B2B marketing has experienced dramatic changes over the years, thanks to shifts in the core factors that affect B2B market structure and dynamics. On top of the list is technological advancement, which has changed the attitude of customers on marketing and service delivery.
A shift in market demographic follows closely. Today, about 70% of millennials take part in B2B decision-making processes. This new class of influencers has different expectations from the preceding generation. They also have almost non-existent brand loyalty.
As a result, B2B marketers have to implement new approaches to remain relevant. Here are six trends that will shape B2B marketing in 2020, which you should consider adding to your marketing arsenal:
As the world of commerce shifts to customer-centric models, the customer’s perspective becomes an essential consideration in designing a marketing strategy. Studies have indicated that about 72% of customers expect businesses to tailor their communications to suit their needs.
The findings also indicated that businesses that were considerate of their customers’ needs enjoyed better customer retention. Therefore, it is expected that most B2B businesses will invest more in developing buyer personas and tailoring their content to the preferences of each persona.
Besides increasing the lifetime-value of a customer, personalised marketing also increases the rate of lead conversions. This is because it helps to create a unique experience for every prospect. It also makes your business stand out from the crowd of companies that are stuck to the traditional marketing strategies.
2. Video Content
Video-based marketing is gaining traction in the B2B sector. In fact, seven in ten B2B buyers watch at least one video during their product research. Consequently, the need for video content is bound to rise this year and beyond.
Videos make it possible to present in-depth demos of your product, market upcoming events, or educate your clientele. Again, millennials have a low reading culture, which makes videos an excellent way of attracting their attention.
Another category of video content that most B2B businesses will consider in 2020 is live streaming. It enables you to share your customer’s experience. Due to its high authenticity, live streams help to create genuine and measurable engagement with clients and prospects.
Augmented Reality is also a variant of video content that will experience increased usage from 2020 onwards. AR is a suitable marketing tool for physical products or facilities. This technology allows your buyers to take a digital trial of the product or a virtual tour of your facility before making a purchase.
Podcasts are becoming an invaluable marketing tool in today’s society, where most people prefer to learn and make decisions while on the move. Having an audio version of your marketing campaign complements your video and text contents as those who do not have time can opt to listen. Besides, unlike radio, they can download and store audios to listen to later.
Another advantage of podcasts is that they offer measurable engagements. Based on the number of downloads or subscriptions, you can measure the performance of your marketing strategy and adjust accordingly.
Podcasts can be subscription-based, & your audience can be notified each time you upload new audio on a new product or feature. It consequently eliminates the need for a new marketing campaign.
Linking a podcast to your blog will extend their reach to both current and prospective clients. It will also increase engagement with your online community. Besides, podcasting is an excellent replacement for video content for small B2B businesses, or when you are on a constrained marketing budget.
With so many dynamics and nuances in the digital marketing sector, every B2B marketing strategy needs some level of automation. Unfortunately, the implementation of automation systems is lower in B2B brands than other business models.
The first part that will benefit from automation is content marketing. HubSpot, for example, offers several tools and technologies that you can use to automate your content. With these, you can automate your keyword search, content distribution, and performance measurement.
Email marketing is another area that benefits from automation. Statistics by Campaign Monitor indicate that the open rate and click-through-rates of automated emails are higher than that of non-automated ones by 70% and 152% respectively.
Scheduling and personalising of emails is one of the many benefits of email automation. Certain email marketing tools, such as the one HubSpot provides, also allows the creation of workflows and triggers that send a set of emails based on the prospect’s action.
5. Account-Based Marketing
Exclusively managing each account is a growing trend in B2B businesses. In a survey by Demand Gen Report, out of the 100 B2B marketers who participated in the survey, only six indicated that they were not using this marketing strategy.
The implementation of Account-Based Marketing by B2B marketers in 2020 is bound to increase since its ROI is too good to ignore. Its return on investment is 97% higher than other marketing strategies.
The other benefit of using ABM is that it improves the collaboration between the sales and marketing departments. It enhances the sharing and use of marketing materials by these departments and ensures that they focus only on quality leads.
Also, at a time when customers expect personalised and consistent content, a business loses whenever the actions of these two core departments are disjointed.
The customer service and support teams are one of the most critical departments in a business. In the online space, they need to deal with several complaints or queries at the same time. Thanks to chatbots, you can save your team time and let them focus on other significant issues. Chatbots also make 24/7 customer support service affordable even to small B2B businesses.
In addition to making up for human limitations, chatbots also save your business money. A 2016 report by the Business Insider indicated that about 80% of businesses plan to invest in personalised chatbots by 2020, and this would save them over $38 billion.
B2B marketing is continuously changing, and you can keep up by watching the trends and adjusting accordingly. This will keep your business synchronised with the expectations of customers and prospects, and ahead of competitors as well.