- Industry estimates suggest that digital advertising spend is expected to grow by around 30% this year as digital remains the preferred channel for B2B engagement and sales.
- Pankaj Kapoor, growth marketing evangelist and CMO of Reliance Securities, writes about the importance of tracking marketing performance today.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced marketers to rethink and realign their marketing strategies. The temporary locks that extended over the year led to considerable disruptions in business processes and significantly changed the marketing landscape of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-business consumer (B2B2C) / franchise companies, since digital to main and customer behavior has been irrevocably changed.
Shift in the landscape
A lot had changed for B2B brands by the end of 2020 as traditional B2B commerce faced challenges due to disruption caused by lockdowns. With a shift in customers’ preference for digital interaction and digital services, performance marketing has become the channel of choice for B2B marketing teams. Marketers have increasingly focused on eB2B, which is cost effective and a more effective way to increase customer sales. Almost all B2B sales teams switched to remote sales and India led the way on this scale. The pandemic has also brought some earlier marketing practices to the fore, such as omni-channel sales, indoor sales, tech-enabled sales, and e-commerce.
Continuation of the 2020 trends
Just as marketers are getting used to the “new normal”, a second wave of COVID-19 infections is triggering a new round of uncertainties about business continuity and recovery. This means the transition in marketing practices that began last year will continue through 2021 and beyond until the uncertainties of COVID-19 subside.
Brands in this space are expected to continue investing in new technology and digital channels powered by artificial intelligence (AI), data analytics, machine learning, robotics for marketing, and performance tracking. These were some of the triggers for B2B e-commerce growth in 2020, which grew 200% faster compared to B2C e-commerce.
Industry estimates suggest that digital advertising spend is expected to grow by around 30% this year as digital remains the preferred channel for B2B engagement and sales.
Organizations are likely to invest heavily in marketing automation tools to create and curate more impactful content for better ROI. Forrester research shows that global marketing automation spending is projected to grow to $ 25 billion by 2023.
Videos and podcasts, social media marketing, content marketing, focus on lead conversions and customer satisfaction, marketing automation, etc. are some of the most important B2B marketing practices that will be further accentuated this year.
Tracking marketing performance is key
In 2021, when the effects of the second wave of COVID-19 infections wear off, B2B companies will likely focus on balancing all of their marketing strategies in order to optimize ROI on marketing investments, diversify lead generations, and achieve greater synergies with business goals to achieve.
Marketing performance review is likely to become a common practice for B2B brands as digital continues to be the primary interface for customer-to-business dealings.
Continued digital loyalty is likely to transform traditional ways of measuring performance, and new tracking benchmarks will be established to measure customer reach and the effectiveness of marketing plans.
Reset performance benchmarks
Marketing Performance Management (MPM) involves measuring, managing and analyzing performance indicators to ensure the effectiveness of marketing programs. To maximize marketing performance, B2B brands focus on resetting performance benchmarks and investing in processes and systems to continuously track and adjust key performance indicators. By setting new performance benchmarks for every marketing program and investment, B2B marketing teams can re-plan strategies for achieving business goals. Online traffic, lead conversion rates, customer loyalty, number of customer meetings, etc. are some of the marketing metrics that can be used to measure marketing performance and better manage the bottom line. Third-party tools and new technology-driven platforms such as website data analytics, CRM tracking, mobile call trackers, mobile app trackers, and KPI dashboard analytics tools are becoming increasingly popular for measuring performance. The increased use of third-party tools helps measure the ROI from paid marketing activities.
The pandemic has led B2B companies to re-evaluate their marketing strategies in order to improve marketing performance and measure the effectiveness of new marketing practices. The ongoing uncertainties also suggest that companies will have to adjust to new economic realities in order to keep an eye on the company’s overall performance.
As a result, in 2021, companies will choose more accurate and holistic options for measuring performance in order to maximize their ROI on every marketing cent spent and make systematic improvements for long-term impact.