B2B Technology Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2021
While technology is entirely ubiquitous in the world today, yet it doesn’t entirely sell itself.
A solid B2B marketing strategy for technology products is vital for generating leads and boosting your company’s bottom line.
However, standing out from the crowd of technology firms is a lot more difficult than you can imagine.
Whether you specialize in project management platforms, CRM or cyber-security… there is a growing list of B2B competitors selling similar tools.
So, your B2B marketing strategy for technology products is very crucial.
No tech business is identical, and the type of buyer you market to changes depending on your sector.
Therefore as 2020 progresses, B2B marketers need to stay aware of the latest trends in the industry continually.
So what technology trends will likely have the biggest impact on firms this year?
Here’s a list of 15 B2B marketing trends to watch for in 2020:
1. Mastering the art of “Soft Sell”
Now, more than ever, is the time for compassion and understanding.
As the world is reeling from a global pandemic, you, as B2B marketers and communicators, need to lead with empathy.
Don’t push your tech products or solutions. Rather, it’s best to create educational material or thought leadership pieces.
The businesses that master a soft sell while being compassionate will be the ultimate winners of 2020.
2. Strategic focus and lean marketing should be the next move
Over the last few years, B2B marketing has experienced a great deal of change, largely brought on by evolving client demands.
Combined with an explosion of new tactics, tools, channels and technology, this has created a proverbial “kid in a candy store” situation for the B2B tech marketer.
But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Many tech marketers have quickly found themselves overwhelmed and in a chaotic cycle of trying to do too much. As the dust begins to settle, they’re starting to tap the brakes and evaluate their marketing activities, looking to understand where to focus their time, energy and resources.
In 2020, tech marketers will shift from thinking about what they can be doing towards what they should (and shouldn’t) be doing.
This will ultimately lead to less breadth in B2B marketing activities, and more depth—narrowing the focus on what is most likely to drive bottom-line results.
Lean principles such as iteration, testing and continuous improvement will become more of an emphasis.
As more B2B firms realize marketing’s value and untapped potential for greater contribution to bottom-line success, tech marketers are looking to deliver, and strategic focus will be the key.
3. ABM Needs A New ‘M’
ABM has been on an upward trajectory for the past few years and still continues to dominate B2B marketing discussions.
When done right, ABM can deliver remarkable results and drive B2B business success.
B2B companies with long, complex sales cycles often involve many stakeholders and transactions that are typically high-value in nature. Here, ABM represents a more effective way to generate new business than solely relying on “inbound” approaches to lead generation.
As a result, an increasing number of tech marketers have embraced ABM as a major part of their overall marketing toolkit.
However, this is an absolute cautionary tale.
While Account-Based Marketing is no longer just a buzzword, many firms have yet to fully implement ABM programs.
Far too many tech marketers get ABM wrong.
We believe this is because the “M” in ABM leads them to assume that marketing owns ABM from soup to nuts.
That is just not true.
In true sense, ABM should stand for “account-based model.”
Research shows that 92% of B2B tech firms recognize the value of ABM, going as far as calling it a B2B marketing “must have.”
In 2020, B2B firms will look to advance their adoption of ABM in both philosophy and practice and move to an account-centric model across marketing, sales and client success.
4. Dominance of interactive, visual and video content for humanizing business
We believe humanizing B2B business is a major current and future trend, which is why video is an effective method to deliver messages.
Your prospects don’t have the time to read. They’re bombarded with too much content.
Videos can thus be personalized and that’s what clients expect from tech brands.
Content marketing has for long been the darling of B2B marketing for more than a decade—and rightfully so.
B2B tech firms continue to invest in creating relevant, thought leadership-oriented content.
Marketers are increasingly turning to interactive, visual and video content to better engage their target audience.
A study from Demand Gen Report found that 91% of B2B buyers say they prefer interactive and visual content to static content.
And video content currently represents a majority share of internet traffic and is forecasted to grow to 82% of all internet traffic by 2021, according to Cisco’s annual VNI forecast.
While video content is already popular among B2B marketers, look for it to dominate in 2020 as more firms double down on their interactive investments and other firms decide to jump in.
5. Inclusion of Experiential marketing and immersive live events
Live events such as tradeshows and conferences have been a staple in B2B tech marketing trends for decades.
