Marketers who work in the B2B industry face a lot of competition. The best way to outpace your competition is by staying on top of the latest trends. Below, I examine 6 trends that are shaping today’s B2B marketing industry and how you can keep up:
1. Employee Advocacy
Now, more than ever, people want to connect with people, not businesses. That’s why you need to establish an authentic voice and presence. This will give your prospects and customers a reason to trust and invest in your product or service.
So, how do you prepare? It’s simple: employee advocacy. With a formal advocacy program, you can easily empower employees, including your sales, marketing, and customer success to share company content across their personal networks. Employees are often an untapped marketing asset with hundreds of relevant customer and influencer connections. Hence, they can help to drive your company message forward, adding an authentic and trustworthy touch to your brand.
Even better, you can get your CEO and top level executives to be active advocates. Sharing quality content will help them become ‘thought leaders’. As the concept implies, thought leaders are go-to sources and authorities. They are perceived to have insightful information and ideas, which people in the industry want to learn.
2. Customer Experience
Today, customers are more savvy, informed, and picky about the companies they choose. That’s why customer experience is an integral part of B2B marketing.
According to Walker Research, the customer experience will be a key brand differentiator by 2020, more so than price and product. In order to deliver an experience that gets people talking, you must stay in tune with your customers at all times. Using a social listening tool, you can monitor specific phrases in real-time to discover what people are saying about you and your competition. By mastering social listening, you can understand the real needs, values, and challenges of your customers in order to personalize your marketing approach.
3. Marketing Automation
B2B buyers are a no longer passive. They take an active role in researching about your company and finding out how your product or service solves their problems. They are constantly forming opinions about your company through different content they come across. Due to this, you need to do a much better job at delivering the right message, to the right person, at the right time.
That’s where marketing automation comes in. Marketing automation platforms like Marketo, Pardot, and Act-On allow you to automate, streamline, and measure certain tasks and workflows, making it easier for you to constantly engage with leads throughout their journeys with personalized content.
Marketing automation is continuing to grow and evolve as time goes on, making it an excellent choice for B2B marketers at any level of maturity. Choosing the right platform can help you nurture, score, and attribute leads in order to drive more revenue for your company.
4. Video and Live Streaming
Video has been growing rapidly in last few years, and it’s certainly not going to slow down. As of today, video content represents 74% of all internet traffic.
On top of video, live streaming is another rising trend in B2B marketing. Twitter’s Pericope, Facebook Live, and Instagram Live Video are making big waves in the marketing industry. Videos not only make it easier for people to absorb information, they are also an authentic and engaging way of representing your product and the people behind it.
This trend is easy to jump on, and you don’t need such a huge marketing budget to do so. Simply get your business set up on YouTube, Canva, and iMovie, and start creating your own GIFs and short videos. This great article provides a step-by-step guide on how every company can create engaging videos in less than 10 minutes!
5. Experiential Marketing
Experiential marketing focuses on engaging as many of the five senses as possible. It turns good marketing into great marketing. Going back to the concept of customer experience, you need to find creative ways to create a closer bond between you and your customer.
For example, you can host online events, such as webinars and video conferences to encourage real-time collaboration and communication. Another great way to showcase your product and introduce the team is through trade shows or networking events.
Regardless of how you choose to engage in experiential marketing, remember to incorporate storytelling. This can be as simple as describing how your product solved a customer’s challenge, or using vivid imagery to make the reader feel like they are there.
6. Cross-Strategy Campaigns
A big mistake that many B2B marketers make, is keeping their channels separated. In 2017, you need to rely on cross-platform strategies. For example, using email marketing to promote social media, and content marketing to drive subscribers for newsletters.
Marketers are finding new ways to work smarter, not harder. Take a look at your strategies from a wider lens, and you’ll find more ways to integrate your channels.
B2B marketing is constantly evolving, especially in 2017. By focusing on customer experience, investing in the right platforms, and using targeted content across multiple channels, you can stay ahead of the game!