Your Guide To The B2B Marketing Trends For 2020
The behavior of B2B buyers has been evolving over the past few years and that is set to continue. The bulk of B2B transactions is moving online and this is where many of the B2B marketing trends of 2020 will flourish.
Customer experience in particular will be the central driving force of 2020 B2B marketing trends.
Customer experience as always been crucial in B2C marketing and now it has become very important in B2B marketing. This is largely driven by the profile of B2B buyers.
Millennials form over 73% of B2B buyers and they demand the standards of customer experience they are used in their consumption of consumer products.
There is already a noticeable emphasis on customer experience in B2B marketing and its importance will continue to grow. According to a survey by D&B, 90% of the executives of B2B organizations recognize the need to prioritize customer experience.
This means completing B2B sales will get harder, millennial buyers don’t give second chances. If their first impressions of your marketing and sales channels are negative, you could lose them forever.
To help you plan an effective B2B marketing strategy for 2020, here is a list of 10 B2B marketing trends for 2020.
The Rise Of Quality Custom-Built Websites
Websites that are built with WordPress themes are everywhere. An astounding 35% of the websites on the web are powered by WordPress. There is a good reason for this.
WordPress is a free Content Management System (CMS) with thousands of free and premium themes that are much cheaper than custom-built websites.
However, this widespread adoption has created a major problem. Since these themes are readily available to everyone, many companies and individuals are using websites with similar layouts and similar designs.
Customers have noticed this, and they have come to associate such websites with cheap companies that are unwilling to invest in unique and well-designed websites.
The B2B buyer of 2020 can easily spot a theme-based website and if you want to get their attention, you need to invest in custom websites that are designed to reflect the spirit of your brand.
You need websites that show B2B customers that you care enough to build a website from the scratch that will give them the right customer experience suitable to B2B buyers in your industry.
In an era where bad customer experience and difficulty in getting relevant company information online can turn away B2B buyers, we will see more investments by B2B companies in developing custom websites designed to be suited to their unique customers.
The Evolution Of Content Marketing Strategies
Content marketing as dominated the digital marketing sphere over the past decade and every B2B marketer is involved in some form of content marketing.
But not everyone is getting it right.
There is a lot of garbage content on the web. Your SEO efforts may indeed help your content rank on the first page of Google Search Engine Result Pages (SERP), but if your content is garbage, it will not convert customers.
B2B buyers are interested in content that contains actionable information to help them solve problems. Keyword stuffed content that contains little useful information may get many visits on google, but you won’t get many buyers to click on your CTA links.
Content marketing efforts of 2020 will evolve. There will be a shift from the usual practice of creating as much content as possible, to the creating of content that delivers real value to its audience.
Also, Millennials who make up the bulk of B2B buyers demand that content be delivered in the format that suits their ever-evolving content consumption habits.
This content must also inform B2B buyers that your products reflect their values. Millennials are less sensitive about the price of products and are more concerned about the values that drive the B2B company selling its products and services to them.
Account Based Marketing
Account Based Marketing (ABM) will be the dominant B2B marketing trend of 2020. According to eMarketer, more than 70% of B2B companies have already adopted or have plans to adopt ABM.
ABM is a marketing strategy whereby a company consolidates its sales and marketing efforts to create unique and personalized experiences for a clearly defined group of high-value B2B buyers.
Focusing on these high-value accounts, helps a B2B company to tailor its marketing strategy and customer experience efforts to suit customers that will offer a greater return on such an investment.
By weeding out less important B2B buyers and concentrating on high-value buyers, a B2B company can better delight and engage with its most important customers which will lead to greater loyalty.
However, this process has not been easy. Traditionally sales and marketing departments in many B2B companies are not aligned. They have always operated in a siloed environment, so, getting them to work together to implement ABM has being difficult.
2020 will see many B2B companies address these issues. Companies will work to create greater synchronization between their sales and marketing departments.
And they must. This is because companies that have successfully implemented ABM are reaping the benefits. According to a report by ITSMA, up to 55% of the companies that have adopted ABM are getting higher returns than with traditional marketing strategies.
More Personalized And Targeted Marketing
The ability to connect with decision-makers is central to B2B marketing. The advances in marketing technology have made it easier for B2B marketers to identify the decision-makers within target companies.
This has created a need for personalized and targeted marketing. B2B sales have always relied heavily on personal relationships. B2B buyers are more likely to buy from vendors that they know and trust.
The rise of digital communication channels means that circle of trust as expanded. B2B buyers are more willing to engage with companies that offer personalized experiences at every key point of the buyer’s journey.
When a buyer gets the impression that you have taken the time to know him and to offer an experience that is tailored to the unique needs of his company, such a buyer will stick around.
In 2020, personalization will flourish. B2B marketers will go the extra mile to not only show customers that they understand their needs but also show examples of relevant customer success stories.
