At the start of 2020, none of us could have imagined our well-thought-out B2B marketing plans would need to be completely revised within a month or two. Life has changed. Customer spending has changed. And even more changes are expected — industry, products, and services are shifting toward whatever our next, new normal is as we head into the last quarter of the year. For marketers, this means that now is the best time to start planning for a bigger and better 2021.
Many B2B firms are already considering how to allocate their marketing budgets in 2021. And with too much up in the air, businesses need to make the best of each dollar to keep ahead of an unpredictable time.
Where You Should Focus Your Efforts
To build a stronger revenue system and customer experience, your B2B marketing strategy should focus on your sales and marketing funnel. Every marketer should revisit their funneling work on the three components relating to considering your funnel strategy:
Demand Generation (TOFU Strategies)
Top-of-the-funnel marketing tactics that increase awareness and trust in the product or service. Demand generation addresses the first three activities that B2B buyers need to perform: challenge recognition, solution discovery, and requirements building.
Lead Generation (MOFU and BOFU)
Middle-and bottom-of-the-funnel campaign tactics that turn curiosity into action. Lead generation strategies address the last three tasks that customers need to perform: collection, confirmation, and consensus-building.
Retention and Recovery
Loyalty loop marketing techniques that turn one-time clients into loyal customers. Retention and regeneration will put consumers right at the start of the road for new challenge recognition and solution discovery.
How You Should Start
With the New Year, every company is presented with a clear choice: prioritize your marketing preferences or fail. The post-pandemic marketing landscape will change dramatically as some of the typical marketing strategies, platforms, resources, and opportunities will never be the same again.
1. Creating predictive models based on behavioral data
Advertisers need to look at standard buyer data segmentation methodologies focused on demographics, firmographic, scientific and geographic perspectives. More and more advertisers deploy behavioral data to build predictive models.
This means that segmentation will now be more effective than ever, as it will be mainly focused on consumer desires.
Growth and spending patterns have changed, and as such, some businesses will flourish, and others are likely to fail until they adjust their traditional targeting methods.
The market will remain competitive and unpredictable. Focusing on behavioral data would ensure that smooth consumer experiences are crafted by generating and updating micro-segments as conditions shift.
Segmentation based on behavioral data is one of the most significant post-pandemic targeting patterns for B2B marketers.
2. Nurturing Digital Relationships with the Customers
Marketers can use unpredictable periods to establish long-term partnerships with consumers. Any of the traditional means of marketing, like hosting physical events, would be difficult for marketers to leverage. In-person meetings and appointments can also be risky.
Until uncertainty reduces, marketers can concentrate on certain winning marketing strategies, including:
- Content pieces on thought leadership including blogs, white papers, case studies & e-books
- Strengthening the SEO and overall digital marketing strategy
- Enhancing the video marketing approach including demos, explainers, and interview series
3. Readjusting Quickly
Moving into the new normal, advertisers need to realize that their plans have to be flexible, always under consideration for changes, and able to pivot quickly.
Companies need to invest more time supporting new post-pandemic marketing patterns in digital transformation including, organizing virtual events and webinars and supporting new messaging. Organizations need to ensure that reactions to news events are carried out at lightning-fast speed.
According to Kate Smaje, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company, “The crisis has pushed every company into a major experiment in how to be more nimble, agile and fast.
4. Trusting in New Data
Data will lead the way to the digital transition and recovery in the fresh year. New, verifiable data is the ultimate game-changer as you’ll need to recognize what new trends are happening in real-time. You can’t depend on old expectations and strategies.
High-performing teams will provide particular impetus to the use of data and analytics within their companies.
While you begin to build the foundation of your new marketing strategy, make sure your strategy will work even if the pandemic and uncertainty continue longer than expected.
Future-Proofing Your Marketing Strategy
Future-proofing your marketing plan for the next year is something that advertisers can do on an annual basis. But after the unforeseeable 2020 events, preparing for 2021 feels a little different — maybe more difficult than previous years, or even scary. Preparation is crucial in times of panic and doubt.
From insights into the business, demographic, competitors, and taking a human-first approach to consumers and main messages, let’s discuss five approaches to ensure that the campaign is 2021-ready.
Be agile to reach buyers at various touchpoints
The B2B marketing landscape is constantly evolving — with new developments, innovations, and platforms just around the corner. To remain ahead of the 2021 curve, your team and strategies need to be extremely agile. Turning to the most appropriate platforms and mediums, updating your products, solutions, and offerings based on the market demand. And, modifying core communications, business environments, and ways of operating to fit clients and workers in an ever-changing environment.
