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The essential digital marketing tools and techniques that will give your B2B strategy a competitive edge in the year ahead.

B2B buying behaviours have shifted dramatically — and this year saw significant digital enhancements to facilitate this change. Thanks to changing attitudes, B2B purchasers now expect the same digital experience that they get from a B2C purchase. This means that B2B organisations now need to create an experience that not only gets the attention of the decision-makers — but also moves the potential purchasers through the entire buying journey to the sale.

Recognising the new B2B consumer behaviour — and being aware of how your potential buyers interact with different channels — will be crucial for a successful B2B marketing strategy in 2020. Here are five B2B digital marketing trends you need to know to stay one step ahead next year.

Trend# 1: Increased spend on video marketing

Thanks to mobile searches, social media channels and live streaming, video (backlink to video marketing blog) are fast becoming the go-to marketing tool to reach B2B consumers. Already an important part of digital marketing, SEO and PPC campaigns, more than 50% of consumers now prefer video content over other forms of content like emails, social, and blogs.

It’s also estimated that product videos can increase sales by almost 150%, with Google revealing that almost half of internet users look for video content when considering a purchase. Whereas many forms of content are skimmed over, HubSpot revealed that over 50% of potential buyers consume video content thoroughly. In fact, 64% of consumers say that watching a marketing video has influenced a purchase decision of theirs in the last month. Translation: people love video — and there’s no sign of it slowing down.

Trend# 2: Smarter use of Google PPC

Google AdWords (now Google Ads) launched back in 2000 — and has remained at the core of B2B digital marketing ever since. Today, paid search ads have been shown to increase brand awareness by a huge 80%, but there’s one problem: the cost. Opting to take the DIY route could see you wasting a lot of money on unconverted ad spend that you’ll never get back — especially with Google’s push towards automated bidding strategies. It’s a function that’s been met with mixed reviews from PPC experts — and it’s not something we’re not fully relying on yet as it’s not always delivering the best results. For this reason, it’s going to be more important than ever to seek out a professional to manage your PPC in 2020. Our Google Ad experts continue to stay one step ahead by managing each client PPC campaign manually — adapting and changing bidding strategies for maximum client ROI.

Trend #3: Optimised SEO

So long as there are engines – run by smart algorithms, AI or otherwise — there will always be a need for SEO. In fact, 93% of all online experiences still begin with a search engine, with 67k searches performed on Google every second. This means it’s all the more vital that your website’s SEO is kept up to date. Though Google makes hundreds of tweaks to its algorithm every year, it also takes cues from its users to determine how a website ranks. This means that one of the best ways to stay on top of these changes is to focus on your customers — and their experience when they come to your site. Adapting your B2B SEO strategy to focus more on your customers than the search engine will be a valuable investment. Some key enhancements that will help both your site’s user experience and SEO in 2020 include mobile-first indexing, site speed, content, links, video, and voice search.

Trend #4: Enhanced Customer Experience (CX)

Nearly 89% of B2B buyers carry out online research during the buying process — and B2B e-commerce sales are expected to outgrow B2C e-commerce sales by 2020.

This means that there’s all the more pressure for your website to create a positive customer experience (CX). In fact, almost 80% of potential buyers who don’t like what they find on your site will leave and search elsewhere. CX is crucial for generating B2B leads — and converting those leads into sales. Easy-to-navigate sites, helpful content and the use of AI (such as chatbots to offer additional support and minimise wait times) will be key for a successful CX in 2020.

Trend #5: Face-to-face events

Despite a heavy focus on tech and digital, ‘in-person’ B2B events are back on the up – and this resurgence is only set to get bigger in 2020. In a highly digitised world, face-to-face events are providing the perfect platform for personalised interactions that help humanise a brand and give potential buyers a fully immersive experience. B2B businesses are increasingly leveraging the lead-generating power of shows, exhibitions and conferences — but are savvily supporting these with carefully placed digital spend. Whether it’s through paid ads on social media, Google Ads campaigns, dedicated event sites or CRM software, B2B businesses are harnesses tech tools to drive footfall, increase brand awareness and enhance the overall customer experience. Think of it as face-to-face events: version 2.0.

Of course, these are just a few of the key trends that will make a huge impact on B2B strategies in 2020 — but starting with these will be key to kicking off a successful year of digital marketing.

To find out more about the ways in which we can help you enhance your B2B digital marketing strategy to gain a competitive edge in the year ahead, click here to speak to our experts.

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