2020 was a year of change for marketers worldwide, much of it not for the best of reasons. Will B2B marketing, and demand generation in particular, revert to “normal” once the pandemic subsides and economic recovery kicks in, or are recent trends destined to become staple tactics in the months and years to come?
We asked our colleagues at Spear Marketing Group to identify their best demand generation predictions for 2021 and the trends they believe are most likely to have staying power. Here’s what they had to say:
“With the emergence of 5G technology and lower latency, creative trends will continue to generate opportunities for more interactive formats (videos, 3D renderings, interactive graphics) and short snippets that are immersive and quick to load. B2B doesn’t have to be boring – more brands will adopt personalization and playfulness to connect with buyers.”
– Sandi, Group Account Director
“I predict we’ll start seeing more credit ratings and payment scores appended to B2B marketing data. These will become incorporated into lead and account scoring, perhaps as criteria for what can become an MQL. Leads will need to pass “credit worthiness” before a closed/won is accepted. Marketers will need to get ahead of this by incorporating credit ratings into the qualifying process.”
– Sarah, Marketing Automation Specialist
“I think a significant trend for B2B marketing and sales in 2021 will be video. Statistics show that video content will account for 82% of total internet traffic by 2022 (Facebook and LinkedIn being the top two platforms for video marketing, now ahead of YouTube). If your 2021 lead generation and content marketing plan/budget doesn’t include video, I’d advise getting creative about how to do this or risk being left out in the cold.”
– Koka, VP Client Services
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“B2B lead conversion rates are hovering around 2%, meaning that 98% of traffic (paid and earned) isn’t converting. Instead of increasing media spend to drive more and more low-converting leads, I believe we’ll see an increased focus and investment on conversion optimization in 2021, with an emphasis on “down funnel” stages. Tactically, this will mean deeper audience segmentation (and more data), improved creative, and personalized content that maps better to buyer and customer interests.”
– Tom, VP Business Development
“Continuing a pandemically-caused shift in brand voice and design, more and more B2B brands will begin proactively displaying (maybe even discovering) their “softer,” human side to better empathize with prospects and customers, much in the same way that B2C brands did in the wake of the 2008 housing crash. Now, where that human side was once a way to break through the noise, it may very well become the noise itself – lending even more importance to knowing and targeting the right audiences through better segmentation or account-based marketing strategies”.
– Ben, Creative Director
“I believe 2021 is the year when ABM fully enters the marketing mainstream and becomes a standard part of the demand generation mix, versus (as it has been) a tactic or philosophy that companies must somehow choose to “adopt” to the exclusion of other strategies. For most B2B companies, ABM will be as much a part of the B2B demand generation landscape as paid search or lead nurturing. It’s no longer if you’ll do ABM – it’s a matter of how and when.”
– Howard, President