Here are our hive experts' 2021 predictions

With the announcement of our new community hub, Propolis, Kavita Singh asked our hive experts what their 2021 predictions were. 

Propolis is a new community for B2B marketers to join, utilise and enjoy. Propolis brings together a wealth of expert talent to drive your vision through networking with peers, competency assessments, training and an 'open-source library' of practical tools. To find out more about our offerings, check it out here!

Barbara Stewart, CX Expert, Propolis

The overnight shift to digital-first in 2020 revealed many pain points across omnichannel sales and services. This disruption demonstrated a pressing need for organisations to invest in their customer experience strategies and programmes. 2021 will see organisations build on the work of 2020, attempting to pivot from being reactive to becoming proactive.

Empathy will take centre stage. Customers hate being treated like a ticket number, especially in these strange and isolating times. More than anything, they want to feel like a valued customer, with real thoughts and emotions.

Remote work and social distancing will drive CX trends. Organisations will expand self-service capabilities for customers and look to invest in future-proof digital solutions for both customers and (remote working) employees. Traffic management strategies will help to ensure that the most complex customer problems reach customer service representatives at speed.

CX metrics will focus on customer satisfaction. Long-form customer feedback is going to make a comeback, with a twist. Contact centres will start using more open-ended questions to deepen customer knowledge and gauge customer satisfaction.

Whole-journey redesign for customer trust. Even once the pandemic is over, customer concerns about health and safety will remain. A whole-journey approach will be critical. If one part of the journey fails the customer safety test, trust will be lost.

Kate Roe, Branding and Content Management Expert, Propolis

Last year’s pandemic and ongoing pandemonium has, I believe, accelerated some trends, from widespread video-conferencing from home to the proliferation of niche online B2B communities and a lot of soul searching for what a brand stands for. Here is my personal starter for 10on brand and content trends to look out for in 2021, and I invite the B2B Marketing community to enrich with their own, or let us know which ones they are prioritising, on Propolis.

What do you stand for? Gone are the days where ‘We are the leaders in [add industry segment or product type]’ cut the mustard. More than ever, people will buy from or work for companies who see beyond profit and want to make a difference. The good news is that most companies already have a nobler purpose in life than making money. It’s just a question of uncovering what that is and aligning it with the cause that your customers most align with. And, of course, be sincere about it.

B2B is dead. Long live H2H. Companies successfully relating on a human level will push above the faceless corporates. Put a face to your brand, embrace story-telling and show the human side of your business. Many more people are now used to video-based interactions, from Zoom events to user-generated podcasts. And showing emotion – along with the gate-crashing family member – is OK!

Better collaboration between marketing and sales. Finally! With Covid-19 forcing everything online and killing any chance to connect in person, commercial teams will come to rely much more heavily on content and insights delivered by the marketing folks to help them make connections. This will be good news for the customer if companies leverage data, content, frontline expertise and insight to serve the customer across all touchpoints. My hope is that the silos break down further and include customer service teams too.