The new decade is now underway, so it’s time to take a look at the B2B marketing trends and predictions that will be key for your business to drive success, build brand awareness, and boost the bottom line.
In the year ahead, B2B marketing trends from recent years will continue to evolve in sophistication and effectiveness. Likewise, B2C marketing trends will continue to flex their influence over B2B marketing ideation as buyers expect more consumer-style experiences. So what do you need to know before you launch your 2020 marketing plan? Here are the top trends and predictions that will allow you to stand out from the competition in the new year.
1. Strategic Focus and Smart Content Distribution
Adopting lean marketing principles will be key to succeed in 2020 and effectively drive bottom-line results. Over the last several years, buyer demands have vastly shifted and new tactics, tools, channels, and technologies have been created to provide a wide array of resources to get in front of audiences. However, this surplus availability of resources has caused many marketers to become overwhelmed and come up short in delivering results. Trying to do any and everything within your marketing activities only leads to wasted time, energy, and resources. For instance: How many professional buyers are you really reaching by promoting your content on Facebook?
In the new year, B2B marketers need to take a breath and hone in on their marketing strategy. This means putting more focus on actionable insights that allow for smarter decision making and less on vanity metrics like social media followers or page views that look good on paper. MarTech tools will be critical to eliminate waste and abandon manual processes. Moreover, greater emphasis needs to be placed on lean principles like iteration, testing, and continual improvement. Strategic focus and smart content distribution will be imperative to unlock your marketing’s value and potential for contributing to bottom-line success.
2. Highlight Your Customer Experience
We now live in the “age of the customer” and Customer Experience has become a major key factor in gaining genuine competitive differentiation and advantage. While B2C firms have known this for many years, B2B organizations are only now starting to realize that a customer-centric approach is what earns them wins.
Buyers today want to know that your company will provide them a personalized and engaging experience. They want to be confident that working with your firm means you have a highly committed, client-focused workforce that will provide solutions to their unique business problems. Throughout 2020 you need to consider customer experience within every aspect of your business and provide a much more holistic view of experience with unanimity across all departments, teams, processes, and touchpoints in the customer journey.
3. Interactive Visual and Video Content
B2B marketers are increasingly turning to interactive visual and video content to better engage target audiences while still providing relevant, thought-leadership oriented content. Buyers enjoy having interactive content to help inform their buying decisions. It creates a more valuable buying experience. Moreover, adding interactive content not only boosts engagement but also provides deeper insights into what motivates prospective buyers’ decisions. While this content strategy is already popularly used in B2B marketing activities, expect it to dominate in 2020 as firms more aggressively invest in interactive content. Some of the interactive, visual and video content trends you should consider include:
- Quizzes and assessments for engagement and lead generation
- Short-form video for use on websites and social media channels
- Motion Graphics and Animation to explain products/services, processes, and complex data
- Live-streaming events in lieu of webinars
- Increased usage of micro-interactions, animations, meaningful transitions, and background videos on B2B websites.
- Increased usage of visual-specific social media channels like Instagram as well as more video content shared on platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
4. User-Generated Content
User-generated content is going to be an important tool in your marketing toolbox this year. Many agree that it’s the most authentic form of content and most influential on buyers’ purchasing decisions. User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like: content developed outside of the company by users on behalf of the company itself. It provides audiences proof in the credibility of your product or service. Customers will feel more motivated towards purchasing if they’ve heard about the positive buying experiences of other customers or how your product/service successfully solved others’ business problems. Some examples of user-generated content include:
- Case Studies
- Written & Video Customer Testimonials
- Guest Blog Posts
- Conversations Through Digital Interactions
No matter the form of user-generated content, it can provide your business with a wealth of benefits. It puts the customer front and center. Leveraging user-generated in your 2020 marketing pan will help audiences connect with your brand to better understand who you are and what value you provide. Equally, it creates an opportunity for audiences to build a community centered around your brand.
5. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
B2C marketers use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for a wide range of different purposes like personalized product recommendation lists, intelligent chatbots, and hyperlocal targeting. But B2B firms have been slow to adopt AI and machine learning in their marketing strategies. However, AI and machine learning are now grabbing many B2B marketers’ attention because of the deeper insights, detailed analytics, content personalization, hyper-segmentation, and other benefits gained through their use.
As more B2B-specific technologies and applications continue to emerge, expect AI and machine learning to be the cornerstone of B2B marketing strategies in 2020. The AI within these tools will be capable of analyzing significant amounts of data and useful for things such as predictive analytics, intelligent lead scoring, and campaign optimization. They also provide a valuable tool for sales teams to better close deals with prospects through rich insights and detailed metrics about the buying journey. These are only a few examples of the vast capabilities of AI and machine learning. Consider how these technologies can benefit your organization and streamline processes throughout 2020.
Keeping up to date with emerging or continuing B2B marketing trends is your only way of staying on top of the game. If you’re willing to adapt and evolve with the digital world you will successfully attract high-quality customers, build strong brand awareness, and drive bottom-line results.
Ready to use these strategies in your 2020 go-to-market plan, but not sure how? Schedule a conversation with one of our marketing experts today.