From account-based marketing to digital trends, Green Hat has released its latest B2B Marketing Findings.
As with most industry sectors, B2B felt the impact of the COVID pandemic and with marketers working often with reduced budgets and unpredictabilities, businesses needed to think fast and adapt quickly. The reverse is also true, in that not all B2B businesses were impacted, in fact, the study reveals 22 per cent saw an increase in sales over 2020, showcasing the truly unpredictable nature of the year.
Green Hat CEO and B2B expert Andrew Haussegger recently spoke with Marketing Magzine about the findings of the latest Green Hat/AMI ‘B2B Marketing Research Report’ an annual opportunity to gain insight into the industry.
In the interview, Haussegger said one prominent central theme stood out for B2B marketers; the need to embrace digital.2020 “ignited the digital flame”, he said, calling digital platforms a now mandatory part of connecting with customers.
“One of the questions, we asked ‘what are your top three investment areas?’ and online events made their way into the top three as the equal third,” said Haussegger.
B2B salespeople have previously built relationships with customers in face-to-face situations via tradeshows or industry events. With a large number of event cancellations this year, there was a push towards virtual tradeshows, webinars, showrooms and the like. It quickly became essential for marketing teams to enable their sales staff with digital content.
A second trend the research revealed was the rise of account-based marketing (ABM) in Australia. In terms of B2B marketing, ABM is essentially using a systematic approach to drive revenue by aligning sales and marketing activity to target accounts with data-driven personalised communication.
The report revealed 57 per cent of respondents indicating they’ve already or planned to implement some type of ABM plan for the year ahead. Haussegger says ABM is going beyond targeting advertising to selected accounts on LinkedIn and more towards a full funnel and an end-to-end personalised account experience.
For the year ahead however, in terms of planned marketing investment for 2021, content remains, king for B2B marketing with content development taking the top spot. But if you’re wondering where your efforts should be focussed (webinars, social media, paid ads) Haussegger’s advice is clear, “Publish your content to where your customers are.” Before marketers invest, it’s key to do a bit of buyer journey mapping to discover the channels your potential customers are using. However the report revealed only 25 per cent of marketing professionals take this approach.
“If you don’t know what they look like, how they behave, what content they want, what channels they use, then you’re not doing your job as a marketer,” he added.
When it comes to social media, LinkedIn continues to be the top B2B platform. Haussegger says social media is a pay-to-play and encourages marketers to measure ROI carefully with appropriate tagging of visitors, conversions, leads, opportunities and revenue.
In terms of what the future holds for B2B marketing over the next year and more insights into the top trends download the Green Hat/AMI B2B Marketing Research Report 2021.