To kick start this year, I have seven trends you will want to be aware of as the year begins and marketing plans are laid out. Some of them are intuitive and the same as years past, whereas others are new to the ever-important online world we are living in and relying on for marketing.
Before we get into that, here’s a peek at what’s to come:
- How to create and use a customer success team to its full potential
- Microsoft’s Cloud division soars past their predicted revenues
- Artificial intelligence took off in 2020 and may continue to grow in 2021
Marketing Trends for 2021
A lot changed in 2020. These changes have influenced where we are today and where we need to focus our marketing efforts for the upcoming year.
Let’s hop into the B2B marketing trends that we are predicted to see in 2021:
- Eliminating Complexity
- Show and Tell
- Two-Way Conversations
- Understanding Your Audience
- Elevating Your Brand’s Voice
The Edelman’s trust barometer survey indicates that 70% of respondents value trust more than they have in the past. Supposedly there has been an increase in the distrust of brands over the past years which has culminated in this increased value in trust.
Here’s why we think this is happening and how brands can begin to build trust again:
- Most business transactions are happening online and with the lack of face-to-face communication and connections, consumers are feeling weary.
- Providing live chat options and allowing customers to book calls for higher investment purchases will help bring back that trust.
- Open communication will create a connection to the company and have an inside line to talk too for all questions they may have – that’s partly why I love having an Apple product, I trust the Genius bar to be there for me.
Based on the same survey, technical experts and people who are similar to the consumer are seen as more credible than CEOs and successful entrepreneurs.
Here’s what this means and what brands should consider:
- People trust in facts and data more than the claims of a CEO
- Due to the ‘mere liking effect’ we trust in those that are similar to ourselves, understand who your buyers are and attempt to relate to them directly
- Similarly, influencers are gaining more trust from consumers than the words of celebrities
- New generations are especially more likely to trust reviews and peer referrals over claims made from the brand
B2B products are meant to increase efficiencies and the buying process should mimic the ease your service will bring.
According to some recent surveys from Gartner and Forrester:
- 77% of people found their latest B2B buying journey to be very complicated.
- 74% of B2B buyers are doing their research online and millennials are 90% more likely to conduct their research before contacting a sales associate.
To make sense of those stats, users are frustrated by complex buying processes that make them go through hoops and are looking for educational content online to inform their decision, without having to reach out to the company.
Here’s how we recommend easing the buying process:
- The research stage falls on marketers for support by creating and promoting the highest quality educational content.
- The importance of content marketing has never been greater than now in the online world we are living in, for ensuring consumers are feeling empowered and confident in their purchase decision.
- Ensuring you have clear calls to action and user interface is prioritized in your site design.
The following points are positioned as ways to achieve the above three trends of 2021, however, as these are put into practice we will see them rise as trends throughout 2021.
Show and Tell
Consumers don’t care what you’re selling; what they care about is how what you’re selling benefits them.
Our take on ‘show and tell’ and brining into the marketing world:
- It is now up to you as the marketer to ensure you are promoting high-quality video walkthroughs, product infographics, and real-time demonstrations of the product features
- Using multiple formats to share this information will be to your benefit as each consumer likes to learn and engage in different ways.
- What matters most is that you can connect the “why your product is best” to “how your product is the best”.
It is human to chat. Back and forth conversations are much more appealing than being bombarded with a ton of spammy ads and promotional content.
If you haven’t yet, it is time to, move away from exclusively pushing messages onto your audience and invite them in to connect with you, here are some tips:
- Engage with your consumer, bring them in rather than pushing them away by pushing email campaigns.
- Artificial intelligence will be a big help in making this process seamless as you can use conversation bots to have real-time conversations with consumers.
- Switch your focus to an inbound marketing method that encourages conversation and interaction with your audience – Hubspot has created the flywheel for inbound marketing
Understanding Your Audience
Know your audience 👏 👏👏 Understand who you are trying to reach and what the intent of your strategy is before putting all your eggs in one marketing basket.
Keep these questions in mind when creating collateral:
- Are you reaching out to c-suite executives who don’t have the time to read an 80-page white paper?
- Are you reaching out to buyers with videos or demos during the decision-making stage, or are you looking to create awareness?
Elevating Your Brand’s Voice
With markets becoming more saturated than ever, seeing many amazing startups entering into the competition, it’s important to maintain a strong brand presence across the web – since your audience is likely spending most of their time online.
