You can’t win in marketing if you continue to encompass the past without looking forward to the future. Simply put, you need to constantly look where the ball is going instead of sitting back and hoping the ball will come to you.
The good news? Keeping up with the latest trends and the future of B2B marketing is becoming easier and easier.
Indeed, that’s happening more rapidly than ever, but the mass distribution of thought and brains’ connectivity is making it easier to stay on the floating line. It’s certainly no easy task to identify what trends are going to shape the future of B2B marketing, but it’s definitely a lot of fun.
Prospect and leads now hold the power. Information is more readily available, and the surge in competition has led to a plentiful supply of choice. Beyond that, tech-driven approaches have completely disrupted the B2B customer behavior, the once linear buying process, and had even forced marketers to become more efficient and strategic in their approach.
Customer Experience, First and Foremost
CX has undergone considerable transformation in the last few years. Now that communication methods and comparison accessible to consumers pervade our thoughts and actions, brands are often caught back foot.
Netflix has made on-demand streaming a nocturne activity. Amazon has made same-day delivery an expectation while Google made sure the information of any kind is readily available at the user’s voice command. All that proves that modern customers are satisfied only when these networks operate exactly and in real-time, customs that go on with the B2B habitat as well.
As we’ve found, the most prevalent CX traits are:
- Knowledgeable help.
Currently, over 73% of all B2B customers are millennials, so customer-experience expectations are innately entrenched into their lifestyles and buying habits based on their upbringing in digital-first environments. A B2B software supplier, for instance, must have authentic organic search presences and faster problem-resolution protocols that may not have been needed years ago.
Lack of positive referrals, bad reviews on Google My Business, overlooking the importance of the B2B research, and negative commentary on social media can lead to fewer leads and irreparable reputational harm.
One of the ways brands are addressing CX needs is through the use of AI (artificial intelligence). Currently, chatbots are giving consumers a more convenient way to get their answers to simple questions. Not only that, but AI offered customer service agents more time to focus on most of their time solving challenging problems, compared to just 50% of agents without AI chatbots.
Recently chatbots have surged in adoption, but they are only one variation of AI for marketers. Today challenging advertising marketplaces are more frequently integrating AI into their ad-buying techniques, linking both advertisers and publishers with more efficiency, accuracy, and speed- and the price point that’s already pre-established in the system.
While still green in the content marketing industry, AI can help unearth structured data sets and pull out key insights through machine learning. However, turning that information into organic content is way more challenging, but that didn’t stop marketers from experimenting.
Video Marketing and Augmented Reality Will Surge
VR is increasingly popular with consumers of all ages- not only for younger gamers. The power of VR in B2B marketing lies in its ability to facilitate engaging, interactive experiences that are personalized to the user.
Top brands around the world are already gravitating to VR to demonstrate their products and how they work.
Video marketing is especially powerful for B2Bs, as they can bring more visual appeal to the buyer’s journey. Plus, more companies are leveraging case studies for video content to support their marketing efforts. And this fast-pacing trend is creating growing traction in the B2B market – as 70% of B2B consumers watch videos before purchasing something.
Both video marketing and augmented can take B2B marketing to new heights. This is particularly true when the B2B company has a physical product to exhibit or a visually impressive building to tour.
Podcast Marketing At Its Best
The way modern buyers consume podcasts makes them an ideal channel for your high-quality content. Now we tend to listen while we drive, cook, and work out – we rely on podcasts to fill sizable amounts of otherwise idle time. Not everyone has enough time nor patience to read white paper or eBooks during their morning commute, but they might enjoy the latest episode in a podcast. The figures for podcast listeners are attractive for B2B marketers as well:
- 24% of individuals ages 18-54 listen to podcasts monthly
- Podcast listeners tend to be more educated and wealthy consumers
- Listeners are almost evenly split between women and men
- The 25-54 demographic for monthly listening has grown in the past four years
Women – The Future of B2B Sales
According to recent data, women are belittled in B2B sales in most industries, including manufacturing (27%) and wholesale and financial service (30%).
Still, research has shown that women salespeople often outperform their male peers – as 86% of women achieved quota, in comparison with 78% of men. While both men and women use all seven capabilities, women are more likely to emphasize shaping solutions, to connect, and to collaborate while high-performing men rely more on driving outcomes and improving.
In 2020, self-sufficient, digitally savvy, and more educated consumers have new expectations of sellers. They expect salespeople to bring value beyond what digital tools offer – meaning that salespeople require capabilities for collaborating with consumers and shaping solutions. With that in mind, abilities that are now focusing entirely on customer needs have become more critical for the sales process than persuasion skills like driving outcomes and influencing customers. And this works to women’s strengths.
All in all, it’s essential to remember that B2B companies are marketing to people on behalf of a business and not to a business itself. Today, even with a plethora of new tech-driven experiences, businesses still need to show the human side of the interaction.
Interesting Related Article: “Top 10 B2B Marketing Agencies“