With the booming growth of innovation in marketing technology & the skyrocketing number of online marketing tools to choose from, most B2B marketers are unable to ascertain the right technologies and methods that need to be implemented, in order to achieve their marketing objectives and goals. Thus, to make it simpler for the marketers as well as to emphasize the importance of keeping track of constant market changes, let us now look into 10 key B2B marketing trends that need to be at the top of a marketer’s priority list
1.Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Is Here To Stay
Lately, there is a lot that is being talked about in the business world about Account Based Marketing. ABM can be easily understood as customizing B2B marketing tactics for a specific group of high value clients. Marketing to high value clients, referred to as target accounts can contribute immensely to establishing a profound brand presence. By customizing user experience according to a specific client’s requirements can fairly increase the probability of them staying on to your site & engaging in further transactions. This also allows marketers to collect client specific data such as purchase preferences, nature of products & services preferred, medium of marketing that receives the most response etc.
A Demandbase survey suggests that approximately 45% of marketers are testing or have adopted account-based marketing to add on to their B2B marketing efforts and 75% are still planning to implement ABM in the future. ABM mainly aims to enhance the efficiency and productivity of marketing with minimal investments.
Having said all that about ABM, Does it actually help in flipping the sales funnel to fetch ROI?
Well the answer is fairly positive.
- About 80% of marketers agree that ABM is fairing much better as compared to other marketing investments in terms of ROI (ITSMA).
- When ABM has been in use for at least a year, 60% of users reported a revenue increase of at least 10% & 19% reported a revenue impact of 30% or greater (Demandbase on eWeek).
Well aren’t these statistics reason enough for you to watch out for the current
Marketing trends in ABM? So Start Right Away!
2.Artificial Intelligence(AI) Is Gaining Ground
Artificial Intelligence is a concept that is slowly spreading its roots into every aspect of the business world. We interact with AI in some way or the other each day whether it is Siri from Apple, Watson from IBM or Alexa from Amazon. AI mainly enables the use of algorithms in machines to imitate human- like cognitive functions of intelligence. Machine Learning is an application of AI that is based on the fact that machines can learn to carry out various tasks on their own by utilizing the data fed into them. Understanding these two concepts well & tracking advancements in both these fields could help marketers save a lot of time and effort.
With the pace of technological advancement increasing many folds, soon AI will play a major role in various steps of a business process such as targeting of audience, content writing, programmatic advertising as well as smarter decision making. With 2017 proceeding fast towards its last quarter, AI will increasingly impact the way businesses enrich their sales pipeline. By analyzing emails, tracking previous prospect purchasing behavior and the application of predictive analytics through machine learning AI will make pipeline forecasting, a faster and more efficient process.
44% of executives believe that the most important benefit of artificial intelligence is- automated communications that provide data that can be used to make decisions (Narrative Science). This suggests that purchasing decisions will rely heavily on Artificial Intelligence in the years to come
3.Customer Experience (CX) Is Everything For A Business
The popular phrase “Customer is King” typically describes the way marketers & business people view the role of their customer/client in their journey to success. According to a survey, “40% of customers switch loyalty because a competitor offers better customer service”. Thus, Businesses need to focus more on providing a rich customer experience that boosts brand loyalty and also aids in customer retention.
By 2020, Customer experience will rule the business front in terms of purchasing decisions this means that people will invest in a brand, based on the CX they offer rather than the products and prices. The fact that currently only 23% B2B marketers claim to have a customer centric organizational structure, indicates that Marketers need to align their campaigns based on Customer Experience more in the coming years in order to improve brand loyalty
4.Visual Content Marketing Has A Profound Impact
If content were to be imagined as a beautiful cake then visual form of content is the cherry on that cake. Visual content in different forms has been the main marketing tactic for several years now. With various advancements in technologies, visual content marketing is evolving & has become of primary importance in designing marketing campaigns that are sure revenue generators. 50% of executives look for more information after seeing a product or service in a video. This indicates that visual content can fairly simplify lead generation & nurturing.
