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16/12/2021 By : Louise Honan

Four B2B sales and marketing trends for 2022

While the world may still be in the grip of a global pandemic, OTT’s Product Director Louise Honan looks at four key trends which will shape B2B marketing activity in the coming year 

There’s no sugar coating it, the travel industry has had a dismal two years with the Covid-19 pandemic causing huge uncertainty.

As always, necessity is the mother of reinvention. Sales and marketing teams now have to find new approaches to mitigate whatever challenges the Covid-19 pandemic throws at us. The traditional approach, which usually consisted of a 6-12 month well executed and well controlled plan, has been thrown out of the window. Instead, marketers need to adapt to an ever changing and more challenging business environment. With no return to a “new normal” on the horizon yet, an agile and flexible approach is needed

While marketing strategies which fit into neatly defined timeframes may be a thing of the past (for the time being, at least), there are some emerging trends which can help marketers navigate uncertain conditions. One bright spot from the pandemic is that it has pushed forward the pace of digitisation and the benefits it can offer B2B sales channels.

Here are four key trends which will be important in 2022…

1. B2B sales will continue to be digital

What started out as a crisis response is here to stay. Both sellers and buyers across many industry sectors say they prefer to communicate digitally. A survey published by McKinsey found that 70-80 per cent of decision makers preferred to receive information via remote human interaction or digital self-service.

The reasons given for the preference were ease of scheduling (particularly across geographical locations) and reduced travel expenses, as well as safety.  The survey findings also have implications for the travel trade which has traditionally preferred face-to-face communication. With the uncertainty and restrictions caused by the pandemic continuing, the travel supply chain will have to invest more in digital sales channels along every stage of the sales lifecycle, from lead generation to proposal and close.

2. A growing interest in data ethics within B2B marketing 

Data is one of the most important assets when it comes to B2B marketing.  The combination of GDPR and the end of third-party cookies by Google are just two examples of how getting useful and effective data will be more critical than ever.Facing this increased awareness among sellers and buyers around privacy and the ethical use of data,  good marketeers want to use data in a way that is honest and transparent, not just a base level of compliance.  The industry will be looking for new ways to promote and track digital campaigns. 

"We don’t believe these solutions (cookies) will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long term investment. Instead, our web products will be powered by privacy-preserving APIs which prevent individual tracking while still delivering results for advertisers and publishers," says Google.

3. Personalisation is key to nurturing relationships

It's no longer just about using a first name in an email, personalisation now requires a deeper understanding of how to augment communications to target micro segments.  These more complex marketing plans take account of multiple factors - from the customers position within the sales lifecycle to behavioural data.  

Marketers are constructing increasingly sophisticated data based models to nurture and develop business relationships.  Smart marketers realise that a hundred high value travel professionals engaging with their content and learning is far more valuable than getting 1,000 people coming to your site but disappearing instantly with nothing gained.

4. Collaboration beats competition 

As with other sectors, suppliers are now finding that putting their heads together can lead to greater problem solving skills.

Collaboration – rather than competition - with other suppliers can also help reinforce key messages. As well as blurring geographical barriers, the other huge benefits of online collaboration is that it strips away costs.

There is no doubt that the relationship between airlines, destinations, hotels and visitor attractions is a symbiotic one, so we expect to see more strategic collaboration as we progress through 2022.

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