What can poll results tell B2B marketers about a year unlike any other, and how can this valuable audience data help us enhance our marketing strategy as we head towards 2022?
Occasionally we like to share some of the fascinating insights you have given us in the form of results from our polls, in order to see the B2B marketing trends that have emerged during this unprecedented year.
Let’s take a look at a wide variety of marketing trends, how and why marketing is changing in 2021, and the growing effectiveness of B2B influencer marketing, all through a lens of poll-derived feedback from our B2B marketing audience.
Building on the insights we shared in “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data,” our most recent poll numbers paint a sometimes-surprising picture of B2B marketing sentiment in 2021.
Eye-Opener #1 — Remote Work
How has the pandemic changed your views about the long-term feasibility of remote work?
Most B2B marketers now have much greater acceptance when it comes to the long-term feasibility of remote work than they did before the pandemic.
Our poll backs this notion, with over three quarters of respondents on both our LinkedIn and Twitter polls saying that they have either more acceptance or much greater acceptance of remote work as a long-term practice.
Hybrid work scenarios are also very much a part of conversations about the future of work, as I recently explored in “Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing.”
Eye-Opener #2 — LinkedIn Live
Have you created LinkedIn Live content yet?
Among our LinkedIn poll respondents, some 58 percent said that they have either created content using LinkedIn Live or planned to do so.
Looking to see how brands are utilizing LinkedIn Live?
Check out our “Livestream Marketing: 5 B2B Brands Rocking LinkedIn Live” for examples from JPMorgan Chase, CompTIA, Microsoft, NASA, SAP* and others.
Eye-Opener #3 — Post-Pandemic Marketing
What will be the most important type of B2B marketing what the pandemic is over?
39 percent of our LinkedIn poll takers said that always-on marketing would be the most important type of post-pandemic marketing, followed by 26 percent who said search and social, 19 percent who picked marketing technology, and 16 percent who chose influencer marketing.
40 percent of our Twitter poll respondents said that search and social will be most important, 30 percent said marketing technology, 16.7 percent picking influencer marketing, and 13.3 percent for always-on marketing.
The results point to the mixed viewpoints and uncertainly surrounding just what will be the most important when the global health crisis subsides.
Our own Nick Nelson recently explored the topic, in “Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic.” Optimizing our B2B marketing strategy for a post-pandemic world requires understanding where the key shifts have occurred, and how to adapt. From executive thought leadership to rethinking marketing experiences, Nick’s article explores five ways B2B marketers can smartly adapt and thrive in a reshaped environment.
Eye-Opener #4 — Short-Form Video Platforms
Which short-form vertical video creation and sharing platform are you most likely to use?
YouTube Shorts was the top vote-getter when it came to short-term video platforms for B2B marketing content, with Instagram Reels coming in as the second most likely to be used among those taking our polls. 27.3 percent of our Twitter poll-takers said that they didn’t plan to use either of the two, or TikTok.
Eye-Opener #5 — LinkedIn Stories
Do you plan to incorporate LinkedIn Stories content into your marketing efforts?
As LinkedIn Stories rolled out, 39 percent of our LinkedIn poll-takers said that they planned to test the format, while 26 percent noted that they definitely planned to incorporate the feature into their marketing efforts. 22 percent said they had no plans to implement LinkedIn Stories, while 13 percent noted that they would probably implement the feature.
On Twitter, 50 percent noted that they would either probably or definitely utilize LinkedIn Stories in marketing efforts, with 20 percent planning to test the feature and the 30 percent noting they didn’t plan to use the format.
Eye-Opener #6 — B2B Influence
Which area of your B2B influencer marketing program has seen the greatest success during the pandemic?
42 percent of our LinkedIn poll-takers said that inspiring trust was the facet of their B2B influencer marketing program that had seen the greatest success during the pandemic, followed by thought leadership growth, raising brand awareness, and attracting customers.
Among our Twitter poll-takers thought leadership growth was the top vote-getter, followed by inspiring trust and attracting customers.
Eye-Opener #7 — Scaling For Success With Influence
What is the top factor in successfully scaling a B2B influencer marketing program?
When it comes to scaling B2B influencer marketing programs, the leading factor among our LinkedIn voters was finding ideal influencers, followed by having a process and leadership buy-in.
Our Twitter voters selected leadership buy-in as the top factor to successful B2B influencer marketing scaling, followed by finding ideal influencers and having concrete objectives.
Eye-Opener #8 — Top Fears
What is your biggest fear in marketing?
When fall rolled around, we were curious about some of your top marketing fears.
On both LinkedIn and Twitter the leading fear was the uncertainty of the pandemic, with some also choosing fear of failure.
I expanded on turning fear into success in an article to accompany our poll, in “10 Horrifying Marketing Fears & How To Turn Them Into 2021 Successes.”
Eye-Opener #9 — SME, Expert, of Influencer?
Which terminology do you prefer for a professional who holds sway over a target audience?
B2B marketers differ when it comes to use of the term influencer.
