B2B

B2B Digital Marketing Trends – What to Expect in 2021

Kevin T Payne
Kevin T Payne
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Forecasts can help you to thrive — be it in life or business. Much like predicting and adapting to weather patterns, business forecasts identify the rising trends your field has to watch out for. To better prepare for marketing budget allocations as well as team efforts for the upcoming year, anticipating B2B trends is key. 

Here are seven B2B focused marketing trends to generate more leads for your business and boost your revenue potential in 2021.

Omnichannel Marketing

In this day and age, consumers no longer browse through a single channel for brands. With omnichannel marketing, this addresses the need to consistently transition from one channel to another. 

By giving customers a consistent and unified experience—whether it’s through brand personality,  customer service, or providing information—potential leads are more likely to convert to sales. Essentially, omnichannel marketing is being able to reach customers from different platforms, all while maintaining an integrated experience. 

Businesses who employ omnichannel marketing retain their customers up to 89% compared to their peers. The unchanging interaction through the brand’s website, social media platforms, or email amplifies B2B and B2C experience. 

For example, e-commerce brands that fuse together all digital touchpoints customers engage in like social media, mobile apps, and websites into shoppable touchpoints can return amazing financial results. For brick-and-mortar stores, utilizing a consistent offline and online shopping experience with in-store pickup or delivery contributes to a stronger brand image. 

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Virtual Events 

With no clear timeline as to when social interaction and hosting face-to-face events will be back to “normal”, hosting virtual events is the new marketing solution. As of this year, 49% of B2B marketers have been hosting virtual events, which will only continue to rise in 2021. 

The access to advanced technology means there’s no reason promotional launches of new products, celebrating partnerships, or brand exhibits have to be canceled altogether. Online platforms like ConnexMe, Cadence, and Socio deliver virtual events with varying features based on your priority. 

Plan the way you would a face-to-face event when coming up with a topic, theme, program, and giveaway. Only this time, deciding on the right virtual event platform instead of location is key. 

The challenge of keeping your audience engaged during the event needs to be addressed. Many stimuli and distractions are found at home, so you should plan and brainstorm compelling ways to keep the event engaging no matter where users are tuning in from.

Stick to the basics of indicating promotional plans, inviting relevant speakers and the like. The additional effort of increasing interaction by addressing participants, using smartphones to explore online exhibits, or optimizing the group chat box is a great method to use. 

After all, hosting a successful virtual event can effectively relay the same information as events would have pre-pandemic.  

Native Video Advertising

For B2B marketers, leveraging native advertising is a powerful move you can make, especially when a large proportion of sales are happening online. 

That’s because native ads are a seamless part of the online user experience, providing brand exposure and information without disrupting and annoying the user. Native video advertising harnesses the inherent popularity of video in native ad placements on high-quality publisher sites, where they are much more likely to engage and delight the audience.

What’s more, existing marketing videos can be promoted natively very easily. It’s just a matter of uploading your current videos to a native advertising platform like Outbrain, and focusing your targeting on the most relevant audiences for the video message. Native video has been shown to achieve impressive view rates and completion rates., better than those of social media and YouTube, which means that native video is definitely a tactic to try for B2B in 2021.

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More Streamlined Marketing Automation

Having a more streamlined automation marketing process eliminates the headache of manual processes. The marketing life cycle is suitable for automation, from keyword search, social media ads, or plugins. 

Gone are the days when major marketing functions like finding the best distribution channels, promoting products, and closing the deal were separate concerns. Efficiency is the height of value for customer experience. An average consumer takes less than 15 seconds to browse through your platform and decide if your brand is worth engaging in or not. 

Often, the experience of speed and lack of information they are looking for can be the reason why people aren’t engaging. To address this issue, using tools like DevOps integration makes marketing automation more efficient. The tool integrates operation efficiency and provides end-users with faster software applications. As a result, your brand’s software capabilities are delivered at better speeds—thereby giving a better user experience for your customers overall.

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Podcast Marketing

Podcast listeners have increased by 51% since 2019. It is only predicted to get higher this coming year. Leveraging on this marketing trend are ideal for making an impression across your target audience. 

There are several podcast marketing strategies to utilize in order to get your campaign recognized. Whether it’s through embedding your brand’s content through casual mention, having guest collaboration, or distributing episodes through multiple platforms, listeners effortlessly learn more about your products and services.  

It’s best practice to come up with a podcast name with the number one keyword you wish to be known for, then creating content around those themes. 

Moreover, repurposing marketing content from existing material can even be an added benefit for starting a podcast. Maximize content used in your podcast episode into infographics, blog posts, or a Youtube video. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are making a mark with digital advertising and marketing at a rapid pace. Investing in development tools like Vuforia, ARKit, and Wikitude enables your brand to provide an immersive experience to customers and other businesses. 

An ideal way to support the B2B buyer’s journey before making a commitment is harnessing an AR and VR tour. Through showcasing the use of a product, providing opportunities for B2B or B2C to experience your products is one step above regular promotion tactics. 

Alex Williams, founder of Hosting Data, says, “The most creative companies are using AR and VR to compensate for the effects of COVID-19. We don’t know when the pandemic will end, and certainly people will be wary to go back to their regular routines so soon. So brands are now getting creative: using AR and VR to give customer experiences that mimic in-store experiences from home, creating engaging games that delight customers, and more.”

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Influencer Marketing

In 2020, 93% of digital marketers practice influencer marketing and for the upcoming year, influencer marketing is only here to stay. Partnerships with influencers is a powerful strategy to leverage on. 

Consumers trust an individual’s opinions who have already worked to build their brand. In a B2C environment, influencer marketing yields a high ROI of $6.50 returns per dollar spent

In terms of the B2B influencer campaigns, consumers base their buying decisions on the level of connection and impact the influencers have on their lives. As customers engage with influencers who have similar niches and interests as them, building on the right partnerships can bring the right amount of exposure, leads, and revenue to your brand. 

Key Takeaways

Now that you’re aware of the B2B digital marketing trends to watch in 2021, go put your knowledge into action. Not only will it help you prepare budget allocations more effectively; it will also point you in the right direction to create a more engaging customer experience and convert more leads.

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Kevin T Payne

Kevin T Payne

Kevin is a content marketing consultant who helps software companies build marketing funnels and implement content marketing campaigns to increase their inbound leads.