Keep empathy at the heart of your marketing messages
The moves you make, the influencers you partner with and the causes you support are a product of your brand — and your audience knows that. In 2020, we saw an explosion of consumers boycotting products on the grounds of badly selected ad messages. This change is not going anywhere. As we move into a more socially-conscious society, build trust, strengthen your credibility, and recover on the other side of the crisis, your brand needs to be human-first.
Conduct market research and listen to your audience
When designing and executing a marketing strategy, you need to ensure that you satisfy your customers and be mindful of the field in which you work. That’s where market analysis comes in — a pivotal step in ensuring that you got it right. The unforeseen conditions of 2020 have demonstrated how easily economies can change — and even fail. Identifying risks and problems as they emerge would allow you more time to schedule, train, and adapt. The same goes for emerging opportunities, future events, and patterns — recognizing them in advance allows you to capitalize on them.
Know what your competitors are doing
Getting to know your audience is crucial — and so is getting to know your rivals. Run a competitor study to see who your rivals are, what they’re doing online, how their companies vary from yours, and what similarities you have. Identifying how you stand up against the market will specifically highlight your abilities, shortcomings, and even your special points of sale. Are you ranking higher than them in search engines for relevant keywords, or are you lagging behind in your social presence? Is their smooth online experience enabling them to convert more of your future customers? Use your results to strengthen your digital strategy and make sure that when they do something, you do it better.
Use data where you can
Making data-driven choices is an efficient way to improve marketing ROI and ensure that you meet the needs of your specific audiences. Historical data lets you see what has performed most successfully in the past and where you have spent the money and the capital that have secured little return. This encourages you to make more efficient decisions in the future. No one can forecast the future, though. And sometimes, you have to trust your intuition and be able to take a little chance. Adopt a “no idea is a bad idea’” mindset when it comes to meetings and proposals. This will continue to encourage the imagination of the team — and you never know what creative and entertaining concepts they will come up with.
Data is the Future
The two primary reasons why data will play a vital role in your marketing strategy in the new year are:
- a) you cannot effectively target the right accounts and decision-makers without having that data in the first place.
- b) you must have this contact and account information at your disposal to conduct multi-channel outreach effectively.
Given that, you need to make sure that you are using the right data at the right time and the right stage of the buyer’s journey.
Using Technographics and Firmographics to Build Targeted Segments
Every marketer and sales manager wants market segmentation to paint a more realistic image of their customer base. However, when it comes to segmenting accounts to target for marketing campaigns or sales activities, you have a lot to pick from. Firmographic and technographic data helps you to narrow down your segmentation.
B2B marketers leverage firmographics in the same way B2C marketers use demographic data. It groups customers based on firmographic data such as business size (either by the number of employees or annual revenue), company location, industry, executive title, etc.
Also, many companies now rely on their technology stack to drive growth. Here’s where SaaS companies can take the highest advantage to segment based on prospects’ technology stack using technographic data.
SalesIntel offers you the human-verified firmographic and technographic data to build more targeted segments.
Using Buyer Intent Data to Enhance Your Marketing Campaigns
Nowadays, customers increasingly tend to research heavily online before buying. It’s no surprise that armed with software and analytics to offer crucial insights on prospects and potential, marketers are expected to turn this data into new leads and revenue.
Adopt a system that puts the buyer Intent Data in one place with layers that allow the marketing team insight into client buying intentions. SalesIntel makes Intent Data conveniently accessible to the sales and marketing departments so they can power up marketing campaigns using personalization.
Using Data Enrichment to Increase Form Submission
A sign-up page on your website is the best way to make it easier for you to take the first step in the sales process. However, the way you set up your feedback form on your site has a significant influence on whether people want to “upload” it. The number of details you ask for on the form has a huge effect on the conversion rate.
In most sign-up forms, advertisers ask additional questions to learn more about the lead. While these questions may be of assistance to the marketing and sales staff, they may be a turn-off to the individual trying to fill out the form.
Data Enrichment helps you to gain additional information about your leads without applying additional fields to your website form. This allows you to offer a frictionless form submission and increase conversions. SalesIntel helps you only ask for the necessary information to contact your prospects and then auto-fills the missing information in your CRM which provides better data validation than asking prospects directly.
With 2021 right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to develop your marketing strategy. If you are striving to get your marketing on point, follow the suggestions that we have discussed. However prepared you are for the coming year, recall the improvements made in 2020 and the new normal that emerges as a result.
P.S. – Data will hold the key.