B2B Marketing: Stats and Trends for 2021
by Sarah O'Neill, on 27 July, 2021
Woof, what a year. And of course I'm only referring to the B2B landscape. Nothing else. Don't think about it. Nothing else happened. The only plague is how many people are avoiding implementing AI and ML in their marketing, am I right? 😰
The whole pandemic thing caused B2B marketers to make a bunch of changes in their strategies and processes. So, the landscape looks super different than it did only a couple of years ago. Some trends accelerated, and some disappeared.
From face-to-face disappearing, to the distinctions between B2B and B2C blurring, there's been some drastic changes. Luckily for you, we've got some nice stats and numbers so you can get your head straight. Let's jump in.
What Does the B2B Marketing Landscape Look like in 2021?
7 in 10 salespeople have reported that they are now doing at least half of their sales virtually. So, that's a bunch of technique and process changes, but also the introduction of a field of new technologies, compared to what would've been used with face-to-face interactions. Even with these adaptations:
- 59% of marketers are saying their sales and marketing organisations are performing well given the global circumstances. Fewer than one in 10, reported the situation was "poor" or "very poor".
- 73% of respondents cited the cancellation of in-person events as a key challenge, higher than fewer sales opportunities being generated, at 46%.
- 47% report that reallocating budget from physical to digital has worked well.
- Webinar consumption has risen by 293%
Where do B2B Marketers Plan to Invest?
With everything shifting, where do marketers plan to put all their hard earned cash? Well:
- 47% of marketers plan to increase to increase their use of AI in 2021.
- 46% of B2B organisations plan to invest in ABM in 2021
- 45% of marketers plan to increase their use of social media/ social marketing tools in 2021
- 43% plan to increase investment and use in marketing analytics tools in 2021
- 42% of respondents plant to increase their video marketing usage in 2021
- 38% of marketers plan to increase their use of CDPs in 2021
- 11% of B2B organisers plan to invest in voice optimisation in 2021
How to Marketers Plan to Use Marketing Automation in 2021?
92% of marketing agencies are now investing more time, resources, and budget into marketing automation integration. So, how else are marketers using automation to improve efficiency?
- Email automation campaigns are among the three top tactics used by email marketers to improve performance
- Of marketers who are automating marketing, 23% are automating their content delivery.
- 20% of respondents report they are using automated email marketing campaigns
- 68% of businesses are using automation in some way
How Will Marketers use Email Marketing this Year?
Email marketing has consistently been one of the most popular, and effective, B2B marketing strategies. for every $1 put in, email marketing gives back $44. 50% of B2B marketers have stated that email marketing is the best for generating leads with the highest return on investment. Email marketing remains, year in and year out, top of the charts.
- 87% of B2B marketers use email to distribute content
- 81% of B2B organisers produce email content
- 59% of marketers say email is their top channel for generating revenue.
- 59% of people say email influences their purchasing decisions
- 31% of B2B marketers view email newsletters as the best content for nurturing leads
- 20% is the average open rate for B2B emails
- 16% of B2B organisations' top marketing spend is email marketing
- 5% is the average click-through rate for B2B emails
- 10-60 minutes is how long people look at email each week
What Will B2B Content Marketing Look Like in 2021?
- 69% of B2B organisations use content marketing
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing
- 50% of B2B marketers' organisations outsource at least one of their content marketing activities
- 41% of B2B marketing representatives read three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales representative
- 33% of B2B companies' top marketing spend is content marketing
- 86% of B2B marketers us content to create brand awareness
- 58% of B2B marketers rate their organisation's content marketing success as "moderately successful"
- 89% of B2B marketers use their company's blog to distribute content
- 41% of B2B marketers' organisations have a documented content marketing strategy
- The size of the average B2B Content team increased 31%, compared with 12 months ago
But what type of content are people responding to, in our hybrid day and/or age?
- 27.2% of worldwide viewers watched more than 10 hours of online videos on a weekly basis
- 2020 saw the average amount of time an American age 12 and older spend listening to podcasts rise to 6 hours and 39 minutes
How Will ABM be Used in 2021?
B2B customers now expect to be treated like B2C customers. And empathy is the key.
Clients expect empathy and tailored engagement whether they're buying for themselves or their company. 82% of high performers say B2B and B2C tactics are now overlapping. This is compared to 67% of underperformers. Plus, overperformers dedicate 18% of their budget to ABM, compared to 14% for underperformers.
ABM is a relatively new trend, but by god they've caught on, and for good reason. 64% of ABM programmes have been started within the last five years, and have since grown rapidly in sophistication, with 68% using automation.
- 42% of respondents said the pandemic has changed their ABM objectives
- 49% of marketers have shifted their objectives to focus more on growing business with existing accounts
- Relative to other marketing activities, ABM delivers 97% higher ROI
- Out of 100 B2B marketers surveyed, only 6 said they weren't using ABM.
- In 2019, 23% of respondents to a Terminus survey had no active ABM program. In 2020 that number had gone down to 5.8%
What Will be The Impact of the Pandemic?
Most B2B marketers said that the pandemic had a big old impact on their strategies. I mean, they said 'meaningful', but we all know what that means.
- 70% of respondents said the pandemic had a major or moderate impact on their content strategy, with most describing their adjustments as a combination of short-tern and long-term.
- 83% of organisations made quick changes to their content marketing, and 86% expect some of the changes to stay in effect for the foreseeable future
- The use of in-person events decreased to 42% from 73%
- Use of virtual events/webinars/online courses increased to 67% from 57%
- The use of livestreaming content increased to 29% from 10%
- 53% of B2B marketers indicated there was no change in their content marketing spending in H1 2020 in response to the pandemic
- 33% of B2B buyers spend more time researching products now than before Covid
How Will Consumer Behaviour Change?
The pandemic hasn't just changed how B2B organisations have conducted their day-to-day work, but have changed the way their customers act, and react. So, what do B2B buyers want?
- 44% would like access to an ROI calculator for buying decisions
- 63% of purchases have more than four people involved, vs just 47% in 2017
- The number of buying interactions during the pandemic jumped from 17 to 27
- 73% of those involved in B2B research and decision making are millennials, with over 1/3 being the sole decision maker
- Millennials discover, consumer and decide in ways that vendors haven't yet adapted to, with on 21% of buyers saying they use analyst rankings and reports, which decreased by 15% in 2020.
- 2/3 of buyers would switch to a company offering personalised real-time pricing
- Big-ticket items are being purchased and reordered online, with 70% of B2B decision makers open to making self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000
- 63% of millennials, a majority of B2B buyers, now prefer live chats over any other channel
- Only 20% of B2B buyers hope to return to in-person sales