Heading into the new year, there are many takeaways from 2020 that can help shape some marketing strategy projections for 2021. Current events have, certainly, shredded our planning documents and made a mockery of our expectations. Does that mean we should stop evaluating, planning, and developing strategies to market our business? Absolutely not!

No one expected a global pandemic, environmental crises, and social unrest to create such a massive disruption in our lives, economy, and society. No industry was left untouched, or human experience unaltered. However, I’m a firm believer that change provides new opportunities and new ways of thinking. Life is not static; therefore, our marketing approach should not stay the status quo. Because 2020 forced us to adapt or die, now is the time to reflect and prepare for 2021. During this crisis and beyond, you can maintain and even gain a competitive advantage by investing more, not less, in your marketing strategy.

Here, we’ll explore what we expect to see in B2B marketing strategies for next year:

  1. A re-evaluation of COVID-related changes.

Even before COVID, B2B marketing was dramatically evolving as consumers continue to have a vast array of information at their fingertips. The pandemic accelerated the desire and need for quality content and accurate information. Marketers should carefully review and analyze their marketing initiatives over the past nine months, and then thoroughly evaluate that period’s successes and failures.  Ask yourself:

  • What did you offer, and did it resonate with your prospects?
  • Was your messaging on point, or did you lead with the same tired words about your product or service?
  • What marketing tactics will carry-over because they better meet customer needs and demands?
  • Which ones will fade out as business operations return to some semblance of pre-pandemic days?

Virtual consultations, online events, or appointment apps are here to stay, even as we return to the pre-pandemic lifestyle. The best strategy is to incorporate a combination of tactics with the flexibility to respond and act as market conditions warrant.

  1. More strategic budgets.

Has your business adjusted to doing more with less? Many businesses had to re-prioritize spending and make cuts to certain areas. Some smaller B2B businesses were already running their marketing programs on a shoestring budget. Then COVID-19 forced many companies to invest in online marketing outreach for the first time to compete with the competition. It was about surviving, not maintaining the status quo. Think content marketing, email campaigns, and virtual education.

Take a close look at your current marketing strategies and budget, then adjust your plan accordingly. As we move into the new year, businesses will continue to face extraordinary challenges just to stay open. Marketing must be a dedicated part of the plan. If consumers can’t find you online, you have little chance of ending 2021 on a positive note. Be creative to get the most significant return on investment.

  1. A prioritization of digital advertising.

With more people working remotely, online interactions have soared. In a recent McKinsey & Company post, the writer notes, “With continued pressure on household income, consumers continue to try new brands and channels, with convenience and better value being the primary drivers of the new behavior. Three out of four American consumers have tried a new shopping behavior, and most intend to continue the new shopping behavior even after COVID-19 subsides.” Therefore, virtual engagement is here to stay, as all of us have become more tech-savvy and more budget-conscious. Therefore, businesses must continue to invest in digital marketing activities. As a reminder, your total marketing budget should usually be between 5% and 15% of your total revenue, and businesses should allocate 10%-50% to digital marketing. These marketing activities include:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Native Advertising
  • Marketing Automation/CRM
  • Email Marketing

All businesses should continue to invest in at least a few of these areas. At a minimum, SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing should be the basis of any digital marketing strategy.

  1. The human touch and user experience.

Marketing strategies in 2021 will continue to emphasize personalized content and a commitment to sustainability and social justice by putting a human touch on how the business presents itself and showing an understanding of what is important to customers. With the launch of Google’s Page Experience Update set to launch in May 2021, it will be more essential than ever for marketers to focus on the totality of the user’s experience on a website. Google wants users to enjoy their experience and will reward those websites that “show the love.” Check out Neil Patel’s recent blog for more information.

  1. A focus on data-driven decision making.

Along the same lines, data will continue to play an integral role in 2021 marketing strategies. Businesses will continue to use and invest in data analytics tools to understand how users think and interact with your brand. Accessing and evaluating data should be an integral part of every business’s marketing strategy. Some of the best analytic tools I’ve found include Google Analytics, Google Trends, Answerthepublic, keywordtool.io, and Hubspot.

Be intentional about using data to guide decision making and deliver value.

  1. Optimization of social media marketing.

New social platforms will continue to evolve, while others become less relevant. Marketers will continue to use social media to expand brand awareness and facilitate leads. Targeted marketing applies to social just as it does with other marketing tactics. Remember, not every social media platform is right for every type of marketing.

Bottom line: know your audience and how they gather information before selecting a social media venue. Facebook is relatively universal and allows for advertising, linking, videos, images, and conversation. Twitter does much of the same, but messages are shorter and more concise. Instagram is ideal for eye-catching graphics, images, and videos. LinkedIn targets the B2B space and continues to update their offerings to compete with the other major platforms.

Building an Effective Marketing Plan

These marketing strategy projections for 2021 will give your business a starting point for kicking off the new year. No one knows what the next 12 months may hold, so while you may be drafting marketing plans for the entire year, when it comes to execution, focus on two or three months at a time and adjust accordingly.

Now more than ever, be strategic with spending and where you concentrate your marketing efforts. Partner with YGL Enterprises to develop a clear strategy and targeted solutions to support your business moving forward. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.


Author Bio:

Yvonne Levine, president of YGL Enterprises, Inc., is a strategic marketing consultant who collaborates with professional services organizations and small and mid-sized businesses to develop and execute successful marketing strategies, branding initiatives, content creation, and digital marketing plans. By helping businesses devise a targeted strategy first, this approach creates a strong foundation for tactical decisions, which drives brand awareness and positive results. Follow Yvonne on LinkedIn and Facebook.