Top 15 Major B2B Marketing Trends for 2020 and Beyond

Introduction

There are clear signs that most brands will continue to increase their digital marketing budgets from 2020 going forward. According to data from Statista, global marketing spend on digital ads will reach $ 385 billion by 2020 and will continue to increase gradually, reaching $517 billion by 2023.”

Figure 1: Estimates of global digital spend for 2020 and beyond

Therefore, as you go into 2020, your business will not only need to keep up with digital trends but will also need to invest more in digital marketing, in order to experience its positive impacts.

That said, below are 15 trends that we believe will impact b2b marketing in the coming year and beyond:

#1. Use of Chatbots Will Continue to Increase

A lot of businesses now use chatbots on their websites. This is because they allow businesses to capitalize on all interactions, including those that happen after office hours. Not to mention, chatbots can attend to multiple people in real time without needing to put them on hold. Chatbots save time, they increase customer satisfaction levels by always being there to serve, and they are always provide unbiased service.

It makes sense that a technology that provides such benefits will continue to gain more relevance next year.

#2. More Use of Messaging Apps in Business

Going forward, use of messaging apps will give marketers an avenue for speedier, personalized and effective communication.

#3. Artificial Intelligence Will Be More Pervasive

One way that AI will impact business in 2020 is by using chatbots as discussed above. According to salesforce, 51% of customers say that their expectations are fulfilled by AI. In marketing, advancements in AI will be useful in improving customer experience and for better retargeting. Salesforce team also maintains that advanced deep learning algorithms will enable AI to gather data that will be useful to spot patterns in behavior.

#4. Personalization

Personalization generates more leads, and you can achieve this in 2020 with the aid of marketing software that will help you to create micro-segments. According to Gartner, creating content suited to these micro-segments will lead to successful personalization by giving customers what they want.

Personalized emails will also lead to more marketing success. According to campaign monitor, personalized emails have a 26% higher likelihood of being opened than generic emails. marketers also said tat it increase revenue by 760%. If you have been sending generic emails to your customers, 2020 should be your year to re-evaluate this approach. A good place to start is to address your customers in emails by their names.

#5. Growth of Influencer Marketing

Therefore in 2020, there will be a strong emphasis in working with influencers. A report from influencer marketing hub shows steady growth of the influencer marketing industry between 2016 to 2019. During the same period, the number of influencer marketing platforms has more than doubled. In 2016, the number of influencer marketing platforms stood at 335. By 2018, there were 740 influencer platforms, and this number has grown by 320 in 2019.

#6. Transparent Data Handling

In the past, lax data protection policies have resulted in customer data loss and millions of dollars in settlement payments. Yahoo, uber, eBay, Equifax are examples of companies that have fallen victim to data breaches. Data protection policies such as the GDPR have since been enacted, to ensure that any company collecting, or handling customer data puts measures in place to protect that data and to use it responsibly and transparently.

A report from SSRN shows that data privacy laws continue to be enacted in more countries. As consumers continue demanding more control over their own data, we are bound to see companies wanting to appear transparent and also giving back control to their customers.

#7. Consolidating Marketing into One Platform

As we go into 2020, there will be more integration of tools to ensure better decision making and streamlined marketing efforts. Hubspot are already providing such a service and most other companies are expected to follow suit.

#8. Content Marketing Will Continue, With a Strong Focus on Interactive Content

As such, in 2020, content marketing should feature prominently in your marketing strategy. You must invest in creating relevant and authoritative content that will showcase your expertise.

What’s more, content must be interactive. It must provide your audience with new and exciting experiences. Therefore, if you haven’t used visual content in your marketing before, this coming year will be a good time to start exploring this option. Interactive content attracts more attention, sells more products, and according to 88% of marketers, it helps with brand differentiation.

#9. Google Ads Will Be More Optimized, Thanks to Smart Bidding

With smart bidding,

  • You can access report that show you the results of your bidding strategy
  • Automatically set your bids to change when sales performance dips
  • Forecast performance of different targets through bid simulators
  • Run multiple automated campaigns

As businesses strive for more efficient use of their marketing budgets, smart bidding will enable marketers to place optimal bids and drive consistent performance in their campaigns.

#10. Visual Search Will Gain More Traction

A great example of visual search is Pinterest’s Lens, which is very instrumental for online shoppers or for Pinterest users who want to view pins of similar products. Shoppers can also browse through catalogues from brands like Target and use Lens Your Look for accurate outfit planning.

Other visual search apps include Google Lens, camfind and Bing visual search all of which are instrumental in the shopping process, particularly with millennials. According to social media today, 62% of millennials prefer visual search, hence jumping on the visual search band wagon is bound to place you ahead of your competitors particularly when it comes to this age group.

#11. Growth of Social Commerce

Figure 2: Growth of global ecommerce sales; Image from emarketer

This growth is set to coincide with increasing interest in social media, which now plays an important role in people’s lives, including financial transactions. for instance, brands with instagram accounts can now sell their products from Instagram through the “instagram checkout” button. The “buy now” option also allows customers to complete their transaction from your website.

If you think that Instagram is not a suitable marketing platform for your brand, consider that millennials make up 40% of the workforce. Give Instagram a try in 2020 and you could open new avenues of business that you hadn’t envisioned thus far.

#12. An Automated Omni-Channel Marketing Approach

Statistics from Omnisend show that an automated omni-channel workflow can result in purchase frequency up to 250% higher and 90% more customer retention, in addition to better engagement rate and higher order values. (source: Omnisend via Clickz)

Implementing and managing an omni-channel strategy is challenging, but brands are taking advantage of the myriad of tools available in the market today to deliver great service on all fronts.

#13. Geo-Fencing Will Continue to Grow

If you run a local business, you can take advantage of geo-targeted marketing to get more walk-ins from your digital customers or target your audience as they go about their day.

#14. Increased Use of User-Generated Content (UGC)

Brands like buffer, IBM, Adobe and Hootsuite are examples of b2b brands that leverage user generated images, blog posts and videos. Hundreds of other brands also post testimonials and reviews generated by their customers.

User generated content allows people to feel like they are a part of your brand’s journey and this is important from a marketing perspective. Customers feel even more special when a brand shows appreciation for any shared content. For instance, you can offer your customers an incentive whenever they create content that features your brand. User generated content is good for SEO, social media reach and is a great source for customer insights.

A study conducted by Comscore found that a marketing strategy that combines UGC and content that is professionally produced , results in higher perception and sales effectiveness scores. As such, if you haven’t been leveraging UGC in your marketing, digital marketing, 2020 is the year for you.

#15. More Reliance on Predictive Analytics

Your prospects leave a trail of data online but unless you are mining it and using advanced analytics, that data is wasted. In marketing, predictive analytics is useful for improving segmentation, better lead scoring and creating more accurate personas. This results in higher levels of customer loyalty and less churn.

Use of predictive analytics is gaining traction in most industries and will continue to do so as we go into 2020. For instance, predictive analytics can be used to forecast future product demand and sales, making manufacturing processes more efficient. In healthcare, the quality of medical care can improve while reducing costs, if medical providers can predict health risks.

Conclusion

As you make your end-of-year budget allocations, give yourself a competitive edge by making provisions that will allow you to take advantage of the trends above.

Originally published at https://www.unboundb2b.com on October 14, 2019.

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