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In order to bounce back after a difficult year, many organisations are looking to devise fresh demand generation strategies in 2021.
Both marketers and salespeople worldwide are under pressure to deliver more, in many cases with static or less budget. But with the B2B marketplace having experienced digital acceleration like never before, there is plenty of opportunity to maximise output. The tactics we use to achieve our sales and marketing objectives are cyclical and, with continuous digital innovation, they become more effective with every reincarnation.
In our 2021 State of Demand Generation research report, we wanted to understand how revenue-generating professionals were adapting their traditional demand generation strategies to serve today’s digital-led B2B marketplace.
So, what are the top five strategic demand generation tactics that sales and marketing leaders will be investing in and executing in the year ahead?
You may have heard the phrase “email marketing is dead,” but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, 87% of B2B marketers say email is one of their top free organic distribution channels and 73% of B2B revenue leaders plan to action new email marketing campaigns in 2021 (durhamlane, 2021).
However, email marketing is a controversial tactic – especially since the advent of GDPR. It’s a hugely personal channel, through which it’s relatively cheap and easy to reach target customers. But this means it’s often abused, with many business leaders now blanket-labelling frequent, un-engaging marketing communications as spam.
Ultimately, your marketing email communications need to deliver value. In other words, your prospecting emails should seek to identify your customers’ pains and how you can solve them. Similarly, your nurture sequences should deliver relevant content to keep prospects informed and engaged.
With the right approach that seeks to add value and cut through the noise, email marketing can be extremely effective.
It’s not surprising that 71% of B2B revenue leaders identify content marketing as a top priority for the year ahead (durhamlane, 2021). For many organisations, content marketing is the key to achieving top-of-funnel goals.
Nowadays, prospects expect information for free, especially when educating themselves on the problem(s) they’re facing. Rather than being forced down the funnel, the modern B2B buyer wants to feel as though they’re on a personal buying journey. 88% of B2B marketers have learnt to prioritise their audiences’ informational needs over the company’s sales messaging.
So, how can you take your content marketing strategy to the next level in 2021? The key is using buyer education to generate interest and demand from new audiences – not just engaging with existing demand.
According to our recent survey, 66% of our survey respondents reported they are planning more virtual events in 2021. Yet, qualitative insight suggests that virtual events have not been generating the desired ROI.
Perhaps ‘virtual event fatigue’ has gotten the best of us, but as everyone and their dog is hosting yet another webinar and the market for virtual events is becoming truly saturated, is it time for a change in tactics?
With Gartner recently predicting “60% of companies that pivot to virtual events will incorporate real-time/real-space elements into their marketing experiences by 2023”, now is the time to get ahead of the curve by enhancing your virtual events with real-time and real-space elements to drive better customer experience.
From real-time engagement features like Q&As, polling, chat boxes and quizzes, to real-space remote setups outside of the norm, create memorable experiences that keep your attendees engaged every step of the way.
Search is making a comeback!
SEO and SEM have long been industry buzzwords. Many marketers have built their careers around demystifying search engine optimisation and building effective PPC strategies for companies. And now, with the B2B buying journey being almost exclusively digital, SEM is back to claim its rightful place at the epicentre of strategic demand generation.
Between Google’s relentless updates and the often-untapped power of Bing, companies must deploy multiple SEO and SEM tactics to ignite new and existing demand.
64% of commercial leaders are planning to focus on SEO and SEM this year (durhamlane, 2021). Will you be joining them?
Many organisations are moving towards an account-based approach to sales and marketing. Selling complex products in a complex business arena means an increased need for multi-stakeholder engagement, personalisation and account-based campaigns. And it’s not just on the radar of B2B marketers; 60% of revenue-centric business leaders plan to focus on account-based campaigns this year (durhamlane, 2021).
In the most recent ABM Census by B2B Marketing, survey respondents were asked to rate the main objective(s) of their ABM programmes. Although ‘winning new accounts’ was ranked number 1, the census concluded that for companies running mature ABM programmes, growing existing accounts and improving customer retention is where they see more success.
If you consider the fact these key objectives form an engagement-led strategy that addresses the full sales cycle, it’s clear that leading B2B organisations have outgrown the term ‘account-based marketing’.
Goodbye ABM, hello Account-Based Strategy and Account-Based Engagement!