With only a couple of months left in the year, it is time for us marketers to start looking forward. What marketing trends will 2020 hold? With constant changes to technology like augmented reality and marketing automation, we can be on the lookout for exciting things in the coming year.
What will be the biggest B2B marketing trends in 2020?
One theme of the coming year that is sure to reach across all verticals is account-based marketing. Account-based marketing is all about focusing on each specific buyer rather than just creating a general message. Approaching marketing with a broad-reach message can cause you to miss major opportunities to connect with your core users in a meaningful way.
Using marketing tools to employ the following trends – while staying “people-centric” – can help you achieve success in the coming year.
1. More specific and flexible content marketing
Compelling, on-the-go content is at the top of the list of content marketing trends to watch this year. There are many brand-elevating forms this content can take: blogs, whitepapers, video marketing. But perhaps the greatest opportunity lies in podcasting.
Podcasts allow you to reach busy people who are commuting, exercising, cleaning or just generally multitasking. This format provides you with a chance to share your thoughts and reach others with the same interests. Podcasts allow you to hyper-target your listeners, even distinguishing between exact audiences with each episode.
Instead of going broad when designing your podcast, find your particular niche in your industry, and start developing your podcast accordingly. This will position you or your company as a topic expert – and you’ll find that listeners follow. Make sure to include relevant guests that may attract listeners and transcribe every episode for potential social media fodder.
Once you start growing your library, pay attention to who is listening and which episodes are the most popular. This will help you continue to tailor your content to your target audience.
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2. The use of valuable text marketing
Reach your customers where they are – looking at their phones – without the hassle of a phone conversation. Texting your customers is a great way to ask quick questions, schedule meetings, share links and promote sales or other events.
More and more people use text messaging as their primary form of communication, especially those in younger demographic groups. Because text messaging is so present, it’s more of a guarantee that your message will actually be seen. Research shows that 90% of people will read a text message within three minutes of receipt, which is an open rate far better than any other method of marketing.
Things will move more quickly when you utilize this marketing tool, but trust is of the utmost importance. Make sure to get proper permission before texting to keep your customer on your side and provide special incentives to customers who allow you text them like early-bird discounts to events, access to a free trial or exclusive content.
Also, consider using your texts to build additional connections to your customers by sending a link to a newsletter or subscription. Watch those in your text messaging program stay opted-in and engaged as you grow this way.
3. An increase in chatbots as the first line of customer service
Believe it or not, websites still serve a very critical purpose for your business. Your website can contribute to a customer’s positive experience, or if it is difficult and outdated, can detract from their experience instead. The average customer support form on your website isn’t going to cut it anymore because customers expect help in real-time – they don’t want to wait for someone to get back to them.
One of the most beneficial marketing tools you can add to your website is a chatbot. Artificial intelligence has made great strides, and a chatbot that adds a “human touch” and some personalization helps customers remain engaged and coming back. A chatbot can also cut down on wait times by answering questions in real-time. One other bonus is that a bot is likely to decrease the bounce rate from your site and increase conversions.
Remember, chatbots are not a “set it and forget it” style of marketing. It is important to have a strategy and decide what purpose your bots will serve. Are you using them to drive traffic? Improve retention? Cut costs? In addition to making sure your chatbot is strategically aligned with your overall marketing plan, it’s important to verify that the tone is right, too. Your chatbot should have a good “personality” that you feel fits with your company and not one that is too robotic or pushy.
When set up correctly, you can gain valuable customer insights from a chatbot. A bot can help you identify loyal users who are clearly invested in your brand and your offerings. It is crucial to program your chatbot to provide helpful assistance for your customers and regularly analyze logs to make sure that there are no hang-ups with how the bot responds to people’s needs. If you commit to setting up a chatbot correctly, as well as maintaining it, you will be on your way to success with this trend.
4. Even more marketing automation
Today, you can run many campaigns simultaneously when you acquire a new customer; you don’t have to use the same promotions for all. Marketing automation software can trigger actions based on specific rules that you set up, so you can nurture leads and customers in a way that is custom made for them. You can also keep a full history of how you’ve engaged with each customer, allowing you to have a history and a roadmap of your interactions with them all in one place.
Imagine you get the opportunity to meet new leads at an event. You gather their contact information and set them up to receive some welcoming messaging. Later on, you send them more content and track who is responsive and how they are responding. You can collect actions and responses for each customer and continue to share relevant information via your messaging apps. Your sales team can then follow up with the most responsive customers to nurture them into even more valuable users.
Marketing automation optimizes your resources and saves time. It also measures outcomes, helping you to continually improve on how you set up your individualized campaigns.
As marketing automation tools get more common and sophisticated, customers will come to expect this type of personalized service. If you don’t adopt your campaign management to use more automation, you may lose customers and market share.
In 2020, marketing will continue to move faster than ever. As buyers become better informed and shrewd, it is critical to provide them with a personalized, modern form of content and an experience they feel is unique and interesting. Taking advantage of trends on various platforms like podcasting and text message marketing, and relying on marketing automation to secure and nurture leads, will be the keys to success in 2020.