tools like chatbots. Termed to be the 4th generation of the industrial revolution, AI empowers data-driven analysis, processes, and operations. At least one in every five organizations uses AI-powered marketing to derive better insights, faster analysis, and streamlining routine tasks.
AI helps organizations unlock their data potential, scale-up content for a versatile outreach strategy, and present a better perspective about customers and how to service them.
How do they do that?
With chatbots becoming a quintessential part of websites, apps, and all other such business structures, more clients will receive quicker replies, better services, and a 24/7 agent to attend to their needs.
These AI-bots have hit the reset button for customer service and online experiences.
Trend 2: Don’t ignore the power of ingenuine and original content
True that networking differentiates B2B and B2C marketing strategies, content is one string that connects both of them. And as marketers, you know that content is the king, and if you don’t address it respectfully, there is no way you will make it big in the market.
Now, you might say that there is so much clutter out there, and in such situations, you cannot make some noise for your business, that isn’t the case.
Such notions call for long-term strategic content marketing tactics. And before you say that not all brands get that lucky, some brands did make it big during the Covid-19 phase.
Brainstorming how they did it?
Well, such brands followed a simple trick.
- They published content based on keyword research
- Mixed long-format and short-format content pieces
- Sold that content to customers, executives, and partners
- Build subscribers and followers for their business
- Adopted paid promotion strategies to place their content at the top
And, they achieved all this stardom at a meager $300-$3000 amount of their marketing budget.
Long story short, focus on promoting genuine content, and you will enjoy sky-rocketing ROIs.
Trend 3: Voice search has a practical use
Do you like instructing Siri to set your alarm, or ask Alexa to play some song, or tell Cortana to open a specific document?
Well, we all love conversing with voice-bots. These are like our personal assistants, doing everything we want them to do and acting in the way we desire them to. Although voice search started as a grocery store list aggregator and note-takers, now consumers are using it to play their favorite songs, ask questions, and get directions.
That said, voice search is quite in demand by the modern audience, and as per research, over one billion searches globally are made by voice.
Fascinating is it not!
Moreover, this number is only expected to reach 5 billion by the year 2021 and 6.4 billion in the year 2022.
Such numbers reflect its opportunistic nature and why this novel trend must be a part of B2B marketing strategies. And let’s not forget, Alexa and Google Home have already elevated the graph for voice-activated search. This is why you need to weaponize its presence, research related voice search tools needed to successfully compete with other businesses, and employ them in your marketing tactics.
But how to practice it?
Optimizing search results conducted by voice is as necessary as with text. Voice searches tend to be sentence-based, which is why you need to make long-tail keywords a part of your search engine optimization strategy. This way, your website will gain greater visibility and reach a larger group of customers, especially the ones that conduct such searches.
Trend 4: Targeted marketing for customer retention:
One golden rule of B2B marketing is; listen to your new customers but worship your loyal consumers. After all, having something is better than having nothing, right!
That’s the exact concept of retention marketing.
It works on a simple notion: what’s there needs to be preserved and cherished.
Because selling a product to an existing customer is always simple, easy, and less tiring than pitching it to a new person.
Such timeless B2B marketing trends require a set of activities that maintains and facilitates customer relationships, thus ensuring continued sales, lower cost per sale, and keeping a steady ROI funnel.
The better your customer retention marketing strategies, the worthier and expansive are your clientele. Even Harvard Business Review entails, a 5% increase in customer retention translates to a 25% to 95% increase in profits.
And let’s be realistic, acquiring a new customer is always 5-25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. You will invest time and resources in finding a new client, and then some other money in keeping them happy.
In conclusion, a steady and loyal customer base is a valuable asset for any business. And, keeping them satisfied should always be the first thing on your mind.
So, how can you retain an existing customer base?
The following image talks about customer retention tactics.
Trend 5: Adopting an Omni-channel marketing strategy
So, which channels are perfect for B2B marketing?
Well, this particular question has led to several sleepless nights. Picking one channel is always a baffling question for marketers.
Well, let’s end your worries.
The word; omnichannel, has been buzzing the marketing world for several years and has definitely made a prominent notion in the B2B marketing arenas.
Now, you don’t need to pick just one channel but follow an omnichannel marketing approach to ensure that your clients can find you everywhere!
Omnichannel marketing is not just a B2B marketing trend but facilitates brand-customer interactions across several devices. Moreover, businesses that take up omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater customer retention rates than those who don’t.
Following such methodologies makes sure that you are attending to business leads across all channels, including digital, social, and other internet-based platforms. The more clients you have on-board, the better is your ROI, and the earlier you can outpace the competition.
Now, don’t confuse omnichannel marketing with multi-channel marketing since the former connects customers across all channels, whereas the latter makes all channels available to a consumer but not necessarily in an integrated manner.
Trend 6: Predictive analysis will make mention
Do you like Netflix?
Well, of course, you do!
