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One of the most important and exciting parts of entering not just a new year, but a new decade – is scanning the horizon to identify upcoming trends, future needs of your market and any challenges that you and your customers may encounter.

Our client executive, Connor, has searched far and wide to bring you the top B2B marketing trends for 2020 and beyond.

 

Top marketing objectives for 2020

According to the B2B Marketing Mix Report by Sage Frog, the top five marketing objectives over the next year for B2B industries are as follows:

1st Converting leads to customers

2nd Increasing sales leads

3rd Increasing brand awareness

4th Producing thought leadership

5th Increasing website traffic

The goals and marketing objectives that your company sets now will determine the course of the upcoming year and beyond. Unsurprisingly, as they have in previous years, converting and increasing sales leads remain at the top of the list of priorities for B2B industries.

What’s noteworthy, is that the top two objectives are priorities that both marketing and sales teams share. This indicates the ongoing importance of marketing and sales working hand in hand to generate growth.

 

Top areas of marketing spend

The top areas of marketing spend are predicted to be in digital marketing, website development and tradeshows/events which follows a similar pattern to previous years. It comes as no surprise that these categories are on top as they consistently remain high priorities for marketers and can often require (although not always limited by) a large budget to implement.

What may come across as a surprise is content marketing is positioned as a high spend, as it is generally considered as one of the more cost-effective tactics. This is due to the time and effort required to create high quality content – and time is one of your company’s most precious resources. This high ranking does reflect the fact that high quality content can provide a strong return on investment. It can be produced efficiently and has the chance to be found and shared organically again and again.

 

Bringing a new focus to content

Content marketing is often used by B2B companies to achieve the top-of-funnel goals of awareness and education. In this pursuit, short-form content and email efforts are used the most, including social media posts (95 percent), articles (89 percent), and email newsletters (81 percent), according to the CMI report.

However, there has been a noticeable increase in content marketing’s use for achieving lower-funnel goals like nurturing leads, driving sales, and building loyalty, pointing to its growing impact. This can be done through high quality case studies, testimonials, how to content (based around your services and products) etc.

As shown above in the top objectives for B2B companies in 2020, the number one goal is to convert leads to customers while generating awareness in at third place.

Looking ahead, marketers should take a more balanced approach and consider shifting their prioritised content types to achieve lower-funnel goals such as consideration and conversion.

 

Insights driven marketing

If you haven’t noticed already, Narrative is all about using analytics and insights to help drive business performance and optimise the results from digital marketing. We recognise that a large part of being a professional marketer is being able to qualify and quantify the results of your decisions (visit our Marketing Metrics Matrix to find out more).

The State of Digital Marketing report conducted by Altimeter/Prophet reveals that improving data-driven marketing has become a high priority for many businesses for 2020 indicated by the most desired skill amongst digital marketers.

Research by McKinsey & Co. reveals that the likelihood of generating above-average profits and marketing earnings is around twice as high for those that apply customer analytics broadly and intensively, i.e., the champions, as for those who aren’t strong in customer analytics, the laggards.

The effect on sales is even greater: 50% of the customer-analytics champions are likely to have sales well above their competitors’, versus only 22% of the laggards.

 

Video advertising – a continuing trend?

Video advertising continued to be a key driver of digital ad spend last year, with display video up 27% YOY in the first six months of 2019. The growth of mobile advertising and the arrival of superfast streaming thanks to 5G means the possibilities for advertisers to reach consumers with engaging video creative are only going to increase.

People are expected to spend more daily minutes watching video over the next few years, resulting in more advertisers investing in online video ads in order to drive engagement. Ensuring you use the latest techniques or focus on the right areas will help you stay ahead of the competition and can help you continue to see returns from your video content.

Top Video Trends for 2020

  1. Personalisation

Yes – this term is used A LOT, and you may be thinking “Really? This word again”, however it continues to prove to be an important factor and should not be ignored. 72% of consumers say they will now only engage with marketing messages that are personalised, and 60% of marketers consider personalisation to be a key strategy for improving the quality of their leads.

According to a survey conducted by Marketing Charts, 48% of consumers say that they want videos to reflect the products/services they’re interested in when it comes to informing their decision making. Interestingly, a further 43% said they want videos to be interactive in order to allow them to decide what information they want to view and when, which could be the next step to video personalisation.

  1. Data – driven approach

As mentioned earlier, data analytics has become increasingly important for marketers across the globe. It helps to ensure that you’re targeting the right audience with the right messaging at the right time, in order to increase engagement and conversion. This is an approach that is expected to be applied more to video marketing in 2020.

This approach gives your business a better understanding when it comes to your video marketing, including the best platform to use, who you need to target and the content of your videos – among other factors. This information can be highly beneficial when it comes to getting the best bang for your buck, improving the ROI on your video marketing.

  1. Integrating across the marketing funnel

As video is such a hardworking tool, marketers should consider using it at different stages of the marketing funnel and across different channels to help make the customer journey smoother and shorter.

From videos that explain brand values to those that provide more details on products or services, people prefer to watch videos where possible, with 72% of people preferring to learn about a company via video rather than text.

 

Long form content is on the rise

In an age of digital communication, there is this long held belief that content should be short, immediate and to the point (in some cases this is still true). However, over the years this logic has become a little more nuanced – and long form content has become more popular for marketers who are looking to achieve more with their SEO efforts. Long form content is one of the clearest B2B marketing trends that we’re currently seeing and is expected to grow further in 2020.

One of the main reasons for this growing trend is that long form content tends to be ranked well. Google has recently come to favour long form content on the assumption that the information within it is more analytical, useful and valuable to the user than its shorter counterparts.

Additionally, the value delivered through long form content has the potential to be so much greater than its shorter length counterparts as it tends to be better researched, analytical and more informative to the reader.

 

Whether your goal is to generate sales leads or expand into new markets, our team can help you tell your own unique story and embrace the trends that 2020 holds. Get in touch with our team today:  hello@narrativecommunications.co.uk

This post was created on 23rd January 2020
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