This past year we have seen a dramatic digital transformation within the B2B landscape, in large part accelerated by the challenges and implications of Covid-19. Many more companies are making purchase decisions online, and as a result, the competition is stiffer than ever before. New variables are increasing in importance as outlined here in our leading B2B marketing trends for 2021, and unsurprisingly, these trends have one thing in common: They are entirely digitally-powered.
At SnellMedia, we work with digital marketing for B2B organisations in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare/pharma, SaaS, and hospitality. Our core value is continuous learning as this ensures we are one step ahead of digital marketing opportunities and how B2B companies can successfully implement them.
With COVID-19 emphasizing the importance of marketing towards digitally-powered solutions, we are seeing a fundamental shift in the number of businesses looking to embrace online marketing. As there’s a demand to remain relevant within the changing business landscape, our schedules are crammed with new business proposals from B2B businesses that want to start the year off booming. As a response to this top-tier demand, we've compiled and summarised the leading marketing trends for 2021 and beyond.
The trends for 2021 marketing are focused on retention marketing and content and format diversification. B2B companies must be visible to prospects, build brand trust, and as users become customers, encourage and retain them. This includes visual content, adapting to modern methods, and exploit AI. This year, exposure is a key factor for success.
Digital will be the name of the game in marketing this year. Read on to discover the key digital marketing trends that will help ensure your business thrives in 2021 and beyond. In addition to the 12 in-demand strategies for B2B businesses, stay tuned for the bonus marketing trends at the end of the article. In the article, we cover:
Learn which 2021 trends are having the largest impact on our B2B clients and how you can apply these to your business today. In the following discussion, we dive into each trend and explain how you can leverage these activities to boost your online presence.
B2B digital marketing is all we do at SnellMedia’s digital marketing agency. With exclusive marketing experience, we understand the complex nature of business-to-business relationships and how to leverage the ever-expanding opportunities available in digital marketing of today’s B2B field.
The changes we are facing today are rapid, and this requires businesses to pivot their marketing mindset accordingly and embrace a new, agile way of doing business in the digital world, i.e., board the digitally-powered chariot.
Implementing all these trends in 2021 may prove to be challenging; however, knowing the trends you can most easily leverage to make the largest impact will make a significant difference. The ‘new normal’ requires businesses to speak loudly and create impactful messages that resonate in an online landscape where everyone wants to be heard. At our agency, we have noticed that the spectrum of 2021 marketing trends covers the following:
B2B Popularity: 84%
The popularity of email marketing has truly had its ups and downs, but we are seeing a trend that suggests that this method of outreach is once again considered a viable practice with great potential. In fact, 60% of B2B marketers state that they are seeing eye-catching trends in email marketing as a revenue-generating outlet. What’s more, 84% of B2B marketers report that email marketing is one of their most successful marketing channels, most likely due to its high ROI potential. What we’ve found to be a great source for email marketing success is how well it interjects with social media.
We’ve worked with email marketing a lot throughout the last couple of years. In our experience, this tool has proven very efficient especially in B2B settings. We’ve adopted the marketing strategy because it not only lets us promote content or serve ads; It has also proven to be a successful relationship-building strategy for interacting with current business, as well as requesting new business developments.
B2B Popularity: 75%
This trend looks at your online presence and the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. In the B2B environment, 80% of leads are generated from LinkedIn. This is where a substantial amount of marketers share professional content and start professional communities with like-minded businesspeople. During the rise of the pandemic, 67% of marketers reported that an increase in social media presence was their top priority. Our general experience is that this priority is definitely valid, and one of our top four priorities. When we add social media into a project for a client, our priority is the sites that work well for cross-channel marketing, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram.
In addition is the retargeting trend. People engaging with your content should end up as converted customers, as they are clearly already in the market for what you are offering. Retargeting is a must in 2021, as it lets us recapture otherwise lost leads, generate more leads to expand market positioning, and increase brand recognition. This is where you maximise your ROI; So missing out is a big no-no.
Lastly, we want to mention the use of influencer marketing which is an area we believe will be a great addition to your online marketing this year. Holistically speaking, we normally keep content on the client’s own accounts and pages; however, as there is a need for major online visibility, influencers can help you achieve just that.
B2B Popularity: 70%
In 2021, you need to get in on early engagement with in depth account metrics. This is where quality is truly brought into the mix, and highly qualified accounts will be the way forward. These let us make better decisions about resource allocation and select initial priorities that reflect the big picture metric. If there is any strategy that stands out in 2021 marketing, it is account-based marketing (ABM). ABM has successfully become a cornerstone for transforming sales, marketing teams, and customer satisfaction, into revenue generators.
