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The new year is right around the corner, and marketers are making their budget lists and checking them twice...

There's no better time to ask leadership for what will make the organization more profitable, the people more effective, the departments more collaborative and the customers happier.

In fact, according to Episerver data of 300 B2B marketers at midsize or enterprise companies, 95% expect their budgets related to all things digital to increase in 2020.

With that opportunity in mind, let's look at how marketers are prioritizing spend. (For more insights, download Episerver's digital experience survey with trends and tactics for B2B marketers.)

Help me connect...

Marketers are desperate to engage their current and potential customers in a more relevant way: 41% of B2B marketers say they are most likely to adapt personalized content in the next 12 months over any other website feature or functionality.

One reason for the urgency to personalize content is that B2B marketers themselves know how valuable it can be to receive and read information pertinent to them, specifically. In fact, Episerver survey data indicates 92% of B2B marketers think a brand cares about their experience or are getting a better experience when a company personalizes content on its website based on their online behavior.

Don't make my job harder...

The second highest priority in 2020 is improving the mobile experience: 32% of B2B marketers indicate it's a most likely investment in the next 12 months.

Every good marketer knows digital marketing is only as effective as the post-click experience. The most compelling ad won't covert, for example, if what happens post-click does not meet a person's expectations like complementary content, fast loading times, and more. With mobile way past its tipping point for website traffic, it's important for B2B brands to optimize the mobile experience.

Let people self-serve...

The third highest priority in 2020 for B2B marketers is live chat: 29% say it's their most likely investment this year. And with 42% of B2B marketers saying "self-service functionality" would make it easier to do business with fellow B2Bs, live chat makes sense for those looking for quick answers to their questions.

The challenge with live chat, however, is that most companies offering it are in test mode, in which the bot can answer only basic questions or the real person cannot answer all a customer's questions, forcing the customer to call or email. Those prioritizing live chat in the new year will need to heavily invest in its capabilities, because surface-level options only frustrate those looking to self-serve or wanting to choose how much guidance they need from the brand.

In 2020, customers will further expect to decide how much or how little they need assistance from a company.

Give me an app for that...

The fourth highest priority in 2020 for B2B marketers is to launch a native mobile app for their customers or partners: 27% say it's their most likely investment this year.

Whether it's through a dedicated mobile app or a progressive Web app, the ability to connect via mobile and with weaker or no Internet connection (at an airport, say) is critical to helping business users accomplish their goals.

Know what IT says, too...

While marketers have a clear vision into their most likely investments in the next 12 months, so do their B2B IT counterparts.

The more than 250 B2B IT decision-makers surveyed also prioritized improving the mobile experience (35%), adding personalized content (33%) and adopting live chat (32%). Although there were slight nuances with the percentages, those priorities all ranked in the Top 3 for both groups.

IT professionals, however, were far less likely than their marketing peers to prioritize launching a native mobile app, 19% (IT) versus 27% (marketing). Instead, IT professionals prioritize product recommendations (25% say it's their most likely investment in 2020).

One of the areas Marketing and IT were most likely to disagree on what the level of digital experience their company provides: 56% of marketers say they deliver a poor digital experience to their customers, versus just 31% of IT decision-makers who say so.

Regardless of what marketing and IT are prioritizing in the new year, communicate early and often with each stakeholder group to ensure alignment with digital experience initiatives.

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For further digital experience insights, download Episerver's survey on digital experience tactics in 2019.

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Episerver empowers businesses to scale through the most customer-centric approach to digital experiences. Its Customer-Centric Digital Experience Platform™ features best-in-class content management, robust commerce, and intuitive data and personalization solutions. The platform has consistently earned industry, analyst, and media recognition for its vision, capabilities, and customer commitment. Episerver’s 900+ partners and 700+ employees in offices around the globe are proud to help more than 8,000 customers enrich their customer lifetime value, increase revenue, and grow their brands. Learn more at Episerver.