FINITE, the global B2B technology marketing community announced the release of new research focused on B2B marketing trends in 2021 in partnership with B2B digital marketing agency, 93x.
Over the last year they have run webinars, hosted FINITE Forum calls between members and welcomed over 300 new B2B tech marketers to their Slack community. And in nearly every discussion, Covid has come up. From reduced budgets, to shifting focus to digital channels and dealing with digital fatigue, the community built at FINITE have been there for each other when it’s been needed most.
The research and data below was gathered in November 2020 by surveying 100+ B2B tech marketers within FINITE community members. Despite all of the challenges of the year gone by, the research paints an optimistic picture, and it seems B2B tech companies have generally been able to stay the course despite the complexities of 2020.
75 per cent Of B2B tech companies have been able to meet or outperform their marketing targets in 2020.
Despite the complexity, uncertainty and challenges, it seems most B2B tech companies have been able to achieve what they originally set out to do this year.
63 per cent of B2B marketers have a positive outlook going into 2021 –
About 5 per cent have a negative outlook for 2021
Which marketing channels have grown in importance the most since Covid struck?
57 per cent of B2B tech marketers felt that webinars have increased in importance the most since Covid began
39 per cent of B2B tech marketers felt that SEO has increased in importance the most since Covid began
32 per cent of B2B tech marketers believe email marketing has grown in importance the most since Covid began
73% of B2B tech marketers feel they have experienced digital fatigue since the outbreak of Covid –
Lots of marketers seem unsure, whilst about one-third believe that they will make use of more AI in their marketing technology in 2021.
75% of B2B tech marketers are going to focus on personalisation in the future –
Personalisation has been on the rise for years. But whilst it’s been on B2B marketers to do lists, it’s often been somewhere near the bottom. Let’s face it – marketers have enough to do, and diving deeper into personalisation can be a complex and time consuming activity.
Marketing tactics and channels in 2021
Only 35% of B2B tech marketers are planning to use direct mail in 2021 –
When Covid struck and most countries were forced into some form of working from home, direct mail marketing became a real challenge in the B2B environment.
37% of B2B tech marketers plan to use influencers as a part of their marketing tactics for 2021 –
Influencer marketing is everywhere in the B2C world, but much less so in B2B. Yet 37.5% of marketers think influencer marketing will be a part of their strategy in 2021. With the complexity of B2B decision making and the importance of trust in particular in B2B tech marketing, we’re interested in seeing how B2B businesses approach influencer marketing over the years to come.
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Nearly 70% of B2B tech marketers feel their website has become more important as part of their marketing since COVID began –
With 70% of B2B marketers confirming that their business website has become more important as the hub of their marketing since Covid arrived, it seems savvy B2B marketers have realised that a website is no longer just a shop window – it needs to perform as a digital marketing machine, strategically supporting the B2B buyer journey from end to end.
State of events in 2020 and 2021
65% of B2B tech marketers claim digital events will still be a part of their marketing strategy even if physical events return in 2021 –
It’s been hard to go more than an hour without seeing the word ‘webinar’ this year. But it looks like digital events are here to stay, with about 65% of B2B marketers planning on continuing to run digital events even if physical events return. It will be interesting to see if marketers look to combine physical and digital events in the future, or to run physical events and webinars separate from one another.
37% of B2B tech marketers reallocated their 2020 face-to-face marketing budget to digital channels instead –
With budgets for events, conferences and other field marketing not being spent, we wanted to see what had happened to this budget in the year gone by. 37.5% of B2B marketers have reallocated this budget to digital channels instead, again demonstrating the increased investment in all things digital. 25% have increased their investment in virtual events, whilst 29.2% have been more cautious and not spent the budget at all.
Budgets of B2B marketers in technology & SaaS companies
35% of B2B tech marketers are increasing their marketing budgets for 2021 –
The question everyone wants to know the answer to! This one paints a generally optimistic picture, with only 15.6% of B2B marketers saying their budgets are decreasing in 2021. Meanwhile 50% of those surveyed will keep budgets the same as in 2020. And most positively of all 34.4% of our members will be increasing their investment in marketing next year.
Biggest challenges for B2B tech marketers in 2021
Balancing quality & quantity
47% of B2B tech marketers think their biggest challenge for 2021 will be ‘balancing quality and quantity’ within their marketing
44% of B2B tech marketers think their biggest challenge going into 2021 will be tackling ‘digital fatigue’
Measuring the right KPIs
40% of B2B tech marketers think their biggest challenge for 2021 will be measuring the right KPIs