8 marketers share their B2B marketing predictions for the rest of 2021

We asked some of our B2B Marketing event speakers what’s to come for the remainder of the year including topics such as ABM, sales enablement, data strategy and marketing technology. Here’s their predictions.

Data:

Darrell Alfonso, global marketing operations manager, Amazon Web Services

“We’ll see a huge investment in data synchronisation and integration. We are already seeing it. Operations people know that the implementation of marketing is really just moving data from one location to another. From CRM to marketing automation platform, from CMS to email editor, from design file to your customer’s mobile app. Marketers need to be able to move data faster and easier – my money is on a huge influx of investment coming into these types of companies.”

Martech:

Craig Howard, chief solution architect, Merkle

“As marketers better understand the need to centralise all data across marketing, sales, and service and how to leverage a central customer data asset within their marketing programmes and channels, they will quickly turn their attention to change management. Centralisation of customer data and audiences with the help of technologies such as a CDP will force them to think about how to adjust their organisation to take advantage of an integrated first-party data asset.”

Kirsty Dawe, CEO, Webeo

“Integrations, integrations, integrations. While marketers will add to their stack if there is a compelling business case it is no longer enough for that technology to work well on its own. It must not only play nicely with other technology but actually contribute towards the value of the overall output from the techstack as a whole and business critical marketing functions.”

Strategy:

Lidia Lal, head of marketing, Udemy

“In 2021 marketers are going to be held even more accountable and more responsible for connecting the dots. It’s a pivotal time for marketers to really step up and take strategy decisions to the next level to help optimise customer lifetime value. It will be a time where sales, services and marketing teams will come together ensuring each touchpoint becomes valuable for the customer/prospect. While most marketers will be eager to return to some form of normality we all know deep down that the world will never be the same.

Ultimately, flexibility and agility will need to be at the forefront of a marketer’s world. Businesses must continue to align marketing with sales and really focus on getting this right but in addition to this it is also bringing together customer experience and marketing understanding that customers and prospects are more informed than ever before.

As a marketer I have always appreciated creativity as it enables organisations to really embrace pockets of opportunities and find key opportunities when they are least expecting it. So, creativity will be even more critical in 2021 particularly since budgets won’t be the same as they have been for the last few years.

Companies need to focus on diversity and inclusion - as we saw so deeply embedded in our society in 2020 a light need to be shone in this area and everyone needs to understand the importance of inclusivity and diversity. Brands therefore need to speak to a diverse set of audiences and be open to it through messaging and value propositions.

One thing is certain and that is that change will be inevitable - the only ‘constant is change’ they say, and I bet my bottom dollar that this will be more evident than ever before in 2021. Marketers will focus much effort around enhancing customer experience, expansion opportunities, retaining customers, establishing more human connections through their marketing efforts, improving agile marketing efforts and producing more interactive content that they can serve to various segments from enterprise right through to small business. Now more than ever the martech stack will become even more critical than it’s ever been.”

Lee Hackett, CEO, BluprintX

“My main prediction is the growth of agile operations. It’s going to be big. Over the past decade a lot of time and effort has been invested into effectively acquiring additional firepower – new technologies that allow us to do more things that are customer-Facing. What’s perhaps lagged is how marketing teams work, how the management of teams works, how the teams are organised and how they organise their work. So, for me, addressing these areas will be a huge piece of 2021 as things begin to get back to normal.

Granted, it will be a ‘new’ normal. Covid-19 has been a catalyst for remote and flexible working, which brings with it both opportunity and challenge. To make the most of the opportunity and minimise the challenge, businesses will need very comprehensive plans in place. Migrating to a more flexible workforce is one thing, sustaining it and achieving continued growth is another. This is where I see the next phase of technology play in the market. Tech is already driving marketing and sales operations, the natural progression is tobring work management into the fold.”

Sales enablement:

James Smee, CEO & principal consultant, Bridge

“It will continue to embed itself as both a central part of the martech stack and as an integral discipline in B2B organisations. It will be central to helping companies adapt to the ‘new normal’ selling models that are now clearly here to stay.”

Dominik Schaefer, senior marketing manager, EMEA, Highspot

“In 2021 and beyond, enablement leaders everywhere will have to seize the opportunity to further establish themselves as strategic partners of the business. The past year hasn’t just caused temporary adjustments, but permanent change. Virtual selling is here to stay. Remote working, training, and onboarding will stay a part of the business. With that in mind, enablement teams must make sure to equip their revenue teams with the content, skills, knowledge and coaching they need to be set up for repeatable and scalable success.”

Growth:

Lois Mueller, director of enterprise sales at xiQ

“What a difficult question!  I don’t believe we will be able to quantify just how much the pandemic changed B2B marketing for another 2 years or so, but I do believe that marketing teams will focus their efforts on a more 1:1 or regional basis for the remainder of the year versus scalable strategies. A lot of Fortune 500 companies I’ve spoken to recently underwent massive organisation changes and structured teams to have a smaller, region-based focus which promotes territorial personalisation, so I’m excited to see the results from these efforts as well.”

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