Now, have you ever wondered how once you mingle with a rom-com movie or series and then your entire feed is decorated with similar themes!
Well, that is the power of predictive analysis.
Predictive analysis is synonyms with personalized recommendations, employing previous user behavior patterns, consumption, and buying charts to provide relatable results.
While some might argue that Netflix is a B2C player, remember that B2B clients are also consumers, and their buying behavior is similar to the consumer attitude.
For those who are still unaware of predictive analysis, it involves predicting future outcomes by considering historical data and analysis techniques. Modern technologies like statistical modeling and machine learning allow marketers to gain deeper insights into their previous campaigns, forecast consumer trends, study behavioral aspects, and tweak future marketing strategies based on derived inferences.
Predictive analysis helps businesses attract, retain, and nurture new and existing customers. Moreover, marketers can use predictive analysis to optimize their marketing campaigns, generate more leads, drive more conversions, and present cross-selling opportunities.
Trend 7: Research SEO semantics
Without a second doubt, Google’s search algorithms are only going to get smarter in the future updates. Its capacity to analyze user data, a consumer’s location, search intent, and search context is unparalleled. Moreover, taking its tricky codes and updates into notice is one way your business won’t be appalled with your search rankings and website’s performance. After all, over 93% of users commence their internet journey with a search engine query.
The increasing consumption of digital content and the growing need for corporate websites is one reason why you need to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM).
Moreover, since voice search, search intent, and semantic search is also gaining momentum speedily, marketers need to keep the long-tail keywords in check as well. It requires SEO marketers to practice both content strategy and on-page and off-page SEO strategies.
All in all, it means that although short keywords are still necessary, long-tail keywords and infographics content is more rewarding for your SEO strategies.
Trend 8: Video marketing and augmented reality gets inline
All digital marketing trends are incomplete without video and augmented reality mentions. Videos do make content more eye-catching, engaging, and accessible for several audience groups. And, this is one tool that B2B marketers should not miss.
Video marketing is important, as important as your first cup of coffee in the morning, especially for B2B marketing gigs. Video marketing brings in a visual aspect into B2B marketing realms, reeling in a buyer’s journey. Several businesses cinematograph case studies and turn them into interactive videos that will gain traction in the B2B market.
And, when you know 70% of the B2B buyers watch product videos as a part of the research, you cannot lose a lead just because you couldn’t conceptualize it for a mobile-based video-loving audience. So, keep those videos coming!
And, you know what makes the video format so interesting?
It’s the addition of augmented reality that takes videos to another level. And that is an absolute tool for B2B companies who want to show off their products in a visually impressive manner.
The bottom line is, augmented reality does add the missing stars to your video creation, and you should completely dig it.
Trend 9: Buyer experience first, everything else afterward
We’ve all heard how customer experience molds your brand’s reputation, but what are your thoughts about buyer experience?
Buyer experience has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past few years. The communication channel, the thoughts put into marketing a product, a buyer’s persona about a service, its impact on the end-users, and how well it is projected in the market to all changed, allowing businesses to take control of the front-gear.
Let’s review it this way!
Google has simplified information availability for readers, even allowing users to ask questions using their voice. Amazon made the same-day delivery mandate turn to reality. And, Netflix made streaming all-night with likable content an amazing pass-time for people.
All these top companies satisfied their customers and expanded its network. And, the same idea furthers the B2B habitat as well.
All buyers, even B2B ones, demand speed, convenience, proper positioning of the product, its efficiency, and employing up-to-date technology. Since most of the millennials are B2B buyers, customer experience is ingrained into the end tip of their spine.
So, businesses need to upgrade to such digital-first environments and offer modern and exemplary customer experiences.
Trend 10: Investments in paid marketing will rise
Organic search and paid ads are two sides of the same coin.
And both bring in several benefits to your marketing shenanigans. Although organic search defines reputation, trust, and commitment customers have for your brand, paid search ads are a quick and measurable tool to leap miles better than organic listings in Google SERPs and outpace competitors.
Paid searches are all about putting you right on the spot, getting all the attention you deserve, and spruce up leads generated. Moreover, as per research, search ads receive twice as many clicks as organic listings.
But does that mean you need to focus on paid marketing and ignore organic searches altogether?
Well, that will be dangerous for your business. The idea is to combine paid and organic strategies and elevate brand awareness levels, improve SERP visibility, and garner high traffic. And, let’s keep one thing in mind, 54% of companies are leveraging paid ads along with content marketing to ace up their B2B skills.
Trend 11: A modern and witty email marketing plan
Gone are those days when emails were considered to be lengthy and boring pieces of content that straightaway went to your mailbox trash. Emails today are an engaging, consistent, and trustworthy distribution channel for B2B marketers. Even 60% of B2B marketers vouch for its power, considering it to be a profitable generating revenue-generating outlet.
So, how can you script efficient emails that contain humor, wittiness and grabs your customer’s sight?
