When it comes to innovation and forecasting new trends, marketers are usually at the forefront. In late 2019, B2B marketers at Sagefrog were predicting the importance of using new personalization strategies and tactics, Instagram for maximum B2B engagement, and more. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, marketers everywhere have been forced to pivot and completely re-create marketing strategies and programs for this perplexing, new, and socially distanced era.
For the 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report, now in its fourteenth year, we surveyed B2B marketing professionals in a variety of industries from healthcare to technology to professional services and manufacturing. Research in this year’s marketing report forecasts the marketing climate for the year ahead and also provides information on trends and emerging tactics.
Here’s a quick look at the top takeaways from our 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report. Give them a read, take note, and be sure to consider them as you begin planning your 2021 B2B marketing budget and program.
Value Email Marketing and Search Engine Optimization
Email marketing has long been known to provide the best return on investment (ROI) for marketers. In this year’s B2B marketing report, it topped the charts for go-to lead sources, coming in just under referrals. Because email marketing is one of the best sources for leads and consistently provides great ROI, it makes sense that it would be one of the top implemented tactics of 2020, especially considering the dynamic marketing climate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) came in just under email marketing, which only proves how much value it can provide (if you invest in it wisely). The fact that SEO topped the charts as one of the best sources of sales and marketing leads further validates how important of an investment it will be going into 2021 and beyond.
Build Out Your Instagram and YouTube Channels
Among our surveyors, use of Instagram and YouTube both significantly increased from last year’s report. It makes sense, as even us marketers enjoy the types of content Instagram and YouTube have to offer, as do our audiences.
If you don’t have an Instagram account or a YouTube channel, now couldn’t be a better time to create them and begin building them out. Everyone is consuming more content on Instagram and YouTube as a result of the pandemic, and yes, this even includes your customers, audience, and potential job candidates!
Given that people are paying more attention to these two social media channels than ever before (because let’s be honest, there’s not a whole lot else to do), it’s wise to start getting creative and adopting them now, if you haven’t already.
Regain Brand Awareness If You’ve Pivoted Services
COVID-19 forced businesses worldwide to reimagine how they provide services. The closing of businesses and screeching halt of in-person activities meant that businesses and entrepreneurs had to rethink their business plans and, in many cases, abruptly pivot their services to cope with the impact of the pandemic.
If you’ve had to pivot services during this time, your marketing program and any KPIs you previously established for the year will likely need to change too. Not only do you need to educate customers about the new services you’re providing, but you also need to regain B2B brand awareness.
Think about your audience and customers and what your business has to offer them now and in the future. Post-COVID-19 success requires increasing brand awareness, proving value, and rebuilding trust. Strengthening your relationships, both new and old, is also critically important. Your audience and customers will remember and value you if you were there for them during this especially challenging time. If you can accomplish those objectives, you’ll be on the right track.
Try Account-Based Marketing Strategies on LinkedIn
Account-based marketing (ABM) strategies involve identifying, communicating with, and landing your most desired accounts. It hinges on successful relationship building, making LinkedIn one of the best places to test these strategies out for yourself.
You can take a one-to-one approach and focus all of your efforts on one account at a time, or you can take a one-to-few or one-to-many approach, focusing on as many accounts as you choose at once. The one-to-one approach works best if you have an existing relationship with a specific contact or account, as you can highly personalize it to encourage upselling and product or service renewals. One-to-few approaches work best for existing customers and new prospects, as you likely already have some information about them.
One of the most popular ABM tools is LinkedIn’s InMail feature, which allows you to personalize communications with key accounts and even go as far as to communicate directly with desired personnel. Whichever approach you choose to take, don’t overlook LinkedIn and its ABM tools, as it was the most used and engaging channel among our surveyors this year.
Demo HubSpot to Learn Why It’s the Top Platform
Marketing automation platforms continue to rise in popularity year by year. This year, just like last year, HubSpot again took the cake as the top marketing automation platform when compared against Adobe/Marketo, Pardot, and Others.
If you’re not familiar with HubSpot, now’s the time to try a demo of it for yourself and learn why it’s consistently chosen as the top marketing automation platform. At Sagefrog, we understand why HubSpot is increasingly popular and always recommend it to our clients when they’re looking for a marketing automation software that integrates marketing, sales, and CRM seamlessly.
Get Your Free Copy of the 2021 Report Today
No one could have predicted how radically COVID-19 would impact the way businesses operate and prepare for the future. The results of our 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report, however, can help to predict what marketers in industries like healthcare, technology, and professional services envision 2021 looking like. Get your copy of our 2021 B2B Marketing Report now and use it to help you plan your marketing budget and program for the upcoming year.
Not familiar with some of these strategies, tactics, or platforms? That’s okay! Get in touch with us, and we can help you explore your areas of interest, without diverging from your B2B marketing objectives or program.
Want to level up your B2B marketing efforts in the year ahead, so you can leap past the competition? Let’s talk.