It’s that time of the year again when industry folk gaze into their crystal balls and present their 2020 B2B marketing trend predictions of the year. Our LinkedIn feeds turn into a buzzword-heavy horoscope column and after reading a couple we all realise that everyone’s basically saying the same thing – especially since most prediction articles are lazy aggregates of the highest performing, first-out-the-gate blogs…
Here at Fox we’re not immune, and indeed we enjoy parsing our experience to forecast the year ahead. This year, to change things up and gain the best and broadest range of predictions, I asked the Fox team what they thought 2020 would hold in the B2B tech marketing world.
I received heaps of ideas based on decades of experience in tech, branding, digital, PR and more. Enjoy!
The rise of channels not controlled by algorithms
John Hebden – Business Development Manager
The further decline in organic reach means brands will have to think smarter regarding their paid media and utilise channels not controlled by algorithms; SMS (community.com), email, chat platforms such as Telegram and so forth.
The idea of brands, individuals and marketers backtracking and using ‘public’ means of information transfer will be interesting to see, as well as how the likes of Google and Facebook react.
An obsession with automation
Tom Gill – Senior SEO/PPC Executive
In the world of digital I think (and hope) B2B brands will become even more obsessed with the likes of marketing automation, mobile UX and optimisation, and website personalisation.
I also believe that voice search will boom in 2020, though not in B2B… yet.
The line between B2B and B2C comms blurs
Lisa McGauley – Head of PR
Within tech PR, the line between B2B and B2C communication will continue to blur in 2020 with brands seeking to create stronger emotional, human and relatable connections with their audiences in order to cut through the clutter and build trust and advocacy. Personalisation, storytelling and the increasing use of intelligent, trustworthy data will be central to this.
A tidal wave of crap podcasts
Sam Brewin – Content Strategist
In the last year or so we’ve all steadily seen business podcasts pop up on our feeds. It’s exciting to see, especially since in many cases these podcasts lift the veil on happenings that were once firmly behind closed doors.
Much in the same way as the explosion of entertainment podcasts gave listeners interesting insights into topics ranging from terrible erotic novels to serial killer detective work, biz podcasts are teaching about how to run agencies, deal with clients, sell products and succeed. Valuable, engrossing stuff; so much so that Fox is launching one too – ClientSide.
Thing is, I think 2020 is going to see a tidal wave of terrible podcasts – similar to 2015 when heaps of low-quality content ravaged the net. Podcast services will become inundated with boring, poorly produced shows from people eager to jump on the bandwagon.
The market will become saturated and brands will have to spend more on promotion to cut through the static, or make sure their podcasts are interesting, original and properly interesting… exactly what we’re doing with ClientSide.
Business culture and values will matter
Nelson McConnell – Strategic & Creative Director
Business culture and values will become increasingly important in influencing B2B brand perception and whether businesses are viewed by potential customers as being acceptable to work with.
It will be interesting to see how customers react to businesses that craft and articulate their values and cultures in an honest, earnest manner compared to companies that opt for meaningless platitudes.
Emotion and desire finally come to the fore
Hatty Settle – Account Manager
In 2020, I think B2B is going to lean more towards emotive, desire-driven messaging that’s more along the lines of B2C. There seems to be a perception that B2C and B2B marketing need a clear separation in terms of tone – inferring that consumers can be bought with emotional, vague promises and business customers can only be bought with seriousness and cold, hard numbers.
This assumption is wrong. Business customers are humans too, with very real emotional drivers, and I think a mass awareness and understanding of this is here.
More connected, more carbon, less Amazon
Hannah Syers – Senior Account Manager
I think we will delve further into a connected world – our smart watches talking to our smart cars, telling us how much sleep we didn’t get and asking if we are too tired to drive…
That means more sensors and need for strong and fast connections. 5G will be everywhere, so much so that the carbon footprint of the internet will soon exceed that of air travel. With all this increased web utilisation, perhaps we’ll see the topic of limiting net usage re-framed away from tackling online social issues towards combating climate change, with technologies such as compression becoming even more widely used in the name of saving the planet.
Also, I am waiting for an Amazon backlash – not entirely sure on the angle(s), but perhaps something around how their staff are treated and how they are putting high street stores and local businesses out of work. Not to mention the environmental impact of all that packaging and delivery…
I also reckon we are going to get a hot summer!
CSR goes into overdrive
Axel Tulip – Account Director
I think we’ll see a lot more brands promoting what their role in society is, as well as the products and services they sell. As people become more concerned with environmental, political and social issues, brands will start (if they haven’t already) to show their stance on these issues and show customers how they’re doing their bit to change the world for good.
I’m already seeing it with our biggest clients as they jostle to become market leaders in sustainable packaging solutions.
One crazy prediction: it would be great if all adverts on social channels were 100% fact-checked before going live, hopefully, this will become true one day.
CX as a differentiator, influencer marketing embraced
Ben Fox – Client Services Director
First, CX will grow as a key differentiator for B2B brands as differences in technological capabilities are reduced. Second, in 2020, B2B will finally embrace influencer marketing and it will be transformational. It’s something we’re working on – watch this space.
VR’s B2B applications exceed B2C
Al Fox – HR Director
Every prediction list for the past few years has mentioned VR and how it’ll be everywhere in the next calendar year. Well, there are a few reasons why it’s not actually everywhere yet, but it is certainly making its mark in B2B, and that will accelerate in 2020.
Businesses will take the time to assess what they can achieve with VR, and will be surprised by the benefits that shine through. They will realise that whilst the initial set up is expensive (though reducing), it can bring great cost savings in the longer term, meaning VR accelerates faster in the B2B realm than B2C.
As you can probably tell, we’re all excited for 2020. Contact our team and learn how we can help yours be a success.