Make the most out of 2021 with the latest marketing trends

Go on, admit it. The crisis has dragged on much longer than we all thought. What we all initially assumed was a brief interlude from the frenetic pace of commuting and office work has continued. Some of us delayed planning until 2020 was laid to rest and others spent much of 2020 planning for a better year. Now that everyone is back in the groove, albeit at home for the most part, we help you to make the most out of 2021 with the latest trends.

What’s new for 2021?

Well, it isn’t a blank sheet of paper so that’s the good news. Looking back to June 2020, The CMO Survey found that B2B marketers were the most optimistic about the next 12 months and would choose to invest in a few targeted areas.

These are:

  1. Account Based Marketing
  2. Digital experiences
  3. Influencer marketing
  4. Partnerships

As B2B marketers are well aware, the benefits of ABM in terms of deal size, conversion rate and wallet share are great. The efficacy of the approach lends itself well to the ongoing pandemic.

Digital experiences go without saying. With challenges in meeting clients face to face and fewer resources available to service customers due to furlough, digital comes first in many instances. As a result, it is critical that your digital experiences stand up to scrutiny and to competitors.

Influencer marketing is less popular in the B2B world but is set to ramp up as more people take a ‘digital first’ approach and stay at home more often.

B2B service companies are set to expand partnerships, which has long-term benefits. After all, it may be easier to sell through a partner than summon the marketing funds to ‘pull’ people in.

Why staying relevant is good for growth

Staying relevant and keeping up with trends places you in a position to capitalise on growth opportunities and match customer expectations. If we take a simple IT example, if you didn’t update the software on your laptop for 12 months, what will happen? Yes, it is still likely to function, but you would experience some adverse side effects such as security issues or out-of-date software.

Levitt argued that there is no such thing as a growth industry, only organisations that organise themselves to capitalise on growth opportunities. The logic follows that if you follow some or all of the trends of the time, you position yourself well in terms of efficacy, leads and retention. On top of this, many are subject to continuous professional development (CPD) as part of their marketing qualification. This is because most professional bodies recognise that keeping your knowledge and experience up to date both maintains the relevance of the certification and the employability of their members.

How to spot the fads from the real trends

Do you know how to spot a fad when you see one? Is there a hard and fast rule to weed out the duds from the most potent choices? Unfortunately, no, not really. In general, they will appear to be short term, but some turn into popular and long-lasting trends. In the B2C world, Tik Tok started off in Asia and is now threatening the dominance of YouTube and Instagram for personal video. In the B2B world, intent-based marketing started off as a fancy way of describing reverse IP lookup but has become a key determinant in B2B campaign efficacy leading to full-blown ABM.

Whilst influencer marketing may send a shiver down the spine of many B2B marketers, there is plenty of room for expansion. Forbes suggests that 19% of B2B businesses have tried or operate influencer marketing and The CMO Survey predicts that it will account for nearly 13% of a B2B marketing budget in 2023. This probably discounts it being a fad.

Digital experiences. Hmm, what does that really mean? Is it marketing speak for ‘amazing web design’ or is it something more? Digital experiences are your digital interactions at various touchpoints with an organisation. Reading a blog, looking for answers, submitting a form or adding to basket are just a few examples but what about on the service side? What was once the preserve of customer services now often falls to marketing. Whether you sell B2B software solutions or other B2B services, chances are that customers will visit your website or social media channels for help. Time to ask whether these are easy to find, use or navigate…and that’s before we talk about their usefulness.

It’s not all about martech but it helps

It’s okay, we haven’t forgotten about partnerships in our rundown. The temptation for B2B marketing leaders to invest in the newest martech is strong given the amazing solutions available. However, not all of them deliver on their promises or are properly implemented and leveraged. One thing that certainly can stand the test of time is partnerships.

In conclusion, the latest trends in B2B marketing help you to grow, increase efficacy and give us all optimism that 2021 and beyond can be brighter than 2020. Partnerships give rise to alternative business models, new revenue streams, cross-sell and upsell opportunities and even ‘passive’ income. These are definitely not a fad and something that every B2B business should explore.