What Pandemic Poll Data Reveals About The Future of B2B Marketing

Happy business people image.

Happy business people image.

Forever altered by the pandemic, which new directions is B2B marketing going, and what’s in store for marketers in 2022 and beyond?

To help answer these questions and others, we’ve tapped into our poll data to see how the pandemic has affected how B2B marketers work, their outlook for the future, and what we’ve collectively lost and gained over the past year and a half.

Audience poll data offers a valuable gauge on the pulse of B2B marketers, and for over two years we’ve run weekly social media polls on our Twitter and LinkedIn* pages.

The insight you’ve shared with us during the pandemic gives us insight into what’s changed, what’s gone for good, and what may come back stronger than ever in B2B marketing.

We’ll use our own poll data to take a look at the B2B marketing trends that have emerged during this unprecedented year and a half.

Building on the insights we shared in “B2B Marketing Poll Sentiment: 15+ Eye-Opening Insights To Fuel Summer Success,” our most recent poll numbers paint a sometimes-surprising picture of B2B marketing sentiment in 2021.

Let’s jump right in and take a look.

Pandemic Poll #1 — Work Volume

The first pandemic related poll we conducted was on April 14, 2020, when we asked B2B marketers how the volume of work they’ve done with influencers had changed during the first few months of the global health crisis.

2020April14TwitterPoll

At that point relatively early in the pandemic, 36 percent of our respondents noted an increase in their use of influencers in marketing efforts.

Pandemic Poll #2 — Learning New Skills

A month later on May 12, 2020, our second pandemic-related poll asked B2B marketers whether they had used their time during quarantine to learn new marketing skills online.

A sizable 63 percent of respondents said that they had indeed learned new skills online while isolating.

2020May12TwitterPoll

Pandemic Poll #3 — Pain Points

As the pandemic moved into summer, on July 7, 2020 we were curious about the pain points B2B marketers were being faced with.

2020July7LIPoll2020July7TwitterPoll

Decreasing business or budgets was the top concern, with 64 percent of our Twitter poll respondents saying that was their biggest pandemic pain point, a sentiment shared by 46.2 percent of our LinkedIn respondents.

Pandemic Poll #4 — The Rise of Virtual Events

As the summer wore on, virtual marketing event options began to appear as alternatives to long-standing in-person events, and on July 20 we wondered how many such events B2B marketers were planning to attend during the second half of 2020.

2020July21LIPoll

Most B2B marketers planned to attend between one and five virtual events before the end of 2020, with 11 percent noting they would attend between six and ten online events.

Pandemic Poll #5 — Long-Term Remote Work Feasibility

On August 18, 2020 we wanted to learn more about how B2B marketers were feeling about the long-term feasibility of remote work.

2020August18LIPoll2020August18Poll

By this time, most B2B marketers had much greater acceptance when it came to the long-term feasibility of remote work than they did before the pandemic.

This poll backed this notion, with over three quarters of respondents on both our LinkedIn and Twitter polls saying that they had 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 continuing conversations about the future of work, as I recently explored in “Hybrid & Remote Work Trends That Will Alter The Future Of B2B Marketing.”

Pandemic Poll #6 — Post-Pandemic Marketing Predictions

When autumn rolled around, on September 2, 2020 we asked B2B marketers which category of marketing they believed would be the most important in post-pandemic business marketing.

2020September2Polls2020September2LIPoll

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 picked 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 dust from the pandemic fully settles.

Our own Nick Nelson 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 that B2B marketers can smartly adapt and thrive in our reshaped environment.

Pandemic Poll #7 — Where Influence Has Helped The Most

On October 13, 2020 we asked marketers which facet of their B2B influencer marketing program had seen the greatest success during the pandemic.

2020October13LIPoll2020October13Polls

42 percent of our LinkedIn poll-takers said that inspiring trust was the area 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 choice, followed by inspiring trust and attracting customers.

Pandemic Poll #8 — Top Marketing Fears

As a pandemic Halloween approached, on October 29, 2020 we wanted to know what B2B marketers saw as their biggest fears in marketing.

