What will the B2B marketing industry look like in 2021?

Know what the future holds and plan efficiently. Are you crazy? Most B2B marketers can tell you that’s almost impossible, especially amidst a pandemic, currently their motto is: “Plan for as far as you can see!”

Nevertheless, there are still a few brave souls out there trying to forecast the future. The market research company Forrester took a closer look and formulated these upcoming marketing industry trends for 2021.

We’ve extracted what we feel are the most critical lessons for B2B marketing. Let’s take a look:

Surprise, surprise: it’s getting virtual

Next year, work processes for branding and creative agencies will become increasingly virtualized. Investments in Adtech will also continue to go up – primarily to compensate for resource shortages in budgets and staff caused by cost pressure.

As a result, tools like the Adobe-AI SenseiAutodeskvirtual studios and computer-generated imagery (CGI) in general, will grow further in relevance and use.

It’s all about the values

Of course, the marketing industry is about making money, but there are boundaries when it comes to profit.

With the rise of movements like #StopHateForProfit, it became clear: Many users are already sensitized and tired of seeing inappropriate content in advertising. Because an audience interprets marketing and advertising on the bases of values, companies and brands should start to formulate their value approach.

If you invest in the future, do it wisely

B2B marketers don’t have it easy – controllers are (almost always) breathing down their necks, and this will not change next year either. Especially companies struggling to survive, keep a constant eye on their expenses. Overall, this will lead to more intelligent and automated forms of campaign measurement à la Analytics.

Don’t take loyalty for granted

People working in B2B kept hearing one thing: New Business here, New Business there. But next year, the motto will probably sound more like “Old but gold”. Brands and companies will increasingly have to spend money to retain customers and increase their loyalty.

Forrester is a bit more specific on this point and provides these numbers: Accordingly, investments in loyalty and retention marketing will increase by 30 per cent. There will also be more bonuses and loyalty programs for loyal customers.

Messenger Marketing: It grows and grows

More loyalty programs mean more emails and more chats in messengers. Here, too, Forrester gives a number and speaks of an increase of 40 per cent in this area.

As a result, companies will advertise more and more contextually and will respond more to customer needs. So, what we are going to see in 2021 is more forward-thinking, moment-based messenger marketing. A key focus here will be on predictive analytics.

More automation leaves a sour aftertaste

Manually optimizing campaigns was yesterday, in the future there will be more emphasis on automation in marketing. According to Forrester, investments here are increasing by 3 per cent. In other words, we need fewer people to manage the campaign. Consequence: They will be assigned to another department or fired.

Sponsoring investment 2.0

If companies are making sponsorship investments, they should reconsider. Increasing cost and efficiency pressure as a result of the Corona crisis, for example, is making naming rights to stadiums less attractive – the return on investment is difficult to measure. Sponsors are moving from traditional sports to e-sports. The most prominent example is McDonald’s. But how can you transfer the whole thing to B2B?

For example, a company can use a virtual platform to position itself there as a sponsor for prize money. Here, the digital change in 2021 will take place, too.

The future of B2B: 7 quick wins

  1. It remains virtual – 2020 was “only” the beginning.
  2. Think twice, which message you want to convey in your advertising and marketing.
  3. Are you making investments next year? – do it wisely.
  4. The focus is on loyalty and retention marketing. Existing customers are becoming increasingly important.
  5. Communication is key. The use of mail and messengers-chats will increase by 40 per cent.
  6. Processes are becoming more and more automated with a growth of 3 per cent.
  7. Sponsoring investment takes place, but it’s digital.


Thanks for the photo Mark Boss on Unsplash

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