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5 Future content marketing trends 2020-2021 for B2B

Updated: Nov 6, 2020

If there's one thing COVID-19 taught us is that things can change overnight. The truth is, that what is coming has been here pre-corona - and only has been accelerated during the last months. The audience is now seeking help more than ever. It is crucial to pause and rethink about the line of communication that is best for you and your audience. Are you well-prepared to move on to the next business chapter (and challenges)?

Last week we wrote about 4 Challenges SMEs are facing and the solution. In case you are curious!

While there are a lot of content marketing trends in the current market whirlpool, let’s discuss the 5 essential future-focused trends that you need to know right now if you want to stride into 2021 with grace.

When times of crisis arrive, we as marketers by nature regroup, re-evaluate and re-orient marketing activities and adapt communication to the new environment. Consumer circumstances as well as behaviour have changed, hence; marketers also need to re-adjust the strategies as a result.

Some of the content trends you’ll see here have been around for some years now but it is important to know what and why some trends are making a statement for the rest of 2020 and 2021.

1. The new 4Cs of Covid-19 content

A first and mega trend for all brands. Like it or not, this trend is likely to linger well into 2021. The brand’s tone of voice will be adapted to the renewed 4Cs of Covid-19 content; community, contactless, cleanliness and compassion.

The consumers are now looking for help from brands with their daily lives more than ever. Businesses should focus on building messages around supporting consumers, communities and also their fellow business partners.

How do you apply the 4Cs principle within the company?

If you want change. It is necessary that businesses start with themselves first, only then, they can help and lead communities. The 4Cs principle also applies to a good leadership within companies and communities, that is, to lead employees as well as consumers with compassion, understanding, self-authority, sense of belonging in community and providing support.

'By working compassionately, courageously and honestly, leaders can support and care for their staff so that they can save thousands of lives across our communities' - Suzie Bailey & Michael West, 2020.

Not only that sentence applies in health and medical industry but also it should be applied in all businesses who seek to set themselves as good examples.

How do you apply 4Cs principle for consumers?

For example, in Hospitality and Tourism industry, the focus of consumers shifted from seeking comfort, service, or sense of belonging to cleanliness and safety as the top priority. The brand content and its message, then, focuses more on showing them that their lodgings are clean and safe. Marriott Hotel chain has adopted the tagline 'Less Contact. More Convenience.', by introducing new mobile check-in, web check-in, mobile key and other contact lite services.

Take-away tip? : Brands should be listening to consumer voices and conversations on social media to be able to adjust, implement, and roll along with the audience as things can change in the matter of days.

2. The (W)holy-grail

Who says that only unfortunate things are happening in the business world after the global pandemic outbreak? - Because of this worldly event, we discovered along the way that there are ways to minimize investment, realizing that we can achieve the same goal with less expenses and less effort.

One of these ways, are of course online events, more specifically Webinars. Despite the fact that 70% of B2B marketers say that webinars are one of the best ways to generate leads, this year we come to realize that its social status has been upgraded to ‘the holy-grail’.

Gone are the days of learning in classes, on-boarding and training employees at the office, offering in-person product and service demos or hosting an annual summit with physical limitations. Welcome the new days when knowledge sharing processes, and business activities can be done anywhere, and anytime. We are all learning to be full-time digital nomads!

Best practice? - Next to organizing as many webinars as relevant and possible for your company, we advise to keep that engagement rate rolling by having plenty of interaction points during your webinar sessions. Make sure to use some interaction tools like polls, Q&A, mini games, quizzes, or surveys. The more your audience is engaged and immersed in your event experience, the more likely we lead to more sales, loyalty or whatever metric you’re seeking to achieve.

3. The rise of short-filmed video platforms

There is no question why 70% of B2B buyers and researchers are watching videos throughout the buying journey. Experiential marketing has been on the growth throughout the years in the B2B market. Let’s talk about the two rising-stars of the show;

Tiktok and Instagram Reels

In 2016, China has fully embarked on the video content wagon and took it to heart. TikTok was created in 2016, and since 2018 the app has been widely used across continents. Thanks to its easy-to-use functionality and accessibility, next to the entertainment and creative factor, Tiktok has conquered 800 million global active users monthly and has the highest engagement rate per post compared to similar apps like instagrams and twitter. TikTok has been extremely popular among Gen Z users. According to this report from Global Web Index, 41% of their 800 million active users are between the ages of 16 and 24.

So what’s the secret? Why is it so popular? - it is because of its simplicity, the ease of use, engagement to personal level and the chance to go ‘viral’ quicker than other platforms like Youtube.