2020October29Polls

On both LinkedIn and Twitter the biggest fear was the uncertainty of the pandemic, with some also choosing the powerful fear of failure.

I expanded on turning fear into success in a full article to accompany our poll, in “10 Horrifying Marketing Fears & How To Turn Them Into 2021 Successes.”

Pandemic Poll #9 — Success Stories

On November 17, 2020 we asked marketers which areas had benefited the most from the increased use of digital tools the pandemic had brought about.

2020November17Polls2020November17TWPoll

Influencer marketing was seen by both our LinkedIn and Twitter poll-takers as the greatest beneficiary when it came to areas that grew during the pandemic. Content marketing was the second choice, followed by always-on and then values-driven marketing.

Pandemic Poll #10 — What Marketers Look Forward To

As 2020 wound to a close, with glimmers of post-pandemic hope starting to form, we wondered what B2B marketers were most looking forward to in 2021.

2020December29LIPoll2020December29Polls

What were 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.

Pandemic Poll #11 — Top Tactics For 2021

Our first poll of 2021 on January 5 asked B2B marketers which business marketing tactic they were the most optimistic about for the year ahead.

2021January5LIPoll2021January5Polls

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 selected always-on marketing.

Among our Twitter poll-takers some 50 percent 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.

Pandemic Poll #12 — Permanent Remote & Hybrid Work

Our latest completed pandemic-related poll, on June 8 asked simply how do B2B marketers want to work during post-pandemic life.

2021June8LIPoll2021June8TWPoll

Among 88 poll takers on LinkedIn, 52 percent said that wanted a hybrid mix of remote and office work types, 43 percent wanted fully remote work, and just 3 percent a full return to office work.

On Twitter, 75 percent of B2B marketers preferred a hybrid scenario, 15 percent fully remote, and 10 percent a full return to the office.

Pandemic Poll #13 — Returning To In-Person Marketing Events

Our newest poll asks, “B2B marketers, do you plan to attend an in-person marketing event during the second half of 2021?”

You can share your input by voting on either our TopRank Marketing LinkedIn or Twitter pages — or on both.

A Bright Future For B2B Marketers

via GIPHY

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 indeed when it comes to making your B2B marketing efforts more grounded and authentic. It can also help make your communication more of a two-way street, and not only a publish-and-forget effort.

We hope you’ve found this peek into some of our own poll results eye-opening as you navigate the uncertain marketing landscape 2021 has given us, as we forge ahead towards a post-pandemic world.

To learn more from poll data insight, not limited solely to the pandemic, check out our “B2B Marketing Poll Sentiment: 15+ Eye-Opening Insights To Fuel Summer Success,” and “Show Me The Numbers: 20 B2B Marketing Insights From Audience Poll Data.

Creating award-winning B2B marketing with an artful mixture of influence takes considerable time and effort, which is why many firms choose to work with a top digital marketing agency such as TopRank Marketing. Contact us today and let us know how we can help, as we’ve done for businesses ranging from LinkedIn, Dell and 3M to Adobe, Oracle, monday.com and others.

* LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

 

The post What Pandemic Poll Data Reveals About The Future of B2B Marketing appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

B2B Marketing Poll Sentiment: 15+ Eye-Opening Insights To Fuel Summer Success

Smiling professional Black woman holding flowers to her eyes image.

Smiling professional Black woman holding flowers to her eyes image.

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?

For more than two years we’ve run weekly social media polls on our Twitter profile, and for over a year we’ve simultaneously placed a weekly user poll on our LinkedIn* page.

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?

2020August18Poll

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?

2020August25Polls

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?

2020September2LIPoll2020September2Polls

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?

2020September17Polls

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?

2020September29Polls

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?

2020October13Polls

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?

2020October21Polls

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?

2020October29Polls

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?

2020November10Polls

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?

2020November17Polls

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?

2020December29Polls

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?

2021January5Polls

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?

2021January12Polls

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?

2021February23Polls

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?

2021March2Polls

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?

2021April13Polls

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

via GIPHY

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.

The post B2B Marketing Poll Sentiment: 15+ Eye-Opening Insights To Fuel Summer Success appeared first on B2B Marketing Blog – TopRank®.