Widespread Adoption Of Automated Marketing Platforms
44% of B2B companies use automated marketing systems. That is huge and the number of B2B companies embracing automated marketing will only continue to grow.
Many Marketing Technology Solutions (MarTech) are already packed with features that automated parts of the marketing process. So, automation is already central to marketing efforts.
In 2020, B2B marketers will adopt more automated Martech systems, and also better utilize the automation features of existing systems. This will be more prevalent in the utilization of data.
B2B marketers already have a ton of customer data at their disposal. In 2020, automation tools will be used to better utilize this data.
Automation will be used for predictive analysis, customer segmentation, personalized customer experiences, and much more.
AI Chatbots Are Here To Stay
The adoption of AI in B2B marketing is in its early stages, but this hasn’t stopped the rise of Chatbots.
The use of Chatbots is another example of increased automation in B2B marketing and the underlying AI that powers Chatbots has made them indispensable.
Chatbots are used for many purposes. They are used in customer service- to give automated answers to customer questions, they are used to send offers to customers, they are used to generate leads, nurture leads, and follow up cold leads.
It’s in the area of lead generation and nurturing that is of greater importance to B2B marketers. Chatbots help to reach out to potential with personalized marketing and then keep those leads warm until a sales representative can reach out to them.
The advantage of this is immense. According to SalesForce, 64% of agents that use Chatbots spend the bulk of their time solving complex tasks compared to 50% for agents that don’t use Chatbots. Chatbots free up sales agents and allow them to concentrate on more complex tasks that require human intervention.
The year 2020 will see more B2B marketers adopt the use of Chatbots. Customers are already growing accustomed to Chatbots on consumer e-commerce channels, so there will be greater adoption of these intuitive Bots in B2B marketing and sales channels.
LinkedIn Will Remain The King Of B2B Social Media Marketing
LinkedIn is a B2B marketing powerhouse. Over 50% of B2B leads generated on social media are generated through LinkedIn, and 50% of B2B social traffic is derived from LinkedIn.
The fact that LinkedIn was built specifically as a social network for business professionals gives it a massive advantage over other social platforms.
The B2B buyers that you seek are all on LinkedIn. According to a study by LinkedIn, 91% of business executives see LinkedIn as their preferred platform for relevant content, and 44% of business executives connected with vendors by viewing LinkedIn’s shared connections.
Many B2B marketers are already aware of LinkedIn’s massive potential, and they invest heavily in LinkedIn marketing. In 2020, this will continue.
LinkedIn will continue to reign supreme as the number one social platform for B2B marketing. An essential aspect of B2B marketing on LinkedIn is content marketing.
The fact that a significant percentage of the audience on LinkedIn are decision-makers means effective content marketing on LinkedIn will generate leads for the savvy marketer.
In 2020, B2B marketers will continue to leverage LinkedIn to generate leads and promote their brands. Content marketing will also continue to flourish on LinkedIn.
Tailored Email Marketing
Email inboxes are as crowded as they have ever been. Every registration you do online require your email and each of them uses it as an opportunity to flood your inbox with promotional materials.
However, this has had little negative impact on email marketing. Email marketing as continued to flourish and B2B marketers are still getting results.
60% of B2B marketers claim that email marketing remains their most effective means of generating leads. This will likely remain so in 2020.
In 2020, email marketing will become more personalized. The age where generic emails are sent en masse to target customers is coming to an end.
Automation tools will be used to personalize to segment target customers and personalize the messaging of emails. B2B marketers will also use these tools to get a better picture of the success of their email marketing campaigns.
Greater Adoption Of Localized Search Marketing
It is ridiculous that B2B companies have been much slower than B2C companies in the adoption of local search marketing.
There are 2395 business categories listed on Google My Business and 1,270 of those categories apply to B2B companies. This means local search marketing cannot be neglected by B2B companies.
The goal of localized search marketing is to make it easy for local B2B buyers to find your company on Google. When B2B customers are searching for products and services, they start their research on Google and if they can’t find you, they will go for your competitors.
In 2020, more B2B companies will capitalize on localized marketing. Businesses have started to recognize the importance of having their up-to-date information uploaded to Google My Business (GMB).
When customers search for a product or a company by name, google SERPS will display information about the company in a panel at the top of the page.
If you have no relevant information available, or worse, your information is not up-to-date, customers will get the impression that you are not competent enough to solve their problems.
Greater Interest In Custom MarTech Solutions
B2B Marketers work with a wide range of marketing tools and managing these tools can become a burden.
Many B2B marketers have multiple software for the same tasks and this is crazy.
In 2020, companies will start to focus on consolidating their MarTech solutions. There will be reviews to identify what works and what doesn’t. This will lead to more demand for custom solutions that meet the peculiar needs of each company.
Marketing strategy will inform the design of MarTech solutions. A company that is focused on content marketing will not need a bloated platform that has more features than it needs.
Companies will seek custom solutions that streamline their entire marketing process and addresses their specific needs.