The top 7 moments for B2B and Earnest in 2021

What a year it’s been in B2B, and what a year for Earnest. As we approach 2022, it felt an appropriate time to look back on some of the notable moments and trends taking place during the last 12 months.

Statistically speaking, an accelerated B2B marketing industry

We launched our fourth Vital Statistics compendium this year, and it really showed how the pandemic has been an accelerant of many existing digitisation trends and changing priorities of the B2B buyer. And to share the stats love around a bit, the folk at Martech Alliance released a belting compendium of juicy B2B stats here.

B2B events = down, B2B digital experience = up

Practically every B2B marketer dreads the pain, anguish and cost of attending or hosting B2B tradeshows. Oh yes, and the lack of ROI… With 2021 still being fairly pandemic-y, we saw a huge rush of B2B brands taking the opportunity to completely overhaul their B2B digital experience. The B2B buyer had been online for some time, but with trade shows temporarily silent – it was obvious to most that digital experience improvements were needed. At Earnest, we saw brands such as EssensysGLPLandmark and Accelya all update their sites with us. 

B2B got strategic and long-term

2021 has been a market reappraisal of where to focus marketing investment in B2B. Demand generation and ABM will of course never go away, but many B2B brands have taken a long overdue look at their brands this year. We even published the Reboot guide – to help CMOs have a better conversation with their CEOs on the importance of brand investment. LinkedIn and Warc got in on the act as well – publishing the B2B Effectiveness code. This is very much worth a read, ignore some of the slightly misleading articles around proclaiming ‘ABM is dead’. This guide really helps prove the need for a balanced set of short and long-term objectives in B2B. 

The B2B industry got together again

One thing we’ve always loved about the B2B industry, is the often under-estimated community of marketers (client and agency-side). The International B2B Marketing Awards held in London on 24th November, brought over 750 of them altogether. A great evening, not least seeing our team win some nice trophies, but especially our client Access Group win Team of the Year – very well deserved. 

Huge growth in the US

In North America, Earnest is known as Earnezt, and the team there has doubled in size and doubled its client base. This is not just a testament to the rebounding US economy, which was hard hit by the pandemic, but also our amazing team in New York, who only this month ventured into our new offices for the first time in nearly two years. 

The launch of Launchpad

In our industry there’s still too much diversity talk, and not enough inclusivity action. So this year we set up a programme called Launchpad. In June, candidates from under represented communities spent a paid week at Earnest learning about the in’s and out’s of the agency, whilst also being challenged with daily tasks and a brief that they pitched back at the end of the week. And, a number of them have gone onto further career development at Earnest. 

Here’s an article that provides some more detail. And if this is something you’d like to implement at your workplace, let us know. We’d be happy to share what we know and do.

B2B creativity is set to be finally recognised and applauded

Many of us in the industry have been shouting about this for many years (decades?), but at last there is set to be B2B focused Cannes Lion awards. This will be a great opportunity for the many great B2B brands to show off their creativity and ingenuity. 

Looking forward to it, and whatever else 2022 may bring! 

(Photo edited by Chris Holland)