Let’s take an example.
Zomato is known for its amusing and jocosity tweets and social media posts. And, quite responsibly, it carries this wisecrack and comical sense to its emails as well. Zomato is one of the few brands known for its spoofy and light emails, which aren’t just funny and relatable, but engages the audience into thoughtfulness. It keeps its emails personalized with more graphics, less content, and 100% engagement. The subtleness and drollness in its emails is one inspiration for B2B brands to keep their emails directed towards the customers in a way that they would want to read them and just sent them to the trash.
Now most users would debate that Zomato is a B2C brand and quite well known for its delivery service!
Well, the question is not what brand, including both B2C and B2B business, does it, but how do they do it, and that is what makes all the difference.
Email personalization increases your email margins.
When readers glance at an email that includes their name, talks about their hobbies or likes, there are 26% chances of it being opened. And that makes it an effective goldmine for your business.
Trend 12: LinkedIn beats other social media channels in terms of B2B marketing
Let’s make one thing clear; LinkedIn is the best platform for B2B social media marketing marketing and its associated aspects. No better channel can get your business the expected and unexpected B2B traffic other than LinkedIn. Hence, LinkedIn owns the crown for B2B marketing, a trend that needs constant devotion and attention.
As per reports, over 80% of B2B leads are generated from LinkedIn, which is almost seven times higher than any other platform. Moreover, over 91% of marketers choose LinkedIn to advertise professional content.
For marketers who are new to B2B marketing and don’t know how to employ LinkedIn for better profits and groundbreaking success, opting for paid LinkedIn marketing strategies seems like an ideal thing to do. Such practices will help you target the core business audience: other B2B buyers, business influencers, clients, and researchers.
Trend 13: Re-optimizing of content on the web and blogs does the trick
There is too much content on the web.
Well, we all know that, considering the billions of results displayed in response to a user query.
So, adding drops to an already existing ocean isn’t going to serve the purpose. And, it certainly will not land your content on the first page. Since fresh content demands research, writing, editing, proofreading, and then the tedious wait for Google to index your article and rank your page, it’ll be long gone before you bear fruits for what you’ve planted.
And, this is where re-optimization comes into the picture.
Every B2B marketer knows that if your page does not rank in the top three spots of SERPs, it is non-existent for users.
So, all you have to do is re-optimize existing pages, blogs, and content. This way, you can keep the existing URL structure, internal and external links, and with little effort, get your page ranked on Google.
Updating already published content is easy for marketers to practice and still revamp the reputation and rank of your blog posts and websites. Also, you need to be aware of the latest updates to keep your content framework in check.
Trend 14: Local search optimization needs attention too
While some businesses focus on global SEO, its local component is often overlooked.
Google My Business is a necessary aspect of any business, especially those who attend consumers directly. Thanks to geo-targeting marketing and sales strategies, consumers can now find information about local businesses, the products they sell, their physical address, contact info, and reviews. Local search optimization employs Google Maps and organic factors to impact Google SERPs for a localized audience.
B2B brands need to target online business directories like Yelp, BBB, BizJournals. Glassdoor, Indeed, etc., and populate them with their Google My Business listings. Although Google Maps marketing is slower and a little daunting than global SEO, the results will make you walk over the moon.
So, try to manage your local reputation, and it will be easier for customers to find you. Moreover, if the Knowledge Panel on the right sidebar of Google SERPs displays non-authentic information, or it shows a different location than the actual address; you will lose valuable leads since customers would feel that your business is not equipped to help them in their journey.
Trend 15: Influencer marketing for B2B business will elevate
Influencer marketing is mostly associated with B2C brands who want to thrive over the followership of prominent social media personalities, embark brand awareness, elevate your business reputation, and expand the customer base. Well, all of this is true!
But, what is also true is the importance of influencer marketing for the B2B audience. In 2021, B2B businesses will collaborate with notable influencers in the industry, create content that caters to micro-segments and personalize purchasing experiences by giving customers what they want.
For B2B arenas, you need to focus on the type of influencer content reproduced. And, the most valuable amongst them is the venerable case study.
Technology leaps forward every year. Such speedy revolutions demand a keen eye, agile mind, and dynamic B2B marketing strategy in place. Of course, you need to need to be aware of the best B2B marketing trends if you want to score high in 2021.
Consider all these trends as tools that together help prepare your marketing bomb. From emails to personalization, every B2B marketing trend helps prepare for the ultimate war against competition. And, if you desperately want to defeat your opponents, embracing change defines its start.
And remember, a trend that does not kill your B2B marketing strategy only makes it stronger!
Author: Yash Chawlani
Yash Chawlani is a Digital Marketing Specialist who has gained significant experience working as a freelancer for Industry regulars. He specializes in SEO, Link Building, Social Media Optimization, and helps brands and businesses out there with his top-notch content strategies. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.… View full profile ›