In 2020, B2B marketing trends are expected to take a similar direction to that of 2019. An increased focus on AI and data will shape strategy and campaigns, while customer expectations that service and speed be made a priority will drive the focus of marketing.
The following seven trends are expected to be the driving force behind B2B campaigns in 2020.
- Increase In Digital Ad Spend
Tight B2B marketing budgets are driving an increase in digital ad spend over other marketing channels. The cost per impression (CPM) of digital ads combined with tightening email regulations and global compliance laws has made targeted advertising solutions a compelling avenue to reach buyers.
Traditional marketing tactics, like tradeshows, are taking a back seat in funding discussions as marketers get savvy about their ability to connect with their audiences via online paid media channels, which provide rich feedback on the return on these investments.
- Artificially Intelligent Everything
AI solutions are becoming part of every aspect of B2B marketing, from content production to email assistants and chatbots, predicting best-fit accounts and chain-based attribution models.
AI solutions help marketers analyse large datasets to enable individualisation at scale, uncover actionable insights and improve productivity by assigning mundane tasks to smart software solutions. However, AI solutions are only helpful if you feed them reliable and quality data. If AI tools are in your marketing technology (Martech) stack, ensure that you have a healthy culture of experimentation and that you test out common sense responses of your AI engagements.
- Demystifying Intent Data
For years, B2B marketers have obsessed about leveraging technology to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time, but delivering a truly personalised message, in terms of content, timing and concern, is exceptionally difficult without intent insights.
Intent data refers to signals about a person or an account’s intention to do something. These intent insights are gleaned from digital footprints and can help you make your marketing experiences more relevant and personalised. From account prioritisation to guide your content marketing efforts, I predict the use cases and wins for B2B marketers leveraging intent will skyrocket next year.
- Video Marketing For Higher Engagement
Most B2B solutions are complex and difficult to understand, and many marketers are gravitating towards video to explain robust solutions clearly to their audience. The visual aspect of video makes it a powerful medium for learning and, therefore, persuasive when educating prospects through the buying process in an engaging, scalable way. What’s more, video has become less expensive and easier to produce than costly brand videos of the past.
If video is on your 2020 marketing plan, focus on creating videos around popular topics that perform well in other content formats. By thoughtfully turning these messages into video, you can deliver more relevant and memorable content that’s easier to consume.
- Importance Of Buyer Enablement
The traditional buyer funnel is no longer relevant, because there is no linear buyer journey. We now know that arbitrary lead scoring based on weighted scores for top-of-funnel, middle-of-funnel and bottom-of-funnel engagements is an ineffective way to gauge a buyer’s interest. Buyer enablement removes barriers to your resources and critical decision-making materials to allow prospects to find the information they need as they bounce around various stages of their buying process.
Instead of trying to predict your buyer path, why not make all purchase decision information accessible? Gartner has found that readily available information that helps buyers through their decision-making tasks matters more than product capabilities when making a purchase.
- Rise Of Customer Data Platforms
If you are a B2B enterprise marketer, there is a good chance that your day-to-day work revolves around dealing with a number of disparate systems and workarounds. When it comes to getting a central source of customer truth, large enterprise organisations often struggle to get one picture of all the facts. A customer data platform (CDP) brings together your website analytics, marketing automation platform (MAP), customer relationship management (CRM) data, social media analytics and other customer data sources to build a unified customer profile for segmentation and reporting.
Some B2B organisations are attempting to solve their data issues by building data warehouses. Building your own solution may seem to be the fastest, most cost-effective place to start, but what organisations fast learn is how challenging it is to normalise and map data for robust analysis. A best practice is to buy a CDP and use your expertise to customise for your organisational needs. However, if you choose to build your own, pick and choose which data you want to map first to deploy a controlled pilot.
- Continued Account-Based Growth
Account-based marketing (ABM) has far surpassed the trend-word phase. ABM is not a trend or a tactic; rather, it is a strategic approach that orchestrates personalised outreach across marketing, sales and customer success to drive engagement and revenue for a target set of accounts. If you’re part of the minority not doing account-based work, now is the time to start.