Ways B2B marketing will change in 2021: All roads lead to marketing performance management
The future of performance marketing
Pankaj Kapoor, Growth Marketing Evangelist and CMO, Reliance Securities shares what the future of performance marketing...
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Ways B2B marketing will change in 2021: All roads lead to marketing performance management

Pankaj Kapoor, Growth Marketing Evangelist and CMO, Reliance Securities shares what the future of performance marketing...
  • Industry estimates suggest that with digital continuing to remain the preferred channel for B2B engagements and sales, digital ad spends are likely to increase by around 30% this year.
  • Pankaj Kapoor, Growth Marketing Evangelist and CMO, Reliance Securities writes how tracing marketing performance is the key today.
The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced marketers to rethink and realign their marketing strategies. The intermittent lockdowns stretching through the year led to extensive disruptions in business processes, sharply altering the business-to-business (B2B) & business-to-business-consumer (B2B2C)/franchise businesses marketing landscape as digital became the mainstay and customer behaviours changed irrevocably.

Shift in the landscape

By the end of 2020, a lot had changed for B2B brands as the traditional B2B commerce faced challenges due to lockdown-induced disruptions. With a shift in customers’ preference for digital interaction and digital services, performance marketing became the preferred channel for B2B marketing teams. There was an increased focus by marketeers on eB2B, which is cost efficient and a more effective avenue for driving customer sales. Almost all B2B sales teams shifted to remote selling and India led the way in the scale to this shift. The pandemic also brought some earlier marketing practices into prominence such as the omni-channel selling, inside sales, tech-enabled selling, and e-commerce.

Continuation of 2020 trends

Just as marketers were adapting to the ‘New Normal’, a second wave of COVID-19 infections is triggering a fresh round of uncertainties for business continuity and recovery. This signifies that the transition in marketing practices which had begun last year will be sustained through 2021 and beyond, till the COVID-19 uncertainties are on the wane.

Brands in this space are expected to continue their investments on new technologies and digital channels driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Data Analytics, Machine learning, robotics for marketing and tracking of performance, which were some of the triggers for growth in B2B e-commerce in 2020, which grew 200% faster compared to B2C e-commerce.

Industry estimates suggest that with digital continuing to remain the preferred channel for B2B engagements and sales, digital ad spends are likely to increase by around 30% this year.

Companies are likely to enhance their investments in marketing automation tools to create & curate more impactful content for better ROI. According to research from Forrester, global marketing automation spending is expected to increase to $25 billion by 2023.

Videos and podcasts, social media marketing, content marketing, focus on lead conversions and customer satisfaction, marketing automation, etc are some of the key B2B marketing practices that will be further accentuated this year.

Tracking marketing performance is the key

In 2021, as the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 infections pans out, B2B firms are likely to focus on weighing all their marketing strategies to optimise ROI on marketing investment, diversify lead generations, and achieve greater synergies with business goals.

Reviewing marketing performance is likely to become a frequent practice for B2B brands as digital will remain the primary interface for customer-company dealings.

Continued digital engagement with customers is likely to alter the traditional routes of measuring performance and new tracking benchmarks will be set to gauge customer reach and effectiveness of marketing plans.

Resetting performance benchmarks

Marketing performance management (MPM) entails measuring, managing, and analysing key performance indicators to ensure effectiveness of marketing programmes. To maximise marketing performance, B2B brands will focus on resetting performance benchmarks and investing in processes and systems for continuous tracking and adjustment of the key performance indicators.

Setting new performance benchmarks for every marketing programme and investment will enable B2B marketing teams to replan strategies for achieving business goals. Online traffic, lead conversion rates, customer stickiness, number of customer meetings, etc, are some of the marketing metrics that will be used to gauge marketing performance and better manage the outcome. Third-party tools and new technology-driven platforms such as website data analytics, CRM tracking, mobile call tracker, mobile app tracker, KPI dashboard analytical tools will gain popularity to measure performance. Increased use of third-party tools will aid in measurement of ROI from paid marketing activities.

Conclusion

The pandemic has impelled B2B companies to reevaluate their marketing strategies with the goal to improve marketing performance and gauge the effectiveness of the new marketing practices. The continued uncertainties also signify that companies will need to adjust to new economic realities with a firm eye on company’s overall performance.

The year 2021 will, thus, see businesses opting for more accurate and holistic options for measuring performance for maximising their ROI on every marketing dime spent and making systematic improvements for long-term impacts.