Over the last decade, the B2B buying process has evolved with the advancement of technology. Traditional ad spends are dropping while digital ad spend is expected to account for over 50% of all advertising budgets worldwide. Just look at these stats:
- The B2B buying process is becoming longer and more complex because the majority of buyers (82%) are using more sources to research and evaluate products and services, and they are spending more time in the research phase itself.
- 94% of buyers reported using online research at some point in the purchasing process.
- B2B researchers do an average of 12searches before engaging with a specific brand’s site.
- Buyers are 57% of the way down the sales path by the time they engage with a brand’s website. Meaning they have already spent a fair amount of time educating themselves with the enormous amount of information available to them on the internet.
On top of all this, todays B2B buyer also wants the same digital experience they would get if it were a B2C purchase. This means that B2B businesses have to pay attention to how their consumers behave, how they interact with the different digital channels, and have to understand the significant trends in their markets. Then use this data to implement highly personalized engaging marketing campaigns.
The following are some of the major B2B Digital Marketing trends for 2020:
1. Content Marketing is Vital for Lead Generation
B2B marketers understand that content marketing is a vital part of their overall marketing strategy. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach customers.
What has changed over the last decade is how customers consume content. In 2020, video will be king. Just look at these stats:
- 70% of B2B buyers and researchers watch videos on their path to purchase
- 45% of B2B marketers are planning to add YouTube, and 41% Facebook Video, to their marketing strategies in 2020
If you need more proof of how important video is for content marketing, Google is now ranking video content higher than text content. This means that B2B marketers need to invest more in video and other interactive content if they want to reach their audience.
Along with video, written long-form content will also be vital in 2020. Audiences are showing more interest in content that provides valuable insight into a topic. Whitepapers are a useful format for long-form content. In fact, 79% of B2B buyers share whitepapers with their peers.
2. Personalization is Key
In 2020, personalized communications are going to be more critical than ever. B2B personalization is the act of tailoring your marketing efforts to fit the needs of each customer.
The Salesforce State of Connected Customer Report 2018 found that a staggering 72% of business buyers expect communications from businesses that are personalized to suit their needs.
With so many options out there, B2Bs need to do as much as possible to gain a competitive edge. This is why it is vital in 2020 to make personalization the center point of your marketing efforts. If you are not sure where to begin, there are various marketing automation programs that can help B2Bs personalize their marketing at scale.
3. Email Marketing is Still Effective and Getting Smarter
Email is considered the preferred method of business communication for business decision makers, and in 2020 that will not change. What will change is the technology behind those emails.
To help increase open rates, B2B companies have to invest in email marketing tools that will allow them to leverage advanced technology like dynamic content and artificial intelligence (AI). Not only will this enable B2B marketers to send different content to different segments as part of the same campaign, but it also allows for content to be updated depending on when and how the email is open.
One other aspect to be aware of is the continued dominance of smartphones. All email communications must be mobile-friendly. Remember that 89% of consumers will delete poorly formatted emails on mobile, and 27% will unsubscribe.
4. Rise of the Chatbots
Chatbots are programs designed to simulate human-to-human conversations. These programs are designed to help businesses automate communications with customers and can be found in places like Facebook Messenger, websites and various apps.
Chatbots can help a B2B do everything from book product demos, provide customer service and discover new leads. Using technology like AI, chatbots can communicate with clients and work to ensure complete satisfaction.
One of the most significant advantages to chatbots is they allow B2Bs to work more efficiently by streamlining specific processes and saving them money along the way. According to Business Insider, 80% of enterprises will want personalized chatbots by the end of 2020 and produce savings of $38 billion in the process.
For B2Bs to compete in todays crowded marketplace, they will have to provide more personalized experiences that cater to their customers needs. By paying attention to how their consumers behave and how they interact with different digital channels, B2Bs can craft engaging marketing campaigns that will help move customers through the buying journey.