With 2020 drawing to a close, many of us are preparing for another whirlwind of a year in 2021. Whilst this year has proven life is very unpredictable and you can never be certain of anything, as humans, we can’t help but try and predict the future. So, with the help of technology, industry experts and countless reports, here’s a list of 5 key B2B marketing trends we will be looking out for in 2021.
Content is king
2020 has seen many brands setting themselves apart from their competitors by rewarding and educating their consumers with insightful and valuable content. With more people working from home than ever before, informative content (such as blogs and reports) is becoming increasingly important to consumers, as many are relying on it as their source of news and information.
The key to a successful content strategy is creating value for your audience. Agreeing, 83% of marketers surveyed for a report by the Content Marketing Institute said publishing content that provides value to their customers contributed significantly to the success of their content marketing efforts.
Artificial intelligence (AI)
Technology: where would we be without it. Each day technology becomes more advanced, meaning it becomes more useful to us and we become more dependent on it. With technology enabling consumers to get results at the touch of a button, expectations are becoming increasingly high; for example, research from Salesforce found that 80% of business buyers expect real-time responses from brands they interact with, and thanks to AI (chatbots), this is now becoming a reality.
AI not only helps to improve the consumer experience, but can also help your business to become more efficient, agreeing, 72% of decision-makers say it enables their employees to concentrate on more meaningful tasks. From chatbots to predictive analytics, AI has proven fundamental to the success of many marketing departments across the globe, and it’s only getting better.
Embracing a new virtual world
As consumers have become more accustomed to video calls and virtual events, it’s highly likely that changes in preferences (along with further potential restrictions resulting from COVID-19) will influence a more ‘virtual’ approach to B2B marketing in 2021.
As many consumers have faced restricted social interactions throughout 2020, people are craving involvement and are relying on businesses to make them feel more engaged by providing opportunities for them to feel part of a community. From encouraging conversations on social media to hosting virtual events, by creating virtual conversations and communities and encouraging interaction, businesses can help consumers to feel more connected whilst obtaining invaluable data and effectively tracking key metrics with ease.
Big on branding
2020 has seen many businesses make a big investment in branding, and that’s showing no signs of changing in 2021. Deloitte notes ‘trust’ and ‘purpose’ as two of the biggest global marketing trends for the coming year – both of which can be addressed through powerful branding.
In a time of such uncertainty, consumers are relying on the businesses they trust the most to provide a sense of purpose and clarity. Whether you are a startup or an established business, you need to be able to clearly communicate why you exist, who you are there to help and how you are going to do it, but to truly gain the trust of your audience, you need to ensure you are delivering everything you are communicating to them.
Video is the most consumed type of content on the internet, and by 2022 it’s predicted to account for 82% of all online traffic. Video content will not only benefit your SEO, but also your sales, with 70% of B2B consumers saying they watch videos to help inform their purchasing decisions. Currently, the most popular videos are how-tos, professional reviews and product features, but there are endless possibilities for your content – remember, just because you’re in the B2B market, doesn’t mean you should hold back on creativity.
With just under two months left to (hopefully) enjoy the rest of 2020, it’s time to start digging out the Christmas decorations, listening to some festive tunes, and most importantly, preparing your marketing strategy for 2021. If you need some assistance with kickstarting your marketing in 2021, contact us for a free consultation.