We are here to tell you there are ways to boost your voice outside of personal promotion alone:
- Micro-influencers, co-promotion, blogging, and going live are all ways to make sure your brand is remaining relevant and noticed amongst the social media sea.
In 2021, effective marketing is all about reach and providing the most value possible to your audience. By increasing your presence online, you will increase your chances of being seen and heard, capture the attention of your targets, and be seen as an authority in your space.
- You need to upgrade your online presence to ensure your audience has no trouble finding all the relevant information they need to convert
- Focus on being trustworthy, showing users the “how” behind your “why”, and using facts to back up your claims
- Be active with your audience, be where your audience is, and know-how your audience wants to be communicated with
A few months ago, in November, Vista made major acquisitions, spending $1.1 billion to take over GainSight and expand its ever-growing enterprise portfolio.
But why am I talking about this today?
Because I want to talk about the importance of customer success. Not just achieving happy customers by having a good customer success team, but the added benefits of and secrets to a great customer success team!
A good team will increase your net promoter score (NPS) by 10 points, but a great customer success team will increase your NPS by 40 points!
This growth won’t be instantaneous, but it will pay off and there is a trick to achieving this.
Auren Hoffman of Summation.net has created a super guide to developing a great customer success function and I’m about to give you the rundown.
He states that the only way to achieve this success is to focus on groups of customers. Eventually, the product will become better for every customer, but you need to walk before you can run.
The first thing to do in levelling up customer success is to start treating your customer success teams as a part of the product team. These employees need to know and will know the product inside and out, understanding where improvements are possible, and where the pain points are.
How do they uncover pain points? Through customer listening, gaining feedback from the end-user, and turning those insights into actionable improvements.
Customer success should be focused on “one percent improvements”. Of course, a product improvement won’t create a 1% benefit for all users, but that is the sentiment.
An improvement designed for 10% of your customers may not be noticed by the other 90% but, as these improvements continue occurring and feedback keeps rolling in, you will be able to improve the experience for 100% of your customer base.
Providing these improvements, even when not directly tied to a specific customer’s complaint, will show your audience that you are listening and working to address their pain points. More than anything customers like to be heard and a customer success team needs to be their own internal advocate.
Outside of product improvement from customer feedback, Auren points out the following as important aspects to the customer and their overall experience:
- Quick feedback
Aside from being advocates for the customer, your customer success team should be focused on driving revenue, and the two go hand in hand. There a few ways this team can foster revenue growth:
- Make heroes of your champions
- Co-market with your customers
- Upsell your customers
- Track when champions go to new companies
- Get referrals to new customers
If you read the article in full (and I encourage you to do so), he outlines many ways to act on these insights and turn them into reality.
- Don’t focus on all your customers at once, group them
- Great customer success teams can increase NPS by 40 points
- Customer success teams are a pinnacle part of the product team
- This team should be focused on revenue growth, beyond turning feedback into product improvements
OTHER NEWS OF THE WEEK:
🏎 Two former Apple engineers are seeing success with their technology startup company Aeva, having raised another $200M before going public.
🎧 First Amazon Music, then Audible Plus, and now an acquisition valued at $300 M for podcast startup Wondery; Amazon is this product expansion seriously.
💻 Microsoft soared into the “Cloud” beating out earnings expectations during their Q1 report, estimating $35.76 B in revenue but achieving $37.2 B. They attribute the growth to their Cloud business.
BRAIN FOOD OF THE WEEK:
A rise in enterprise artificial intelligence has occurred over the past year; pandemic induced growth and innovative AI companies have led this charge.
Tom Tauli at Forbes has compiled a series of quotes from C-suite executives and general managers depicting their thoughts and predictions for the future of AI. Anand Rao of PwC provided very promising research around the payouts for companies who have invested in AI over the past years.
“Our latest AI research shows 86% of businesses are currently reaping the benefits of better customer experience through AI, and 25% of companies with widespread AI adoption expect to see the tech payout in increased revenue during 2021. The pandemic has uncovered the value of AI, lending itself to enhancing tasks related to workforce planning, simulation modelling and demand projection.”
TWITTER THREAD OF THE WEEK:
ALBUM OF THE WEEK:
Beautiful Instrumentals for a Dystopian Future Vol. 2 by Blake Rules (Best Track: And I Like to Party)
Originally Sent Out Thursday, January 07, 2021. Stay up to date with all of our latest findings by subscribing to our newsletter today. Signing up also gives you early access to Ross’ Tuesday essay full of exclusive industry insights.