With the rapid pace of technological evolution, marketing trends are constantly changing too.
One of the most important things we need to do as marketers, is to keep up with them. Unfortunately, that can be difficult, especially as many digital marketing channels are rolling out new algorithms and systems.
As 2019 slowly comes to a close, now is the time to look at where B2B marketing is going and how you can get ahead of the trends for 2020.
Marketing Trends for 2020: Staying One Step Ahead
In 2019, we’ve seen a whole lot of change in the B2B digital marketing world. Personalization has gained even more traction, social media has cemented itself as a choice platform for B2B and B2C, and Google’s algorithm updates changed the landscape entirely.
Here’s a look at what 2019’s marketing trends are like, and how to make sure you’re ready for 2020.
The days of just slapping a first-name token into your email content and calling it personalized are long gone.
Digital marketing has become so ubiquitous that such superficial personalization is expected. If you don’t include some basic tokens, your email campaigns will generally come across as cold and uninvested.
To really get someone’s attention, you need to go above and beyond the common practice of using tokens. Although they’re still very important, they’re no longer enough to make you stand out.
As true as this already is, it will become increasingly so over time, as people become more and more used to higher levels of personalization.
What this means is that you need to know as much as you can about your contact before you reach out. Especially if it’s a 1-to-1 communication, it pays to do some legwork first.
See if they have a blog, or if their company has recently done something you could mention. Something like “Hey, congratulations on the merger” or “I loved your recent post about <topic>” goes a long way towards convincing a contact that you’re really interested in doing business with them specifically.
2019 has been a turbulent year for SEO, with multiple immense Google algorithm updates causing quite a bit of upheaval.
RankBrain is always evolving, and consequently, effective SEO strategies are also constantly shifting. It’s never totally clear-cut anyway – Google is notoriously vague about what actually informs rankings, so SEO strategies are based on trial-and-error and looking at patterns in what works best.
The technical factors – things like making sure your keyword is in the title tag, an H1 and an H2, semantically-related keywords – play a big role, of course, but your actual content is what truly determines how well your SEO techniques actually work.
In a nutshell, Google likes well-written, useful, informative content, and that will only become more central as the algorithm grows increasingly able to determine for itself what that means, instead of simply relying on engagement factors.
All that said, taking the 1st position isn’t even the ultimate SEO goal anymore.
Position 0 is where you really want to be – that is, featured snippets. Appearing above the actual search results, featured snippets present an excerpt of a page’s content that generally will answer the search query succinctly.
Google generates these snippets from content that it feels best answers the question – not necessarily the top-ranked result, either.
This means that writing clear, informative content is even more important than ever. Not only that, but it builds your authority as an expert in your field, and will do a better job of bringing people back to your website repeatedly.
Audio and Video Content
More and more companies are leveraging video for blogs, explainer videos, crash courses, and of course advertising as well. It’s important, and it plays a role in SEO as well as engagement.
People engage with and respond to visual content in general, and video in particular. It’s very powerful – whether it’s a blog-post style weekly short video, or a more in-depth look at your product, or tips and tricks for getting the most out of it.
It’s also fantastic if you’re able to do live video. For example if you’re at a trade show, go on Facebook or Instagram Live and talk about that to your followers.
In 2019, many companies have begun to get into the podcast game as well. It’s a less-used channel for B2B marketers, but has a fairly low barrier to entry.
As they begin to show up in SERP results, it’s an increasingly viable way to bring more traffic in, and will continue to gain impact in 2020.
In 2018, GDPR came into effect. In 2019, just as businesses are getting used to GDPR’s requirements, the ePrivacy Regulation’s latest draft was announced – an extension to GDPR’s ePrivacy stance, which you can read about here, and which will likely come into play in 2020.
Meanwhile, in the USA, the California Consumer Privacy Act’s compliancy deadline is set for January 1st, 2020. It’s regarded as the first step in GDPR-like legislation in the United States, and businesses with an online presence need to be aware of it.
In 2020 and beyond, as legislation around marketing evolves further, marketers need to be ready to pivot and find ways to be compliant as needed while remaining effective.
Marketers have to keep on top of what’s working with existing channels, and what’s new, too. Keeping up with trends is important – but getting ahead of them is better.
Make sure you’re all caught up and ready to stay at the top of the marketing game in 2020.