We expect ABM to become a vital strategy for leading B2B companies marketing in 2021. Bringing together sales and marketing to create personalised experiences that result in growth, lets businesses trim away non-profitable companies, and instead focus earlier and more intently on those that really matter. Here are some things to consider about ABM:
B2B Popularity: 69%
In marketing, there is one thing you can always be certain of: Content is king and your strongest companion for the ultimate strategy. If you want to stand out and be considered an authority in your space by Google, original content is essential. Committing to your content management and having a coherent ROI strategy are the most essential and fundamental ways of winning at marketing in 2021. The best ways of doing this are by:
Since we started our agency, the focus on content marketing has only increased. We are seeing that there are substantial potentials in creating authoritative content that acts as an ultimate resource for an audience. Providing this ultimate resource means sharing high quality research-based insights conveying conformation consensus, authority, helpfulness, and total relevance to your audience. This type of content will not only help you rank on Google, but it will also increase your chances of gaining high enough authority that your content becomes a staple resource ranking for a long time.
B2B Popularity: 63%
An omnichannel approach means utilizing all of your channels to create one collective experience for your audience, prospects, and customers. When you adopt this in your marketing, you’re creating a coherent message that is tailored to your customers based on their behaviour through the sales funnel, and maximising their customer experience. This results in an excellent reputation and businesses with omnichannel strategies achieve 91% higher customer retention rates than those who fail to incorporate them.
With competition booming in 2021, we’ve put in extra work to make sure that we deliver strategy proposals that help B2B businesses get in front of buyers as they compile all intel needed for purchasing decisions. What we’ve learned is that an omni-channel approach is especially effective since B2B buyers today use up to six different channels when making a decision on who to hire as a supplier.
B2B Popularity: 60%
Search intent is all about listening to the intentions behind a search. It is a helpful tool when understanding the nature of why people search, as this helps us marketers create the best content that fits prospects’ needs and intentions most. As Google is getting smarter and better at recognising search intent, this is becoming far more valuable to your marketing than keyword intent.
By addressing searchers’ concerns and becoming a mogul for information supply in the eyes of your audience, we at SnellMedia help you achieve increased domain and brand status. We predict that sustaining search intent will get you the leads and traffic you need, depending on how well you leverage addressing the intent behind queries. Our work revolves around understanding what people need and what problems they need you to solve. This is why we focus specifically on search intent.
If you’re interested in learning more about this trend, we also cover it in Content Management Trends for 2021.
B2B Popularity: 58%
In 2021, as your website will be the online door to your facilities and offers, you’ll need to make sure that your products are perfect, your website is on point, and users always enjoy interacting with your brand. With this, we focus on three specific areas:
B2B Popularity: 46%
Behind every successful web presence is a well-calculated keyword strategy that complements organic search optimization efforts and helps businesses maximize reach. This is your SEM strategy; The use of pay-per-click marketing, which is one of the faster and more efficient ways for B2B companies to capture the right leads and generate brand awareness.
In 2021, we are expecting PPC to become a primary tool for quick intel, better automation, and thorough diversification. The best defense in 2021 will be a close-to-perfect offense. This is what PPC is for any business looking to get ahead. More than that, we harness the results of our PPC campaigns to create a library of information to quickly bring to the holistic marketing strategy. This saves time and keeps the marketing efficient. That’s why we are pushing for optimized use of PPC this year.
B2B Popularity: 43%
When it comes to webinars, 73% of B2B marketers report they are the best way to generate high-quality leads. The assumption is that webinars ensure quality customers, as they are the ones showing interest in signing up for and attending your webinar. Although we are excited about the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine, it’s probably still going to take time before the pandemic is under control enough for us to start meeting face-to-face to the extent we did before. Until then, webinars are the perfect stand-in in 2021 and going forward.
In a larger context, online events emerged superlatively in 2020. With that, 87% of marketers consider the opportunities emerging with virtual events as a success factor, talking a good game about this marketing tool’s potential to bring bearings in 2021. Last year we had the chance to work with EWMA on rebranding their in-person healthcare event into a booming virtual experience. This involvement opened our eyes to the high potentials of bringing in virtual events as part of online marketing even after the pandemic.
