Making predictions after a year like 2020 may seem mildly crazy, but here at Sureshot we’re big believers in data’s ability to help us make better decisions – even in the midst of utter chaos. With that being said, we’ve taken a look at some of the latest stats released from the 2020 CMO Survey, sprinkled in a few insights from industry thought leaders, and come up with a short list of items worth giving your attention to. It’s our hope that your strategic marketing plan for 2021 will lead to a significantly better year for you and your marketing ops team.
Trend #1: Digital Dominates Customer Experiences
According to the CMO survey, 84% of customers now place a higher value on their digital experience of your brand. Obviously, the significant gains in digital preferences are strongly related to quarantining during the pandemic. However, based on the rule of 21 days to make a habit, it is highly likely that the significant importance of your brand’s digital experience will remain at these levels even after things return to business as usual.
Prep Steps for Enhancing Your Digital Experience
To ensure your digital experience is contributing (rather than detracting) from your bottom line, we recommend you look at everything with fresh eyes and take the following steps:
- Survey your customers about their digital experience. Give them a reward for their time, and seek their unbiased input by giving them the option to remain anonymous. In addition to asking multiple choice questions, always-always-always leave a blank for customers to write in their own answers. You will be amazed at the things you will learn from their candid responses. Lots of budget-boosting ideas have been gleaned from customer survey responses.
- Visit your site as a customer. Pretend you need one of the solutions you offer and see how easy it is to get the information you need. Take note of page load times, imagery and functionality. Is it intuitively easy to navigate your site? If you offer chat, how long does it take to connect with a chat-bot? What happens when you visit the site on a mobile device? Does everything work like it should? Ultimately, your goal is a friction-free customer experience.
Trend #2: Automation Makes Everything Possible
Remember a couple of years back when account-based marketing (ABM) was the ultimate marketing buzzword? Yeah, 2018 was a great year! Anyway, what ABM purported was that you needed to give a highly personalized experience to key customers in order to increase sales, brand loyalty, customer lifetime values (CLVs), etc. While in theory ABM makes complete sense, in practice it gets complex pretty quickly —unless you use automation.
Perhaps, even more exciting than the hyped ABM statistics of yesteryear are the new ones concerning automation. According to Christopher Lara, Operations Manager for marketing firm WPdigital, personalization and automation are two of the biggest web development trends he sees for 2021. In his research he found that of the companies that implement marketing automation:
- 80% see an increase in leads
- 77% see an increase in conversions
“If you want to capture leads, nurture them, and convert them, marketing automation makes it easy to build an entire pipeline toward your goals,” said Lara.
Prep Steps for Automating Absolutely Everything
The wonderful thing about automation is that once you set it up, it does all the heavy lifting for you. It is the answer to how to work smarter not harder. It is also the Wizard of Oz behind all the marketers who boast of amazing ABM exploits. Assuming that you have a great Marketing Automation Platform (MAP) in place, such as Eloqua, Marketo or Hubspot, here are some other steps to take:
Tune In Next Week
Be sure to check out Part Two of 5 B2B Customer Trends to Plan for In 2021!
This content was originally published here.