And in spite of the growing number of digital touch points in the buyer’s journey, B2B tech marketers rank live events as the highest performing tactic for converting prospects into clients.
But in many scenarios, B2B live events are in need of evolution and this will be largely influenced by the B2C approach in 2020.
Firms need to look beyond the booth and give the clients memorable moments that will evoke emotion and build relationships.
Tech marketers rank live events as the highest performing tactic for converting leads into clients.
6. 3D projection mapping
This technology takes images, graphics or logos and projects them onto walls to create a more immersive experience.
It has become a staple at large client events and high-production B2B events as well.
As this technology has become more affordable, more B2B marketers can leverage in their spaces and events.
7. The reel world of AR/VR
Augmented reality and virtual reality technology will allow clients to be placed into a scene that feels incredibly close to real life.
Whether demonstrating a product, service or technology, B2B marketers are looking for ways to incorporate them.
AR/VR when augmented to your live events and trade shows will drive traffic and create more memorable experiences.
8. The boom of Artificial intelligence and machine learning
According to research from Salesforce, B2B Tech Marketers list AI as the technology they are most likely to implement in 2020.
While B2C marketers have been using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for a while, its usage by B2B tech firms has been slower to gain traction.
However, its wide range of benefits, from better insights, detailed analysis, prospect identification, hyper-targeting, content personalization and expedition of tasks, is gaining the attention of B2B firms.
9. Double down on Intent Signals
B2B tech firms should double down on intent signals, using search analytics to guide your prospecting and digital advertising spend.
You got to fish where the fishes are biting.
No more standing on the dock waiting for the fish to swim past (our website).
Data-driven ads and outreach will increase connections, meeting setting and hopefully downstream conversion.
10. The growing emphasis on Predictive Analytics
The pandemic has created a sudden, major disruption to the economy.
B2B tech marketers are scrambling to adapt their plans in such a dynamic environment.
Predictive analytics can help such marketers model scenarios based on economic principles.
It helps to adapt your spending, channels and timing to create a data-driven strategy that reduces risk and takes the “guesswork” out of that process.
11. Increased Focus on Data Privacy
There is probably no bigger shift happening in tech marketing (both B2B and B2C) than the continuously evolving data privacy landscape.
B2B marketers are used to leveraging a lot of client and prospect data in their campaigns. But new regulations are forcing B2B companies to take a hard look at the data they collect and store.
Tech marketers need to pay close attention to how this impacts their capabilities this year.
12. Podcasts are the New Normal
Pick any B2B tech marketing trend (such as AR, ABM or AI-led automation), talk to experts about it, record and podcast.
It’s the best way to reach busy on-the-go B2B tech marketers who tend to multitask while listening to podcasts.
Transcribe the podcast to create content that helps the same tech marketers in their search for more information on the trend.
13. The surge of B2B Influencers
B2B Influencer marketing disrupted the B2C extremely overtly — think swipe up to shop, influencer-branded clothing lines, etc.
But B2B hasn’t realized that influencers are making their way into their space and will be just as disruptive.
These influencers might not have the numbers to reach, but they are incredibly influential as thought leaders and will drive an increasing number of B2B purchasing decisions.
14. RCS Messaging is the need of the hour
RCS (rich communication services) messaging will open up an evolved form of communication for businesses.
It will allow B2B marketers to add photos, videos, locations, map directions and more to their messages.
This will be a big upgrade on standard SMS functionality and will help marketers showcase their tech products and services in new ways.
15. Hyper Relevance is all what matters the most
Regardless of what technology you employ (there are some really great ones out there with intent signals, web personalization, sending platforms, marketing automation, etc.), B2B marketers are now in a world where they need to keep their ear to the ground.
They should know exactly what their audiences are thinking and caring about and craft the message accordingly for that specific moment.
The Only Constant In Tech Marketing Is – CHANGE!
This year, we’ll likely see several shifts in B2B tech marketing approaches.
We can’t wait to see how these trends outlined in the blog play out.
Our B2B Sales & Marketing Consultancy firm can help you to make your tech content attention-grabbing, engaging and visceral. Also, our digital marketing services can help your tech business grow exponentially.
So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!