The truth is, humans like to engage with content on platforms which doesn’t sound like a sales-pitch. This holds true for the B2B as much as for the B2C market.

It is no secret that B2B now has adopted TikTok as part of their channel or cross-media strategies. We like the fact that even the hardest industries to produce relevant content that resonate or engage with their audience like the financial market, IT, or NGO industry, also use their creativity to reach younger audiences via TikTok platform.

It is true, Albert Einstein once said - Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will take you everywhere.

Instagram Reels is another up-coming star. Not so long ago this year Instagram introduced a new-released Tiktok’s rival clone, Instagram Reels. Maybe Instagram is hoping that the trend will stick and stay, but would it become a real pop-star? Chances are that the audiences have adopted TikTok already and it has become one of many of their social bed-time rituals.

TikTok Best Practices? - #challenges, collaboration, employee advocacy, creating catchy trends to go viral. Creativity is endless!

4. Real Time Marketing

In the infancy stage, real-time marketing is when you apply the current trends, data and customer feedback into the marketing strategies. It goes hand in hand with social media as it enables the audience's instant interaction and real-time information for businesses.

What could be a good example of real-time marketing is the Spotify 2017 OOH year-end marketing campaign. The brand wrapped up the year by demonstrating the most streamed song in 2017 on Spotify, put it on the billboard in the UK in early December (local artists were chosen in different markets), by sharing data and resonating with passerby-audience.

Who doesn’t like to listen to ‘The Shape of You’ by Ed Sheeran right?

Today, showing empathy, being sensitive and transparent to the audience is critical in these times when people are highly vulnerable. The nuances of brand voice are more delicate than ever.

Creating a new or adapted version of a product/service counts as real-time marketing activity.

For example, Nike turned to adopt a new message; “Play inside, play for the world”. The brand then showed the support of staying active indoors and designed tools that span a range of digital content and platforms. Remember, consumers need our help more than ever.

In the B2B context, you don’t need to push the idea of the pandemic into the message, some people might get tired of hearing the word ‘Covid-19’. But rather, re-thinking about where the customers are and how you can deliver the value, how you respond and show that you care by doing it differently.

Another example for real-time marketing, Coursera (B2B2C) quickly shifted the attention from creating online courses for business partners in the beginning of July this year to focus on resources by helping universities take all the courses online by the end of the month. The result? - more than 2,000 institutions around the world have adopted the Coursera to the platform. Helping is caring, that is, helping other people to help you! And that brings us to the next subject.

5. Co-create to Recreate

Another marketing best practice that has been used massively lately in the market is ‘User-Generated’ content (UGC). Businesses turn the focus on finding solutions to make content that resonates with and engages the audience. What is a better way to do it than letting them co-produce content with the brand and its community?

There is no need to say that the benefits from user-generated content are to help brands build trust and credibility, to inspire and engage their peers. In fact, 84% of consumers say they trust peer recommendations above all other sources of traditional media.

What could be happening in the future is that brands will have opportunities to provide content templates for users to base their content off, according to the 4C rules and ever changing brand strategies.

For the B2B landscape, companies can always express their employee’s brand advocacy by sharing their employee’s fun facts, promoting office well-being and activities.

For example, Hootsuite created a UGC campaign on Instagram and Twitter #IWorkFromHere for its audience to share their working spaces pictures and to enter the contest.

The truth is people like to share their thoughts, activities and stories. That could be a key insight for you to create more from.

For instance, you can create a video series with the industry-pop-star guests, co-hosting with influencers for a brand podcast, collecting testimonials from influencers or users etc.

The most important thing to remember is to always drive values to the audience. Our favourite activity from UGC strategies is establishing ourselves as a talent platform for audiences to show-off their creativities.

Last week we, as ‘AngLe Agency’ partnered up with Costa Belien, a goal and leadership coach. He gave us a training session focused on a goal-oriented approach. In return, we gave him a really good rating and a voice on social media!

Best practices? : Think about the campaign that will drive values for all parties, mix and match with real-time marketing tactics that contribute to current state of the market (the 4C rules), don’t forget the #hashtags and make sure to communicate about it consistently on respective platforms!

The key take-away from all these trends? - things change but the core of running a business is the same...and even being more emphasised than ever; to provide values to communities at best. That’s why last month, we launched a program that brings HR and Sales & Marketing stakeholders together to optimize the resources at their best interests.

Curious how our Digital Hybrid program works? - visit here.

Come e-meet with us about your inquiries over a cup of coffee!

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