With the proven success of Pokemon Go, virtual & augmented realities are here to stay along with other existing visual content forms. A study shows that people who prefer to watch videos outnumber those who like to read content by approximately four times. 96% of B2B organizations use video in some form or other in their marketing campaigns of which 73% report positive results to their ROI, a survey conducted by REELSEO revealed. With all these statistical figures, the importance of more visual content that should be a part of your marketing strategy is established & tracking the developments of this marketing trend becomes essential
5.Marketing Automation Will Reinvent Your Marketing
58% of the top-performing companies where marketing contributes more than half of the sales pipeline have adopted marketing automation (Forrester Research) Marketing Automation has become an exhaustively used term among most B2B communities. Marketing automation holds promise for marketers as it simplifies many of their tasks such as profiling customers on web pages & landing pages, sending out personalized emails to further lead nurturing, lead management etc. Yet, Only 2% of B2B organizations are utilizing marketing automation to maximize their results.
According to Smart Insights, marketing automation if used appropriately could help increase the overall efficiency of marketing. Major takeaways from this study include:
- Marketing automation could be used to develop & execute a multi-step welcome sequence with content that is dynamic as well as relevant.
- It could assist in remarketing of products which prospects view or often browse through on third party websites.
- Moreover, it also facilitates lead grading and scoring so that a marketer can track and evaluate leads at each stage of their journey.
With Marketing Automation gaining popularity, it would be wise to start incorporating marketing automation into your campaign so that you can keep up pace with the growing competition in the field of B2b marketing
6.Personalization To Win Customers & Make Them Stay
65% of buyers will come away from the buyer journey frustrated by inconsistent experiences (McKinsey). This statistic suggests that providing personalized and consistent customer experience must be tasks that should be high on a marketer’s priority list.
“69% of B2B buyers believed that content that addressed their personal needs was the most influential part of a company’s entire website.”
Personalization doesn’t just mean sending emails by addressing the prospect/client with his/her name. It means understanding and addressing the various pain points of the customer or prospect and offering solutions through various forms of content that include website content, emails, newsletters, blogs, videos, Infographics etc. This requires not only collecting data & taking insights from the buyer’s previous purchase behavior but also evaluating the buyer journey stage at which the particular prospect stands.
Thus, personalization can be pivotal in improving customer experience & facilitating customer retention
7.Influencer Marketing Can Benefit Marketers
Influencer Marketing although not a new tactic in B2B marketing yet it needs to be explored further to maximize results. People trust brands and influencers on social media more than they trust recommendations from friends.
A study states that 46% of users rely on recommendations made on Twitter compared to 56% that rely on recommendations by friends. Since social media sites have become popular B2B marketing mediums, more and more companies are realizing the significance of having micro-influencers aid their marketing for better results. But as competition grows in this field so will the investment into premium influencer marketing
8.Internet Of Things Is The Innovation To Watch Out For
Internet of things is becoming one of the most engaging topics of conversation in any setup.
“Products like industrial sensors, connected manufacturing machines, in-store analysis devices and workspace management applications are already on the market. These B2B IoT devices will fundamentally transform the way organizations do business with other companies. Sparklabs predicts an exponential increase in this space from 2.5 billion connections in 2017 to 5.4 billion devices in 2020”
“This year, 60 percent of global manufacturers will use analytics data recorded from connected devices to analyze processes and identify optimization possibilities, according to IDC and SAP”
With technological innovations such as self driven cars, internet TV, medical imaging solutions, refrigerators with smart inverters that can be monitored over the internet, it seems like every gadget is tied to the internet and can be accessed from anywhere at any time. This also means that these gadgets are gathering immense volumes of data of the people that use them. Marketers can leverage this data to tailor their marketing strategies according to the specific requirement of their target audience
9.The Social Media Marketing Advantage
Social Media is presently the most interactive platform for effective marketing.
“Social Media ad spend has almost doubled worldwide over the past two years – rising from $16bn in 2014 to $31bn in 2016.”
“Instagram is on track to generate $1.53 billion in mobile ad revenue worldwide in 2016.”
With so much investment going into social media and the added perks of directly reaching target audience on social media sites, the marketing potential associated with social media marketing has amplified many folds
10.Content Marketing Needs To Be Focused On
Whether it is in the form of blogs, emails, and videos or as website, Content is definitely a resource that needs to be utilized to its maximum potential. There is a requirement for dynamic content in all forms of marketing ranging from social media marketing to paid media advertising. Personalized content scores best in addressing the pain points of prospective customers and offering solutions. Although, content has been used for ages now for marketing yet it can be tapped into further not only to improve marketing tactics but also to develop a successful sales pipeline.
All these statistics and facts indicate only one thing- Marketers need to focus on all the above mentioned aspects of Marketing to generate more leads, drive successful marketing campaigns & most importantly win ROI!