2020 marks the start of a new decade and an even more competitive business outlook. Here are the top B2B marketing themes and trends that will impact businesses this year.
The presidential election
Key themes from the November election will impact every business. Topics such as affordable housing, technology, banking, healthcare, the environment and beyond will continue to dominate headlines (and media attention) leading up to the election. After the election, they will still be hot topics as pundits, bloggers and reporters debate the impact. Savvy companies will strategize about how to insert their executives and subject matter experts into the conversation.
B2B will look more like B2C
Most B2C companies learned early on that customers want an experience, not a sales pitch. We are seeing a convergence of B2B and B2C strategies as businesses continue to make better use of data. B2B firms have started to see the value in creating targeted customer content that feels more authentic. Blog posts that address clients’ pain points, offer interactive videos on firm culture, and present digestible, shareable content will proliferate this year.
Interactive digital and video content will continue to grow
Thought leadership content has long been a priority for B2B marketers. Rather than publish a traditional white paper, firms are increasingly looking to share their expertise via interactive digital and video content. It’s not hard to see why:
- Video is increasingly the preferred method for consumption for both consumers and business audiences, and Cisco predicts that video traffic will account for 82% of all internet traffic by 2022.
- Viewers watch more than one billion hours of video daily on YouTube. According to HubSpot, video has now surpassed blogging as a social media marketing tool.
- On LinkedIn, video content is 20 times more likely to be shared than static content.
Keep in mind that engaging video content doesn’t have to come at a high cost. One way to create inexpensive content is to recruit employees who are already active on social media. These content “ambassadors” can be tasked with capturing milestone moments at events and posting to social media channels. Some of my company’s clients in architecture, engineering and construction leverage iPhone videos on job sites to showcase what’s happening in real time.
Greater investment in social media
While most B2B companies have some form of social media presence in 2020, it often lacks the sophistication of other marketing channels. For example, companies often overlook the valuable role social media can play in terms of brand visibility, thought leadership and business development support. Social media still has tremendous value even if it isn’t tied to sales.
Like any other marketing channel, social media needs a targeted, thoughtful strategy to be successful. Be sure to define your objectives and identify your target audiences, and then publish content that supports those goals. For example, let’s say your goal on LinkedIn is to recruit talent. Make sure your company page is complete and showcases the people and culture that make your company a great place to work.
Don’t try to have a presence on every channel. Select the platforms that best showcase your brand, people and work. Most importantly, make sure you have the resources to keep those platforms active with relevant content. The easiest way to do this is to focus on the platforms where your audiences are already active. For most B2B companies, the most active platform is LinkedIn.