B2B Marketing Trends in 2020 – 5 things you need to know
B2B marketing has drastically changed over the past decade. Many companies have struggled to keep up with the pace change. Gone are the days of “we’re not a B2C company, we don’t do that”. B2B buying behaviour has shifted. This article looks at the B2B marketing trends for 2020 and how your company can not only keep up, but get ahead.
Whilst it’s true, many technology advancements have and will continue to impact the way your business can generate sales leads. Many of the topics we look at here reflect a change in B2B buying behaviour and experience expectations. Millennials now make up more than half of all B2B buyers and being able to meet their buying demands will be crucial.
More than ever before, marketing now factors strongly in many business plans. More businesses now have a marketing plan for the year ahead. In fact, 64% of B2B organisations now have a formal marketing plan, not planning for the year ahead puts your business in the minority and potentially at a disadvantage.
Invest in e-commerce
Online purchases are no longer strictly the realm of B2C businesses. As the millennial workforce (people aged 23-38) begin to dominate the marketplace, as do their buying expectations. This generation is more comfortable making online purchases without face to face human interaction than any previous generation. Forrester is currently predicting that U.S B2B e-commerce sales will hit $1.8 Trillion by 2023 and account for around 17% of all B2B sales.
If you haven’t already started planning for the B2B e-commerce revolution, you should start.
Content is still king
It’s a cliché, but content is going to dominate and help drive sales more than ever before. The ‘top of the funnel’ content specifically will play an increasingly vital role.
60% of B2B buyers said that they’d rather not communicate with a sales rep as their primary source of information. The majority (68%) now prefer to research solutions online first before even engaging with a business.
One the many misconceptions about millennials is that they are the generation with no attention span and no patience. However, the 2015 Buyers Survey Report found the buying process for B2B decision makers has actually gotten longer as millennials enter the market place. The same report found that 80% of buyers are now attributing more time to the research phase than any other, compared to a lowly 52% in the previous year.
Why ‘Top of the Funnel’ will rule in 2020
First, just what is top of the funnel content? Well…
“Content on your blog or website should mostly be non-branded content which should be unbiased, not self-serving, and may even mention your competitors…”Vertical Measures
Why is top of the funnel content so important? GroupM research suggests that 86% of searchers conduct non-branded searches. This means your target audience is more likely to be looking for answers to general enquiries and everyday questions, rather than your brand.
Remember: It’s important to Search Engine Optimise your content.
Organic or Paid Search Strategy – Which is best for my business?
Check out our blog post on which strategy is best for your business.
Evolution of email marketing
It’s no secret that email marketing is one of the preferred methods of B2B marketers to keep in contact with their database. In fact 82% said email was their preferred method of keeping in touch with a business.
However, as technology continues to develop and evolve, so does email. Automated marketing has slowly been making its presence felt in the industry for some time. Many leading service providers now offer automated functionality such as triggered emails based on a users activity or lack thereof.
It’s easy to see why, triggered emails have a 50% higher open rate than non triggered emails.
Automation technology of some kind is already used by 82% of B2B and B2C companies. With email marketing still dominating with a 4400% ROI ($44 for every $1 spent), if you aren’t planning on automating your email campaigns in 2020, you should be.
According to this WeAreSocial report there are currently 3.48 billon social media users, an increase of 9% compared to 2018. Social media isn’t just used by teens, B2C companies or any of the other tired clichés, it’s a tool B2B companies should and are utilising. In fact, in 2019 73% of B2B marketers used social media as part of their overall digital communications strategy.
It’s important to remember to choose your platforms wisely. For example, if your customers and industry communities frequent Twitter, you would expect to see little to no ROI when investing time or money in Pinterest. A great place to start for the majority of B2B companies is LinkedIn, more than 80% of B2B sales leads come from LinkedIn.
Social media platforms are a great place to build influence in an industry. More than 53% of people said that they now use social media as part of their decision making process.
Data drives us all in 2020
“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data.”Sherlock Holmes
Data insights have long been used by marketers to make and inform decisions. However, in 2020 we can expect this trend to continue to influence the way you market to your audience.
Tools such as Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics have continued to develop as their use has grown. Google’s Data Studio is a fantastic tool for visualising data in a meaningful and interactive way. You can utilise these visuals for greater buy-in and understanding amongst the wider business.
It’s important to choose your metrics wisely. Does it really matter the number of impressions a PPC campaign generated if it doesn’t effect your business’ bottom line?
Vanity metrics are likely to be left in 2019.
B2B Marketing Trends in 2020 – Summary
The beginning of the new decade is going to be a key year for many businesses, particularly in the B2B sphere. Changes in the demographics of decision makers is driving change many might have resisted in 2019. Millennials now make up the majority of the market place and catering to their expectations will reap rewards. Producing insightful and informative content that you can share on social media platforms is a great and simple place to start.