10 Marketing Trends from 2021: What Works and What Doesn’t

2021 is in the books. It may not have been a year to remember for some B2B businesses. However, many have found success implementing the latest marketing trends. These trends come and go like the tide. Like history, it’s important to know what acts garnered success and which methods warranted failure.

Marketing is one of the most integral aspects of a business, be it B2C or B2B. Yet, in the world of B2B, businesses have less leniency when marketing to another business. This is why marketing trends can be so beneficial. However, they can also be harmful—depending on how and when they are utilized.

Marketing Trends That Work

Like a child’s legos, when something clicks, it isn’t meant to be taken apart. Marketing trends that have shown success in the past year shouldn’t be written off. Instead, these trends should be implemented in your marketing strategy. While following trends can be a bumpy ride, these trends have promised smooth sailing for a variety of businesses….

1. Podcasts

Podcasts have quickly become a mainstream marketing channel for a wide array of B2B businesses. Demand and interest in podcasts are growing fast, and listeners have doubled since 2014. There are two ways to approach podcasts as a business: create your own, or advertise on another. If you choose the latter, find a show that attracts your target audience. Whatever the case, this marketing trend is scaling tremendously, with no end in sight.

2. LinkedIn

Businesses would have a difficult time finding another social network that is 100% business-oriented. Not only will you find your target market on LinkedIn, but you’ll already have them in the B2B mindset. Organic reach and less static has given LinkedIn new life, making it the perfect tool for digital marketing.

3. Video Content

Original content that tells a story has been a prevalent part of human life since cavemen were painting cave walls. Reaching your audience in a visual, personal, and unique way will never go out of style. Whether your video content makes its way to cable, streaming services, social media, etc., there will always be an audience for captivating visuals with a relatable story as the backbone.

4. AI & Machine Learning

Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology is beginning to impact how B2B businesses run their PPC ad campaigns. This technology can analyze a variety of variables at once, and can optimize ads better than any human. Sure, people will always be the source of compelling ad content. But, AI and machine learning are anticipated to be used much more frequently and effectively in 2022.

5. Chatbots

Chatbots have become a mainstream marketing channel. These bots are the simplest way to captivate web traffic and convert them into sales. There’s no need for you to lift a finger! Chatbots are infinitely scalable, and can learn and improve as they interact with your website visitors thanks to AI. This trend is here to stay.

Marketing Trends That Fell Short

Sometimes all that glitters is not gold, and certain marketing trends can prove detrimental for businesses. By recognizing ineffective trends, businesses can learn to avoid the old and bring in the new. Below are five of the most ineffective marketing trends of the past year.

1. Telemarketing

Telemarketing: The perfect way to infuriate any potential client, if you can even get them on the phone. Nearly every smartphone now has caller identification and can mark your calls as spam as soon as you dial. This marketing trend doesn’t belong in 2021—it belongs in 1970.

2. Direct Mail

Nowadays, people check their mail for 3 things: bills, holiday/event cards, and coupons. Don’t be hopeful that someone will see your company’s call to action on an envelope and contact you immediately. In nearly all cases, that letter is going directly into the recycling bin. Instead, look to social media direct messaging, particularly on LinkedIn, where your audience will already be captivated with business.

3. Digital Marketing Without SEO Optimization

Search Engine Optimization will get you ranking on search engines, thus garnering more and more web traffic. Without proper SEO optimization, that article or blog you wrote is going to sit comfortably in the recesses of the internet. Be sure to implement SEO tactics and optimization in all of your digital marketing content. SEO optimization isn’t merely one of the trends of marketing, it’s a necessity for efficiency.

4. Magazine & Newspaper Ads

Stick to social media. Magazine and newspaper ads are more time, money, and trouble than they are worth. The goal is to attract clients, not to be a coaster for someone’s coffee.

5. Email

Direct messaging will always get you better results than the junk folder of someone’s email. Utilize all of the social media marketing channels at your disposal. If you do this, you will have a much better shot at attracting clients.

New Year, New Business

Make your New Year’s resolution count. Stick to digital marketing trends that work; avoid the ones that will send you into a tailspin and burn your marketing budget. For more B2B insights, VSSL is your hub. Visit us today for the latest trends and topics you’ll want to know about as you continue building your business.