B2B Marketing Trends 2021

Latest update November 4th

The world of B2B online marketing never stands still. That’s why our experts predict every year what will become the trends in this field. For 2021, we will mainly identify one major, market-wide trend: the importance of online is only increasing and the dynamics between manufacturer, dealer and consumer are changing forever. Manufacturers are moving towards a model of partial or even complete B2B e-commerce. This trend has been accelerated by the coronavirus. But even apart from that, the trend of online is only continuing. What does this changing dynamic look like? And which tooling and technology are suited for this trend? Read on quickly!

B2B marketing in 2021: understanding the customer

Roughly speaking, four B2B e-commerce models can be distinguished, as can also be seen in the Dutch figure below. The shift from left to right has been going on for some time and has now accelerated. Physical presence is becoming less important, while the importance of online is only increasing. As a result, manufacturers are looking for new ways to get in touch with the end customer. Data is key. Who exactly is that customer and what behaviour do they show online? This can be precisely measured using handy tools. This online trend is here to stay, even when the coronavirus is over. People’s behaviour has changed permanently. Compare it to watching series: if Netflix goes bankrupt, we will look for alternative streaming sites. We are not going back to watching offline TV en masse. So in 2021, the manufacturer will also consciously opt for B2B online marketing. This will give the manufacturer a grip on the end customer, increase brand awareness and ultimately also the turnover.

B2b e-commerce modellen

From many to selected dealers

The role of the dealer is changing as a result of this online shift. Manufacturers will deliver (part of their assortment) directly to the end customer, sometimes for example with a dealer kickback. The importance of online means that a manufacturer no longer needs to have a dealer in every city. It is quality over quantity. So instead of many dealers, a number of selected (certified) dealers are chosen. Knowledge is required to sell technical products. This aspect is becoming increasingly important. The professional training of dealers is therefore part of the exclusive Jelba Dealer Marketing Program. This is a win-win situation for both manufacturer and dealer.

For whom is this trend relevant?

This shift in the market is particularly relevant for manufacturers of catalogue products, such as our customers Mitutoyo, Allshoes and Dormer Pramet. For manufacturers of investment goods (such as Cellro) this trend plays less of a role. After all, they often work with long-term service contracts with dealers. But B2B online marketing remains essential in these sectors as well.

Tooling & technology: the essentials

The importance of online is therefore only increasing. The goal remains the same: to generate maximum exposure and turnover. There are various tools that are essential for every B2B webshop or B2B website and that will only increase in importance in 2021. We will list a few of them for you.

1. B2B PIM system

Manufacturers of catalogue products often have a large assortment. 10,000 products or more are no exception. The time of paper catalogues is largely over. In this online age it is important that the product data is correctly displayed on the website. But how do you manage those 10,000 products? A PIM system helps with this. By storing all product data in one central place, the chance of errors is reduced. This is particularly important if the product data is linked to multiple systems and websites, such as Amazon. Greedybean is a good example of a PIM system for B2B companies. Several of our customers are already successfully using this system for their product data.

2. B2B feed marketing

More and more B2B webshops also offer their products on other platforms and websites, such as Amazon and Google Shopping. This increases their reach a lot. This fits in perfectly with the trend towards 100% B2B e-commerce: the manufacturer has got to know the end customer and reaches them directly via their own webshop and other webshops. However, it is quite tricky to sell things via these platforms. You have to make sure that all product data is correct. It is impossible to do this manually! Feedmarketing helps with this. Moreover, it can be used to analyse and optimise online campaigns at product level. This provides essential information for every B2B company!

3. Social media

It goes without saying that social media is a crucial part of any B2B online marketing campaign today. This trend will only continue, especially for manufacturers. In the classic model, all sales go through the dealer. The manufacturer himself therefore has less to worry about brand image and marketing. This will change if the manufacturer delivers directly or partially to the end customer. Branding and making contact with the end customer then becomes very important. Social media is an accessible and at the same time very effective medium for this. This medium can also be part of the new manufacturer-dealership dynamics. For our customer Mitutoyo, for example, we put a certified dealer in the spotlight every now and then, emphasising the expertise on both sides. Good advertising for both parties!

Jelba: the No. 1 B2B Online Specialist in 2021 as well

Identifying trends in B2B marketing is only possible if you understand the online world from A to Z. And we certainly do that at Jelba. What’s more, our specialists actively participate in all the aforementioned trends. We guide our clients to direct e-commerce and thus increase their online reach through a tailored B2B online marketing strategy, feed marketing, relevant content and smart use of social media. As a B2B company, do you want to grow further in 2021? Please contact us!

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Hester Reitsma

B2B Content Editor

Hello, I’m Hester,
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