With increasing competition, the B2B buying process has become impersonal, cold, and definitely more complicated. This has led to firms investing more on conversational marketing for building relationships, creating authentic experiences for buyers and sellers.
With the increasing pace of life, buyers and sellers don’t have the time for traditional marketing techniques anymore. As reported by Drift, only 43% of consumers actually respond to cold calls. The failure of conventional marketing techniques is evident from the fact that the average e-mail open rates have dropped down to 20%, and the average landing page conversation rates are as low as 2.35%. It is time for business actually to feel personal again with fresh personalized marketing techniques.
Researches by Drift and SurveyMonkey Audience have compared last year’s findings to see the potential trends that might emerge in 2020. Below are the top three trends reported:
Email marketing isn’t dying; it’s in fact, growing: For years, experts have claimed that email is on its way out, and firms should look for alternative communication channels. But as per the survey data from this year and last year, the opposite appears to be true. Email isn’t dying; it’s growing. In fact, of all the customer communication channels analyzed, email is the only channel that has seen a constant growth year-over-year. As compared to 60% in 2018, 65% of users have confirmed e-mail as the preferred medium for conversational marketing in 2019.
People expect a slower response from forms: The survey revealed a faster response time from online chat and chatbots as compared to online forms. Last year, 34% of survey respondents expected a response within the next five minutes of filling out a website form. 2019 saw a drop in this figure to 27%. Meanwhile, more respondents expect fast response times from online chat in 2019, which is 82% as compared to 77% last year. The same trend is witnessed with chatbots, as 78% expect to get fast responses in 2019, compared to 75% last year. The “no forms” movement is expected to continue to grow in 2020 as the buyers today prefer conversations, not forms.
The stereotypes preventing people from using chatbots are crumbling: The “no forms” movement is gaining steam as people are becoming more comfortable using chatbots as an alternative to filling up lengthy forms. Last year, 26% of respondents confirmed that they’d prefer to fill out a form on a website and wait for a follow-up. But 2019 has seen a transformation as just 14% of respondents confirmed the same. The doubt on the accuracy of chatbots has dropped this year to 24% as compared to 30% last year.
Sales and marketing have always revolved around conversations between the sellers and the buyers. But somewhere over the years, marketers and salespeople started focusing more on blasting their sales messages out and focusing less on consumer expectations and personalization. Firms were marketing through a one-sided conversation, which isn’t a conversation at all. With the rise of conversational marketing, salespeople and marketers are returning to the earlier days when buyers and sellers engaged in an actual personalized dialogue. And as the technologies powering these channels continue to evolve, there’s no doubt that customer experiences will continue to grow and B2B marketing will become more streamlined.