In the “change is the only constant” department, we’re seeing B2B marketing evolve in approach, philosophy, and focus - with new trends promising to impact businesses in 2021 and beyond. Some of these new trends come from the increasing sway of B2C marketing, others from emerging technology, and still others from the pandemic. Whatever their provenance, these trends should keep B2B marketers on their feet if they are to stay ahead of competition.
Here’s a list of the latest B2B marketing trends in no particular order:
The power of AI
B2B marketers can no longer ignore the potential benefits of AI in terms of providing better-quality leads, stronger customer engagement, deeper understanding of buyer intent, higher conversion rates, and more. In fact, although less than one in five organizations deploys AI for marketing and sales, two-thirds of B2B marketers are either intending to or already using AI in their efforts. Already, AI-powered tools can provide client insights, create relevant content, perform predictive analytics, and more.
The power of agile
Agile marketing is an approach in which teams drive growth by focusing and completing high-value projects to achieve speed to market while continuously and gradually improving results. This helps B2B marketers streamline processes and achieve speed, flexibility, and adaptability - qualities critical to B2Bs given their need to respond quickly and seamlessly to fast technology advances and changing market shifts. Small wonder that a huge chunk - 85 percent - of marketers is planning to increase adoption of agile in the next 24 months.
The power of buyer experience
The buyer’s experience - in terms of same-day delivery, superior service, easy availability of information - is critical in B2C customer satisfaction. It holds true as well in the B2B environment, where clients select the vendor who can deliver speed, convenience, customer support, the latest technology, and easy-to-navigate purchase processes. Marketers can leverage the buyer experience by creating websites that focus on client needs, content that facilitates client decision making, and seamless touchpoints across the entire buyer’s journey.
The power of content
Yes, everyone is doing content. You can break through the clutter. Publishing keyword-researched content and publishing consistently, putting increased emphasis on brand-growing and trust-building thought leadership content, avoiding direct sales messaging, profiling key individuals in the company, building communities, and encouraging follower engagement are just some of the content strategies that enable brands to attract audiences and achieve success.
The power of nostalgia
Customers are human, whether they’re B2C or B2B, and today’s uncertainties are causing them to look longingly at the safety, comfort, and familiarity of the “good old days.” B2B marketers who use nostalgia marketing, which taps into the past to capture audience attention, can make their products more relatable by using authenticity, nostalgic visuals, and even bringing back fondly remembered discontinued products or services. Experts say that nostalgia makes people feel good - and that’s always a winning marketing strategy. Just ask data backup company Intronis who achieved a 650% ROI by running a nostalgia (retro) campaign.
The power of chatbots
Businesses can enhance customer and client satisfaction through increased consumer engagement, fast and efficient response to questions, and 24/7 customer service. This can only be possible by enlisting the help of chatbots - software apps that can take the place of humans in conducting online conversations and interacting with people. Today’s B2B marketer must make sure that chatbots are an integral part of the company’s web design to ensure superior online experience for clients. After all, research indicates that 80% of business buyers expect real-time responses from companies they communicate with.
The power of retention
The pandemic has forced B2B brands to rethink their business and marketing strategies. With budgets on hold and the prospect of new customers uncertain, retaining current customers has achieved greater importance. It’s easier to sell to existing clients than to hook new ones; and that you can also sell more, longer, and at a higher profit, to clients with whom you already have a good relationship. Research results show that a 5 percent increase in customer retention may increase profit by 25 to 95 percent. By using retention tools such as continuous communication, customer support, customer surveys and feedback, loyalty programs, personalized content, social proof, and others, your company may prove that right.
If you’re a B2B marketer facing today’s uncertainties, reduced budgets, and assertive competition, take a look at these marketing trends and see how you can deploy them to help you stay ahead.