2017 is flying by. It’s time to review the key B2B marketing trends that have popped up so that you can evaluate the success of your B2B strategy. Remember, it’s all about context. It’s nearly useless to know about the trends if you’re not fully aware of what they mean for you and your company. We’ve picked the year’s five most compelling trends in B2B marketing to tell you exactly what they mean for your business:
1. The Success of Account-Based Marketing
Implications: Throughout 2016, Account-Based Marketing was touted as an effective B2B marketing strategy. According to an ABM study by SiriusDecisions, 42% of marketers claim that they have been using ABM for at least 6 months. During the Sirius Decisions 2017 Summit in Las Vegas, Lynsay Russell of Medtronic discussed how ABM proved beneficial for their organization. In their ABM approach, the average deal size of their targeted accounts is 35% larger than the average deal size of accounts not targeted via ABM methods. Bottom line, your B2B competitors are successfully using ABM, and if you haven’t adopted this strategy yet, you may get left behind.
Strategy: Account-Based Marketing (ABM) is the practice of tailoring sales and marketing strategies to a particular account that can make a big impact on ROI. Account-based marketers don’t concern themselves with lead quantity. Rather, they pursue quality. ABM doesn’t care about the thousands of followers you gained on Twitter. It’s closing the deal that matters, which helps you build your bottom line faster and more efficiently. Narrow your focus and personalize your marketing efforts to target your best accounts that have higher chances of converting. Don’t waste your resources on the smaller fish. Go for the big one.
2. The Rise of Mobile
Implications: More than half of the world’s web traffic comes from mobile devices, so if you’re not implementing a mobile-first strategy, then you’re ignoring more than 50% of your potential leads. There are over 4.92 billion mobile users around the world that you can potentially reach with mobile marketing strategies. Now that mobile has become a primary channel for media consumption; businesses need to take advantage of the opportunities for new traffic and data collection.
Strategy: Ensure that your content is responsive on any mobile device. Since business owners and department heads are now using their mobile devices to research business solutions, make your website accessible through any device and optimize it for the biggest screens down to the smallest gadgets. Invest in mobile apps so that you can personally reach out to your prospects and existing clients, as this will help increase sales and client engagement. Make sure to allot resources for mobile app remarketing since research suggests that people tend to stop using apps after 30 days. It’s also a good idea to integrate your campaigns with SMS and MMS marketing communications.
3. The Emergence of New Technology and Automation
Implications: A multitude of technologies and innovations are available to make the lives of marketers easier. Of course, these tools can also be used to enhance existing marketing campaigns. Marketing automation tools help you reach your prospects and personalize communications. If you’re still doing it old-school, these repetitive, mundane tasks are probably costing your business more in the long run.
Strategy: Review your approach to using marketing technologies. Audit the tools you currently use across your marketing categories. Scott Brinker, author of “Hacking Marketing,” outlines six marketing categories that you can use for your audit:
- Marketing Experiences
This refers to technologies that directly affect customer touchpoints across the marketing lifecycle, including advertising, email, social media, SEO, content marketing, A/B testing, marketing apps, and other related tools.
- Marketing Operations
Operations cover the tools and data for managing the “back-office” of marketing. This includes your data analytics, MRM, DAM, and agile marketing management technologies.
- Marketing Middleware
Marketing middleware helps integrate marketing platforms and systems with each other. This may include data management platforms, data protection, API services, cloud connectors, tag management, and the like.
- Marketing Backbone Platforms
Review each of your backbone platforms separately, as each may be for a different purpose. Examples of these are tools for customer relationship management (CRM), content management systems (CMS), automation, and e-commerce tools.
- Infrastructure Services
Your marketing infrastructure includes cloud computing, big data management, databases, and software development tools.
- Internet Services
This doesn’t just refer to your internet provider (but you need to check that, too). Make sure the internet platforms you’re using such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other services that underlie the marketing environment are integrated seamlessly.
4. The Age of Visual Content
Implications: Adding images to your content will help promote brand awareness and brand recall. According to a recent study, visual recall is stronger than audio or text. When people hear a piece of information, they tend to only remember 10% of it three days later. But when you add pictures to the same information, they can remember 65% of it after three days. Additionally, 37% of marketers claim that visual marketing is their most important form of content because it greatly contributes to building trust and engagement with audiences.
Strategy: Use compelling images that are consistent with your brand across all platforms. Make your content easy on the eyes and use white space to your advantage. You don’t want to overdo it and overwhelm your audience with needless distractions, so aim for visual quality over quantity. Create graphs and charts to illustrate data and statistics. Customize your images for added relevance and branding. Experiment with short and highly educational videos. Most importantly, make sure you’re following the 10 Commandments of Visual Content.
5. The Power of Big Data
Implications: Big data algorithms and advanced data analytics make it possible for marketers to deliver consistent omnichannel customer experiences across all platforms and channels. Indeed, big data is revolutionizing the way we do marketing. It increases the quality of your sales leads, improves customer experiences at every touchpoint, and helps managers make sound business decisions.
Without the necessary data, you can’t understand who your leads are and how to reach them with personalized communications. So, get on the big data bandwagon and optimize your campaigns!
Strategy: Go beyond your marketing campaign execution and use big data to help make customer relationships more successful. A data analytics expert or consultant can help you with this when the numbers become too overwhelming. Create a big data framework that’s aligned with your organizational and marketing goals. Segregate transactional and non-transactional data to determine which ones go under social analytics, performance management, decision science, and data exploration. In a nutshell, taking advantage of data means setting up systems to collect and analyze data at every possible point in your sales process. The more you know about your business and your audience, the better you’ll be at creating the right marketing strategy.
It’s not enough to know what the current marketing trends are. As responsible marketers, trend analysis involves knowing, understanding, and acting on the trends. Don’t forget to measure your performance as you respond to these trends. Every business is different, and being data-driven will help determine if these strategies are a good fit for your needs.
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