B2B Popularity: 38%
In our agency, we use video content for retaining interest from the client’s audience. Video marketing brings a visual aspect into your B2B company realm and lets potential customers engage with your brand, get a visual appreciation of your company and products, and understand the buyer journey.
Since video content is gaining popularity, YouTube is a great tool for upholding presence and creating eye-catching content with which your audience can interact. YouTube welcomes 2 billion logins each month, so your audience is definitely here. Trends suggest that 73% of active users use YouTube for “how-to” videos, content that is popular among business video marketers.
B2B Popularity: 25%
As attention needs to be concentrated on your marketing, this is also where investments need to be allocated. According to the 2021 Marketing Mix Report, digital marketing holds the majority of marketing spend across B2B businesses, with 56% allocating budget for it. This is a significant top-expense that substantiates that digital marketing is our new norm. This is where businesses engage prospects and gain awareness.
While organic search and reach are still something we aim for, the other side of the coin needs consideration as well. Paid search helps with further reach and extending the potential of being seen, heard, and remembered. You need paid marketing because:
B2B Popularity: 10%
As we’ve reached the fourth step of the industrial revolution, a global ideal is to up the use of revolutionary AI, and this applies to marketing as well. AI has made inroads into the B2B marketing environment, making it increasingly possible to automate strategies with interactive tools, one example being chatbots. At least one in five businesses utilises AI-powered marketing for superior insights, quicker analysis, and streamlining routine tasks. We have adopted the use of AI into several projects, and the speed and ease of automation we’ve experienced really make this trend a stand-out for us.
We still clearly remember life before Alexa, Cortana, and Siri voice searches. Voice search has become a huge phenomenon, and companies are continually adapting this technology to make searching even easier. The volume of searches done by voice is expected to reach 5 billion by the end of 2021, specifically due to the fact that people are staying home more, and home is where most people do voice searches.
Even more fascinating is the fact that voice searches are especially popular when it comes to business-related searches. Last year, 58% of voice searches were made to find information about a local business. If you want to leverage this opportunity, here are a few things we do to make sure our clients are included in those searches:
Featured snippets are an important feature for getting online attention. The value of featured snippets has been discussed at length, and while we recognise that some marketers may disagree, we definitely see great potential in featured snippets. Google’s featured snippets are great for exposure and reputation, as a snippet shows authority and exhibits good characteristics.
Featured snippets are the direct answer boxes that turn up at the top of the page when you do a search on Google. Even if a featured snippet is achieved, the content will rank in the search results list, which means that you will be featured on the page twice. Featured snippets get you in front of your competitors, and this is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss in 2021.
In a turbulent global economy, it’s important to stay flexible in your approach to marketing. Today, 76% of B2B marketers have an explicit marketing plan. While this is great news, this year calls for B2B companies to look into their marketing strategy and optimise it for flexibility in approach and, for the time being, push heavy on the use of digital marketing.
If you’re still not set with a marketing strategy and are struggling to understand how to fully incorporate the latest B2B marketing trends for 2021, join in and reach out to us today.
Our main objective is to stay ahead of trends and apply current expertise and new learnings to every client project. We make sure you get the absolute most out of your marketing investments.
Good luck in 2021 - We are excited to see the changes and success in B2B companies’ marketing this year.
What is the purpose of B2B marketing?
The general purpose of marketing is to reach a targeted audience with the intention of selling a product or service to them. For B2B companies, marketing is rooted in the need to attract supply-dependent companies to sell their offerings for use in the production of goods, to general business operations, or for resale to their customers.
Is Facebook good for B2B marketing?
There’s no doubt that Facebook is an extremely beneficial platform for B2B marketing. The social media platform has high potential in audience targeting and retargeting. The average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month, according to their private or professional interests, and Facebook ads can reach up to 35% of the world’s population.
Are you a B2B company looking to start a successful email marketing campaign in 2021? Or do you need help optimising your email marketing today? Do you feel that your email marketing has great potential, but you aren’t too sure how to optimise your leads or where to start?
In that case, look no further, ‘cause SnellMedia is here to guide you. As an experienced B2B digital marketing agency focusing in part on valuable email marketing solutions, we can build personalised, intriguing campaigns designed to maximise your ROI in 2021. If you’re curious to know more about what we do, and how we can help you grow your business online, feel free to reach out to us when you need us. We’d love to hear from you!
This article is part of our digital marketing trends series, showcasing the primary pillars of digital marketing that we at SnellMedia focus on; PPC, SEO, Social media, Email marketing, Web design, and content marketing.