While B2B marketers initially saw a surge in digital activity after the COVID outbreak in the spring of 2020, 73% of B2B tech marketers say they have seen “digital fatigue” set in since then. “In a world where every business has been investing in digital, it seems it’s harder to stand out from the crowd. Quality of content and uniqueness of digital experience are more important than ever.”
Those are among the findings from 2021 B2B marketing trends in tech & SaaS, a research report published by FINITE, the global B2B technology marketing community in partnership with B2B digital marketing agency 93x.
The joint study focused on B2B marketing trends in 2021 and 2022 for B2B tech marketers. Per the authors, the research looked “back at the year gone by, but more importantly (looked) forward. We wanted to understand how our members have tackled 2020, and what they’re planning for 2021 (and 2022) by exploring trends, challenges, channels and budgets.”
Here are eight more key findings from the research.
- When asked what have grown most in importance since COVID struck, webinars came in #1 at 57%. While that’s hardly surprising, B2B marketers are also recognizing that the rapid advance in the capabilities of virtual event platforms since the beginning of 2020 now open up a whole new world of online event possibilities beyond traditional webinars.
- SEO came in second at 39%. Kerstin Reichert of Tide had some exceptionally insightful comments on this finding, noting that “SEO is a long-term effort and takes time from implementation to seeing results. The more competitive your industry is the more you need to put in an effort continuously. So stopping isn’t really an option. (And) when everything stands still it is an opportunity to clean up old SEO-debt.”
- “65% of B2B tech marketers are looking to increase their use of marketing technology,” while only 2% plan to cut back. The report cites the marketing technology landscape supergraphic created annually by Scott Brinker (though not the WPO model that makes sense of it).
- More than a third (35%) of B2B tech marketers plan to make greater use of AI tools for marketing and sales in the coming year.
- An astounding 75% of B2B marketers say they are increasing their focus on personalization in their marketing efforts. That would be a positive development. But really? Think about the marketing emails you get…how many are truly personalized? How many even get your name right (or bother to try)?
- A third of B2B marketers say chatbots will become an important part of the customer journey in the coming year. Yet as the report’s author’s note, while “chatbots have been rising in popularity over the last few years, there’s a question mark around how much their value has really been proven when compared to other channels or investments in a B2B space.”
- 37% of B2B marketers plan to use influencer marketing among their tactics this year.
- Nearly two-thirds (65%) of B2B tech marketers say digital events will remain part of their marketing strategy even once physical events return. As noted above, the functionality of virtual event platforms has evolved well beyond old-school webinars. And tools like Shindig mimic face-to-face networking online through video chat.
There’s much more, so check out this infographic and the complete report from FINITE and 93x.