52 percent of our LinkedIn poll-takers said that they preferred the term influencer for a professional who holds sway over a target audience, followed by 24 percent who favored subject matter expert, 14 percent picking the term authority, and 10 percent who chose the term leader.
Our Twitter poll-takers predominantly preferred subject matter expert, following by influencer and then authority.
No matter which terminology use prefer or use, the power of influence is key in today’s B2B marketing, as our CEO Lee Odden recently shared in “Brandfluence – Why Growing Executive Influence is Essential for B2B Marketing.”
Eye-Opener #10 — The Benefits of Digital Tools
Which area has benefited the most from the increased use of digital tools the pandemic has brought about?
Influencer marketing was seen by both our LinkedIn and Twitter poll-takers as the top beneficiary when it comes to areas that have grown during the pandemic. Content marketing was the second choice, followed by always-on and values-driven marketing.
Eye-Opener #11 — What B2B Marketers Are Looking Forward To
What are B2B marketers most looking forward to in 2021?
Post-pandemic life was by far the top choice of both our Twitter and LinkedIn poll-takers, followed by in-person events and physical meetings.
How can B2B marketers help prepare for post-pandemic success? Nick Nelson explored this question in detail, with “Brave New World: The Model for B2B Marketing Success, Post-Pandemic.”
Eye-Opener #12 — B2B Tactic Optimism
Which business marketing tactic are B2B marketers most optimistic about in 2021?
When we asked which business marketing tactic poll-takers were most optimistic about, on LinkedIn 36 percent chose content marketing, 29 percent search and social, 21 percent influencer marketing, and 14 percent who chose always-on marketing.
Among our Twitter poll-takers some 50 chose content marketing, 25 percent search and social, followed by 16.7 percent who picked influencer marketing, and 8.3 percent who chose always-on marketing.
Eye-Opener #13 — Why Do We Follow Brands?
What is the primary reason you follow a B2B brand on social media?
69 percent of our LinkedIn poll-takers said the top reason they follow brands on social media is to learn from the brand, with 20 percent choosing brand news, 7 percent for tracking competitors, and 4 percent for communicating with a brand.
50 percent of our Twitter poll-takers picked learning from a brand, 37.5 percent communicating with the brand, and 12.5 percent who picked tracking competitors.
Eye-Opener #14 — Brand Storytelling
What is the top factor when it comes to creating successful B2B brand storytelling?
47 percent of B2B marketers taking our LinkedIn poll said that authenticity was the top factor in successful B2B brand storytelling efforts, followed by 24 percent who picked empathy, 18 percent who chose creativity, and 12 percent who said that heart was the leading success factor.
47.4 percent of our Twitter poll-takers also chose authenticity, followed by 21.1 percent for creativity, and 15.8 percent for both empathy and heart.
Eye-Opener #15 — The B2B Clubhouse?
How important is Clubhouse in your 2021 B2B marketing strategy?
As Clubhouse gained traction among B2B marketers, we asked how important it will be in 2021 marketing strategy, and among our LinkedIn poll-takers 57 percent said that the jury was still out, followed by 26 percent who said that it’s not important, 13 percent who said it was very important, and 4 percent who said that Clubhouse would be somewhat important in their 2021 strategy.
52 percent of our Twitter respondents said Clubhouse was not important, followed by 28 percent who noted the jury was still out, 12 percent who considered it very important, and 8 percent who said that it was someone important.
Learn more about how audio-based social platforms can work for B2B brands, in Lee Odden’s “How B2B Brands Can Boost Confidence in Livestream Video, Podcast and Clubhouse Marketing,” and “How B2B Marketing Influencers Are Finding Success On New Social Channels,” by our senior influencer marketing strategist Debbie Friez.
Eye-Opener #16 — Social Media Manager Qualities in 2021
What’s the top quality you look for when hiring a social media manager?
When we asked our audience what was the top quality they look for when hiring a social media marketing manager, brand storytelling was the top choice both on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Storytelling’s importance in creating memorable B2B marketing experiences is explored in details in my “Microsoft’s Miri Rodriguez on How B2B Marketers Are Embracing Empathy For Better Customer Storytelling #B2BMX,” and Nick Nelson’s “Your Guide to Effective Storytelling in B2B Content Marketing.”
Open Your Eyes To Your Audience & Take Action
Keeping your eyes open to the pulse of your audience — whether it’s from poll results, questionnaires, surveys or other types of feedback — can go a long way when it comes to making your B2B marketing efforts more authentic, and also helps ensure your communication is a two-way street and not just a publish-and-forget effort.
We hope you’ve found this eye-opening peek into some of our own poll results helpful as you navigate the uncertain marketing landscape 2021 has given us. Let us know your thoughts by voting in our current weekly poll about what qualities make a great B2B influencer marketing specialist — you’ll find it on LinkedIn here and on Twitter here.
Learn even more about poll data, statistics, and how to utilize audience feedback in every form by taking a look are some of the related articles we’ve written on the subject, such as the six listed here:
* SAP and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing clients.