Technology transforms. And never, in the history of mankind, has there been a transformation more dramatic than that experienced in the past few decades. Everybody is an integral part of the internet today, and smart devices form an integral part of everybody’s life. Information, therefore, has become easily accessible to the B2B decision-makers who, in quest of better quality, on average, perform 12 searches online before they engage with the website. On the other hand, businesses promote brand awareness to millions of customers through digital media.
Another interesting observation in the B2B landscape is that more than 70% of millennials are the decision-makers or thought leaders of their respective organizations. This is a significant shift in the B2B marketing space today as compared to the earlier days. Technology can be held responsible here as millennials are quite tech-savvy compared to Gen X. No matter who the decision-maker is, B2B businesses must keep making an impact upon their audience and succeed in getting their notice and engage them.
The digital landscape is a vast expanse with opportunities galore. And that is the reason why most of the brands are allocating higher budgets for digital marketing. A report by Statista says global spending on digital ads will be $385 billion in 2020, and gradually increasing, will reach $517 billion by 2023.
Let us find out the digital marketing trends that will have a substantial impact on businesses this year.
1 – Hyper-Personalization will Enable Bespoke Communication
72% of the buyers in the B2B industry expect companies to communicate in a personalized way that is in accord with their preferences.
It is a truth undeniable that a brand catering to the needs of the buyers wins them and retains them as well in the long run. Technology has made it possible for brands to leverage personalization into marketing campaigns. Tailoring your communications based on buyer’s preferences will be a trend in 2020 and ahead. Because neither learning about your target market will be difficult in 2020 nor delivering bespoke messages, so generic communication will be an old-school approach finding no place in the new era.
2 – Account-Based Marketing will Take Personalization One Step Ahead
“The more, the merrier” does not always hold true. Especially for a business that generates leads in greater numbers and still struggles with the actual conversions that ultimately turns out to be dismal at the end of the day. Blaming the sales team makes things even worse. The paradigm of Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is surfacing in the marketing sphere that is not only quite popular, but also practiced in some of the marketing companies extensively. And it will gain further momentum and adoption in 2020 and the years ahead.
The very first thing that ABM achieves is it aligns the sales and the marketing teams in their quest towards enhancing the revenue. Directed towards engaging specific targeted accounts, marketers using ABM work in sync with the sales team, closely identifying the key prospects, and then tailoring customized campaigns.
How Traditional Marketing differs from Account-Based Marketing?
A Demand Gen Report’s survey on ABM in the year 2016 had only 47% of respondents having an ABM strategy in place. The 2019 ABM Benchmark Survey Report says only 6% do not use ABM as a marketing strategy. So the adoption of ABM has been significant over the period of three years.
3 – Email Marketing will Gain the Magic Potion of Technology
In a study conducted by MailChimp on emails from 50 different industries, the average open rate was found out to be just 21.33%. Because the rest of the populace were apparently fed up already of seeing those generic emails!
On a positive note, HubSpot research placed emails as the most preferred method of communication with B2B decision-makers. As per the survey The year 2020 ushers even greater opportunities with email marketing as AI and dynamic content promise to make it stronger, better, and more useful. Serving different content to different segments in the same campaign and gaining insights from data points when the email is opened will become a commonplace phenomenon.
B2B companies will, therefore, invest heavily on email marketing tools leveraging emerging technologies for better outreach.
4 – Interactive Content will Become Indispensable for B2B Marketing Success
2020 will be the year of interactive content. Therefore, Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and video content will become popular. Google is already giving higher ranks to video content as compared to text-based content. By 2023, video content through virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and motion picture is expected to be used by brands to tell their story, thus making it into a $160 billion industry. These technologies and the techniques based upon them give an immersive experience to the audience who are much more likely to engage with your brand.
A HubSpot report of 2019 stated that for 51% of B2B marketers, creating visual assets was the topmost priority in their content marketing strategy. In 2020 and ahead, this number will go on increasing significantly.
