Some marketing trends never die. Content marketing spending continues to rise and almost every site now uses responsive mobile design. However, there are plenty of trends that take longer for marketers to adopt.
As with all areas of online marketing, B2B marketing continues to grow and evolve. New tools, resources, and platforms pop up every year. Unfortunately, B2B marketers tend to embrace these changes slowly.
To stay ahead of the competition, here are a few of the B2B marketing trends to watch for in the coming year:
Adopting Account-Based Marketing Strategies
Account-based marketing (ABM) is becoming a popular phrase in B2B marketing discussions. In fact, 60% of B2B brands plan to implement an ABM model in the coming year.
As the name suggests, account-based marketing focuses on individual accounts instead of a large audience. With this strategy, your marketing team builds entire campaigns personalized for just one customer or account.
Some of the benefits of ABM include:
- Shorter sales cycle
- Easier-to-analyze ROI
- Improved customer satisfaction
The personalized approach makes it easier to address the specific needs of each account. Instead of creating a white paper that discusses every feature of your product or service, you may simply address the issues that matter most to a specific sales lead.
With more personalization, your leads receive the information needed to make informed buying decisions. This tends to shorten the sales cycle.
According to one marketing survey, the average timeframe for closing a B2B deal is at least four months. Shortening this process gives your sales and marketing teams more time to focus on other accounts.
The return on investment (ROI) for ABM is easier to analyze compared to traditional marketing campaigns. You can track exactly how much time and money you spend on each account instead of averaging the ROI across a group of new acquisitions.
Personalizing the delivery of content and marketing efforts also leads to improved customer satisfaction. With greater satisfaction, your B2B marketing strategies may result in greater customer retention.
Using Chatbots to Boost Customer Experience
B2B marketing strategies are becoming increasingly reliant on online platforms. In the past, salespeople nurtured leads via direct conversations. B2B leads now expect to find the answers that they need online through their own research.
About 89% of B2B buyers perform online research during the buying process. Without a positive customer experience (CX), potential buyers are likely to search elsewhere.
To help deliver a better CX, an increasing number of B2B companies now use chatbots to handle simple customer inquiries.
Keep in mind that chatbots do not offer a suitable solution for dealing with complex issues. The artificial intelligence (AI) available to B2B marketing teams may not have the capacity to address broad inquiries.
Chatbots are best served as a gateway for directing leads to the solutions they require. For example, you may use a chatbot to accept tickets for technical support issues. Chatbots may also automate the delivery of B2B marketing material.
When used properly, chatbots can help reduce the amount of time spent dealing with customer inquiries. They also result in shorter response times, providing another solution for boosting customer satisfaction.
In most cases, B2B companies integrate chatbots with their knowledge base. However, more complex chatbots can handle multiple interactions, helping to qualify leads or complete detailed human resources tasks.
Increasing Spending on Video Marketing
According to a survey of B2B marketing agencies, 96% of B2B companies currently use video content marketing. However, this should become even more integral to B2B marketing campaigns in 2020.
Studies show that people retain more information when watching a video compared to reading content. In fact, 81% of online users skim content and only remember about 20% of what they read.
People think visually. Videos allow marketers to deliver clear messages and engage with their audience. While B2C websites have used video marketing for many years, B2B websites are starting to catch up.
The most popular forms of video content include how-to videos, professional reviews, and videos highlighting product features. Other examples include webinars and case study videos.
Webinars offer the same advantages for your B2B marketing strategies as using white papers or eBooks. These videos help you establish more authority in your industry. You can also use webinars to cover a wide range of topics instead of the confined focus typically used in shorter promotional videos.
As webinar series includes multiple videos, they also help nurture leads and provide an incentive to keep visiting your site. Over time, you also build a library of video content that can easily be repurposed for additional marketing campaigns.
Using Podcasts for Content Marketing
As with video marketing, podcasts provide an alternative method for delivering content to B2B buyers and include many of the same benefits.
After listening to the podcast, potential buyers retain more information compared to digesting a blog post or white paper.
According to LinkedIn, 44% of department heads and VPs listen to podcasts. However, only 17% of B2B marketers currently utilize this platform. Partnering with a B2B marketing agency to produce podcasts may give you an advantage over the competition.
B2B marketing works best when marketers deliver different content for each phase of the typical buyer’s journey. Each content should suit its own purpose and podcasts work best for the awareness phase.
Podcasts are suitable for almost any B2B industry. A popular approach is the use of a Q&A-style discussion about the features of the offered product or service.
The key to an effective podcast is quality. You need quality information and quality audio. If B2B buyers cannot understand the conversation, the podcast does little to help nurture the lead.
Last Thoughts on B2B Marketing Trends for 2020
Of course, these are just a few of the upcoming trends that you can expect to hear more about in the coming year. An increasing number of B2B marketing campaigns will likely focus on lead conversion, local search, and paid ads.
Re-optimization of content is another trending B2B marketing solution. Instead of letting content become stale, you can revise it to breathe new life into a blog post, white paper, or even a webinar.
While the sales team remains integral to B2B customer acquisition, 2020 should see more dependency on B2B marketing teams to drive sales.