2021 B2B marketing trends that will emerge in the year ahead.

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Continuing a pattern from past years, 2021 will observe the ongoing evolution of several B2B advertising trends from the last few years, and the rising influence of B2C advertising will create a big impact. So what macro trends will probably have the largest impact on companies in the next year?

1. Digital (Marketing) Acceleration

It can be stated that in many ways, there is no more such a thing as electronic marketing–it is just marketing in a digital world. Along with the events of 2020 have driven a substantial increase in consumer demand for electronic and electronic consumption–growing trends which have been building for several years now. A few of the factors behind that include the enormous generational shift in the workforce and the rapid pace of change caused by technological advancement.

With that in mind, 2021 will see the huge majority of B2B companies (who have not already) adopt a really digital-first and digital-centric philosophy in regards to advertising and sales. And this will drive what is known as digital acceleration. This acceleration of electronic tactics and channels will consist of many things already in a B2B marketer’s toolkit, with increased emphasis and intentionality.

Video
Video has been the dominant medium. Research from Cisco estimates that by 2022, online videos will constitute more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic–15 times higher than it was in 2017. Many B2B firms are still not fully capitalizing on the power of movie but expect that to change in 2021. B2B buyers crave video content and they are looking for video content at every stage of the buyer’s journey. Vlogs, team introductions, service or product presentations, explainers and tutorials and customer success stories are merely some of the bite-sized videos that B2B marketers should put money into.

Virtual events
Once Covid-19 shut down almost every conference and tradeshow of 2020 from March on, virtual events became the instantaneous replacement. Regardless of what happens in the struggle to end the pandemic, virtual events are here to stay. Look for their popularity to increase in 2021, but also to evolve to become more hybrid in character. This approach provides a broadcast quality to the format by taking a cue from TV production and bring it to the virtual environment. This means that to perform virtual events nicely, investment levels will need to be near in-person levels to pull it off. This year’s Adobe MAX conference is just 1 example of what this production quality looks like.

SEO and SEM
Organic and paid search are certainly not new for B2B marketers, but the increase in digital consumption and the growing importance of the corporate site is prompting B2B marketers to invest more heavily in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Search Engine Marketing (SEM) similar to their B2C counterparts. For SEO, marketers are shifting towards a genuine convergence of content strategy and both on-page and off-page search engine optimization strategies. There is also an increasing emphasis on semantic search, search intent and voice search also, as search engines and consumer behaviours continue to evolve. And similar to SEO, SEM and PPC will also be added to a lot of internet marketing strategies or just play a bigger role in driving traffic.

Marketing automation and email marketing
While many B2B marketers signed up for the applications, true adoption and effective implementation wasn’t as widespread as in the industry had hoped. But marketing automation is making a comeback and the program is projected to more than double in sales (from 6.08B to 16.87B) within the next five years. Driven by other trends like personalization, account-based advertising (see #4), retention promotion and so on, marketing automation and email marketing will become even more dominant in B2B marketing approaches.

2.AI-Powered Marketing
It is almost impossible to understate the impact that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is having/will have on our lives. It is being called the 4th industrial revolution and will bring about changes just as far-reaching as the arrival of mechanization, mass production and automation which came before. When it comes to marketing, few organizations are actually using AI for promotion and sales: less than one in five. However, two-thirds of B2B marketers are currently planning, evaluating, or implementing AI for marketing or sales initiatives. AI will make marketers more efficient and smarter at scale by providing better insights, quicker analysis and by streamlining routine tasks.

Client Insights
AI goods have become increasingly adept at analyzing unstructured information like images, video, and audio. Chorus, by way of example, provides transcription and audio analysis of recorded sales calls to provide insights about how to reshape messaging, better serve customers and increase workforce productivity. Other AI companies, such as Affectiva, are working on solutions to measure tone and opinion in a person’s voice so marketers will know when prospects are enthused or disinterested on sales calls and may pivot in real time.

Personality Insights
Crystal is a Chrome extension that analyzes millions of internet data points and evaluation tools to show you a prospect, customer or co-worker’s personality in their LinkedIn profile so you can communicate more effectively with them. It will even coach you on phrases to use or avoid.

Buyer intent information helps identify people online that are currently in-market for your own solutions, based on activity like searching for certain keywords or visiting either your site or a competitor’s website. Then marketing campaigns customized to their interests and based on predictive insights into their stage in the buying journey can be set up to engage them.
AI-Generated Content
AI content tools such as Market Muse can help you plan, study, create and optimize content that’s relevant, authoritative and helpful. These tools will show you where you will find chances for topics that are of interest to the audience but aren’t being covered by your competition. It can then create a first draft that can be refined and edited, saving you research and writing time.

Predictive analytics uses historical data to make assumptions about future results. Platforms such as Mintingo, Infer and many others harness AI to identify and prioritize your best leads — helping you optimize campaigns, accelerate your pipeline and improve close rates.

AI is also used to help expedite repetitive tasks. Otter is an AI-powered transcription application used to capture meeting notes. When the assembly’s done, we can easily extract the important information with minimal clean-ups for unclear or misheard terms.

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