5 – B2B Social Media Can Still Do a Lot for Your Business
Often considered more viable for B2C marketing, the year 2020 will witness more and more B2B brands jumping on the Social Media bandwagon. Talking about Social Media for B2B brings one name on everyone’s lips—LinkedIn. And why not when 94% of the marketers preferred LinkedIn for posting their content because 80% of the business leads came from LinkedIn.
Facebook and Instagram can equally help you in building your brand image and establishing your authority in your niche market. With a strategic approach and defined objectives, you can leverage social media right from generating leads to enhancing customer service.
6 – Influencer Marketing will Continue to Move Upwards on the Growth Curve
An influencer marketing report on 800 marketing agencies found out that only 8% had doubts about the effectiveness of influencer marketing. Rest 92% had a firm belief in influencer marketing. Also, from 2016 to 2019, B2B influencer marketing has grown steadily, and the number of platforms has more than doubled. So, there seems no apparent reason why this growth will not continue in 2020 and the years after.
Despite giving your 100%, campaigns will not reach everyone. Moreover, even if they reach the right audience, most of the decision-makers will refrain from taking a step ahead unless there is a strong recommendation from someone they trust. The year 2020 will witness a strong preference of the B2B brands to work with influencers.
7 – Chatbots will Become Significant in Engaging Customers
Say you are booking a demo on a messaging app, or resolving customer issues, or generating new leads. You can thus picture a custom-made chatbot at work, considering yourself a robot, of course! For instance, you have fed several templates to the bot, and based on AI and Machine Learning-based algorithms, it is communicating with a prospective customer. To your surprise, it is asking the right questions and giving the right answers to satisfy the customer.
There are myriads of opportunities with a chatbot in the B2B space. And that is why, by 2021, it is predicted that businesses will invest $400 million in chatbots. Further, a Business Insider report stated that by 2020, 80% of enterprises would have personalized chatbots, thus saving up to $38 billion.
8 – Predictive Intelligence/Analytics will Take Personalization to Greater Levels
The power to predict was one of the most desirable yet unattainable abilities in the folklore. For B2B companies, this power can revolutionize the business, making buyers literally line-up to your business since you would know in advance what they want and what they will do next to attain it. A distant dream? Not anymore!
Predictive Analytics is making it a reality. In terms of value, Gartner places Predictive Analytics quite higher in the graph below.
Predictive intelligence belonging to the lineage of AI allows you to predict customer behavior based on their historical data. It helps in enhancing segmentation and lead scoring, and in developing accurate personas. The result, therefore, will be greater customer retention and less churn.
A Predictive Intelligence Benchmark Report based on the data collected from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform gave the following insights:
- 36 months after implementing Predictive intelligence, an increase in revenue of 40.38% can be achieved.
- Recommendations based on Predictive intelligence influence 34% of purchases.
- Conversion rate increases by 22.66% for website sessions influenced by Predictive intelligence.
9 – Geo-Fencing will Gain More Traction
With prominent players like Apple, Thumbvista, Pulsate, etc. already investing heavily on geo-fencing, there is no denying the fact that geo-fencing will gain popularity in the future. Although not a new concept, geo-fencing has been leveraged by marketers to show ads to people based upon where they live.
As per a recent geo-fencing market research report, the demand for location-based apps will surge in the future, opening the doors of tremendous opportunities that will drive the growth of geo-fencing in both local and global B2B markets.
Between the years 2016 and 2023, the global geo-fencing market is estimated to grow consistently at a CAGR of 27% to USD 2,387 million.
Trends come and go, what remains forever is an attitude to value the prospects or patrons and serve them best. B2B marketing is a steep ground, and decision-makers here expect authentic, timely, and personalized communication that helps them in achieving their goals, apart from enhancing their expertise. Besides inculcating what you have learned from these nine trends for 2020, try to focus on targeting your audience better and deliver them the best.