Thriving companies in 2020 shared a common trait: a product customers want that is simple to use and easy to access. These businesses offer a customer experience that connects with buyers, whether that is web conferencing software, TV streaming services, or home cleaning products. 

This post is part of ZoomInfo’s 2020 Annual Report series.

The key to pushing through the pandemic (and profitably so) is to help customers come to know, trust, and rely on a brand. 

According to Gartner, “In response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, marketers are exhibiting a range of responses beyond creating COVID-19-specific content. B2B marketing leaders are most often signaling enhancements to customer listening and digital capabilities, while B2C marketing leaders most frequently indicate altering customer experiences and changing customer-facing policies.” (Gartner, How Marketers Are Adapting to Disruption During COVID-19: Findings From the 2020 Customer Loyalty and Management Marketing Poll, September 2020.)

Data trends support the success of customer-centric strategies. 

Since March 2020, brands with loyal followings outperformed their competitors. What’s more, ZoomInfo’s research team analyzed recent web searches conducted by Fortune 500 companies on 10 topics that might indicate an early interest in building loyalty. For seven out of the 10 topics, there was a peak in interest in April or May 2020, followed by a drop in June, and then a smaller upswing in July. Those seven topics included:

  • Content personalization
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer insight
  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer retention
  • Loyalty software
  • Net Promoter Score

The patterns for these topics are consistent enough to suggest that interest in customer experience and loyalty rose in the spring because of business concerns centered on the early stages of the pandemic, when much of the economy slowed down.

For three other topics — customer attrition (same as customer churn), customer lifetime value, and user experience — recent interest spiked in June and July 2020. 

So what do these patterns mean in the bigger picture? Here are a couple of takeaways:

  • Employees at nearly 10% of Fortune 500 companies searched for at least one loyalty-based topic from March to July 2020.
  • Nearly 10% of the top-earning companies in the U.S. searched for loyalty-related topics online from March through July 2020.

Cross-selling topic searches are on the rise, too

In 2020, many businesses have also shifted to focus on growing accounts by cross-selling new product lines. In order to cross-sell to existing customers, companies in 2020 have launched more new products than in each of the prior two years. There was an uptick in launches continuing steadily, with a significant increase in “product launch” mentions at the height of the pandemic.

From March to July, web searches at Fortune 500 companies for cross-selling surpassed those for product development by nearly four to one, and integrations had three times the searches compared to product development.

It’s reasonable to surmise that the pandemic, at least in part, is driving the need for businesses to increase customer loyalty through — in many cases — creative, timely, and useful cross-selling and upselling initiatives. 

Now, what does this mean for businesses hoping to succeed in 2021? 

Like last year, capitalizing on and maintaining customer engagement efforts should be high on the to-do list of any company. Companies must diversify product offerings and amplify cross-selling strategies to reduce risk without spending on additional capital in 2020.

To browse through more go-to-market trends and 2021 business predictions, continue on to ZoomInfo’s latest Annual Report: Going to Market Smarter in the New Economy.

ZoomInfo’s 2020 Annual Report Series

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The ZoomInfo Editorial Team

The ZoomInfo Editorial Team is our data-driven storytelling team.

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