With 2020 fast approaching, you don’t need a crystal ball to know that B2B marketing trends will look different from what they are today.
Ready or not, the time is now to equip yourself with the best marketing tools to create (and execute) an even stronger marketing strategy for 2020.
But with so many emerging trends, where should B2B marketers turn their attention? This post will take you through the top B2B digital marketing trends you can’t ignore in the year ahead.
1. B2B Marketing 2020 Trends Show Increased Use of Interactive Content
Have you noticed more interactive content on the internet lately? If you have, it’s no coincidence. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the number of interactive posts has increased by 33%. And that will continue to grow in 2020.
In the saturated content landscape, it’s hard to make static content stand out anymore – let alone connect on an emotional level with consumers. Interactive content is considerably more effective at grabbing people’s attention. In fact, 66% of marketers reported greater audience engagement after using interactive content, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Aren’t sure what type of interactive content would work best for your industry? Try using Buzzsumo. Search your topic and add keywords like “interactive” or “quiz” to see what has worked for other businesses.
It’s up to B2B marketers to start providing more engaging interactive content as part of their content marketing strategy in 2020.
2. Employee Advocacy is the NEW Influencer Marketing
Tapping into the influential power of your employees should be a consideration for all brands – especially since 2019 will kiss goodbye to the assumption that having a high-profile influencer equals instant credibility (and is worth the investment).
Employee re-shares of company-posted content not only generates more reach, but it’s shown to have more than double the click-through rate of the original post. Plus, employee-shared content is seen as more authentic, and therefore more likely to inspire action.
Employees often have more connections than their employer has followers. Since this is the case, employees can easily act as “influencers” and help spread their company’s message to increase online reach.
The takeaway? Encourage employees to share company-sponsored content, as well their own company-related content, to achieve the expanded reach and consideration you are looking for in 2020.
3. Digital Events & LIVE on Social Media in 2020
Most marketers believe event marketing is the most effective channel for achieving business goals – and they’re not wrong. However, events no longer need to be in-person in order to be effective. Integrating digital events into your B2B marketing strategy can also be lucrative for generating leads and accelerating your sales pipeline.
Virtual events in B2B marketing are a powerful alternative to in-person events
Virtual events are quickly becoming a mainstream form of event for B2B companies. Full-scale live events can be costly, and justifying the expenses associated with travel to an international event can be difficult. Virtual events alleviate both obstacles and provide the ultimate convenience for attendees who can join from anywhere on a laptop.
Event streaming and live Q&As on social media present a big opportunity for B2B marketers
Going live on social media should be another consideration part of your content marketing plan for 2020. Social media sites like Facebook are prioritizing live stream video content, meaning live content is less likely to get lost in the sea of regular posts and videos.
Additionally, Facebook wants more users to go live: “Live” is currently the first option in the status bar and sometimes you’ll receive notifications of when someone you follow goes live. With this extra push from Facebook, your company should be considering the live option to stream an event or run a live Q&A session.
4. Chatbots & Messaging Apps are the Future of 2020 B2B Marketing
Conversation has become increasingly digital in our daily routines, and this has quickly spilled over into B2B marketing. Chatbots have taken their place as the customer communication channel of choice, and they are giving rise to more personalized customer experiences.
According to Twilio, 66% of consumers prefer to reach brands through messaging apps. Chatbots connect people to the help and resources they need faster than ever before, proving to be a cost-effective and convenient way to communicate.
Savvy B2B marketers are increasingly using messaging apps and chatbots to meet their conversational marketing needs.
In fact, 100,000 bots are already available within Facebook Messenger. With the growth of Facebook Messenger, the launch of chatbots, and Messenger’s codes and plug-ins available to improve interactions, messaging has become the fastest growing channel for branded conversations worldwide.
If you’re not on board with chatbots and messaging apps in 2020, you’re already falling behind.
5. Artificial Intelligence for More Productive in B2B Marketing
A recent survey of marketers identified AI as the technology they are most likely to implement by 2020.
The reason for this is two-fold: today, prospects are expecting more personalized engagement throughout their customer journey than ever before, and there is more data available to inform those strategies. As a result, manual analysis of data and marketing best practices just doesn’t cut it anymore – prospects want more relevant and compelling engagement.
Artificial intelligence is the solution to this. It can help B2B marketers determine the best time and place to engage with prospects based on past performance and the information already collected about that prospect. AI can help deliver higher value to prospects by applying machine learning to the content selection and delivery process in order to further personalize their customer journey. It can even help B2B marketers predict outcomes like campaign performance, conversion rates, revenue, and customer value.
AI is more than just hype. It can make a fundamental change to the productivity and efficiency of your B2B marketing strategy in 2020.
6. The Race to “Position Zero” in B2B Search Engine Marketing
Position zero is the featured snippet of text at the top of the Google search results page, just after the ads.
Despite being the most sought after spot on the internet, only 12% of search queries include position zero in their search results – presenting a huge opportunity for your 2020 marketing strategy.
So how can you ensure your content ranks in position zero? Assuming your content is good enough to rank organically on the first page of search results, you then need to optimize your content for the specific question it answers. Depending on the question, you can use text, lists, images, and even videos to inform your audience. Encourage users to learn more by creating teasers for your answers so that they are more likely to click through to your website.
Remember, Google is looking for the best answer. That means the relevance of the content will outweigh its ranking (once in the top 10) when it comes to the sought after position zero.
B2B marketers already know that position zero is the holy grail of SEO. A recent study from HubSpot found that when their content ranked for position zero, it generated a 114% increase in click-through-rates, even in cases where they already had the top organic placement.
B2B Marketing Trends in 2020 & Beyond
Digital marketing has one consistency: it is ever-changing. In order to stay current, it’s important to adopt new technology, fail forward, and test what works for your business. Which strategies will you try this year and in 2020?
Need help with your B2B Digital Marketing Strategy in 2020?
Successful B2B marketing in 2020 and beyond is constantly shifting, iterating and adapting to reach your goals. Want to stay ahead of the game? Get in touch at email@example.com.
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