Today’s marketing leaders are operating in a complex environment. Trust me I know it. They are facing bear market budgets, having to adapt to the impact of the pandemic, which has created both altered workforce dynamics and customer behaviours, and new channels and privacy regulations have to be taken into account. This is all compounded by headwinds of a global macro economic recession driven by turbulent geopolitics, stretched supply chains, increased commodity rates, rampant inflation, and a whole lot more. In order to succeed, marketers will need to pivot and shift strategies to continuing operating business as usual. The tech sector will continue to be dominated by efficient growth for years to come — marketers need to ensure the marketing mix is optimal now, to maximise business growth amid economic uncertainty.
Below are some of the most important trends and predictions that B2B marketers need to be aware of, from artificial intelligence to video marketing. All of which help marketing leaders and their businesses stay relevant, profitable, and ahead of the competition. Ultimately, focus on what is generating pipeline and leading to conversion. Don’t overly waste your budget on branding campaigns, remember B2B is not B2C. So amplify brand through demand!
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Do you know the top 7 B2B marketing trends?
Here are the top seven B2B marketing trends:
Artificial intelligence will mature and become a critical component of marketing strategies
Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology has proven to solve an array of problems, and have been used to build products across industries. While AI was seen as an incredibly complicated technology for enhancing technology projects, such as enormous digital transformation initiatives or technology implementations, in the past — AI now is embedded in a wide range of marketing technology and should be a part of how organisations balance engagement, scalability, automation, and human interaction.
As the technology becomes more available and accessible, AI can help with everything from content creation to target audience research and lead generation. However, don’t assume AI is a replacement for creativity – computer-generated content will not connect entirely to your audience. Even with AI image generators, such as DALL-E, used commercially and at scale, AI will only get you 60% of the way to the finish line.
Video marketing is a channel with a lot more to give
Popularity in video marketing has surged for a few years now, with YouTube & Vimeo becoming a few of the major search engines for brands to tap into. Despite the thirst for more visual video content, video marketing is a channel that’s still relatively untapped and unused.
While video is arguably the most powerful B2B marketing tool for marketers, its popularity will only continue to surge in the future. Video is an incredibly effective way to communicate with your target audience and build trust and credibility with potential and current customers.
Video marketing is beneficial as the attention span of your audience decreases. It’s a great channel to capture user attention and tell powerful brand stories. According to Cisco’s Annual Internet Report, video will account for 82% of all online traffic this year. Additionally, 84% of users say in the report that they are more likely to invest in a product or service after watching a video. Video marketers, take note, as video marketing for B2B differs greatly from video marketing for B2C. Product placement still plays a pivotal role over ‘emotive’ B2B engagement.
Personalisation will drive engagement
In the years ahead, audiences expect marketers to have a grasp on who they are, and what they like – but simply knowing is not enough. Moving forward, organisations need to operate in an omnichannel to ensure all touch points and communications are captured — from chatbots to social media and email.
Customers will expect marketers to use available information for tailored marketing messaging, and will only want to see relevant and personalised content. B2B marketers who can personalise their content and message based on consumer data will be in a great position to succeed in the coming years.
“Attract, acquire and retain”: why content marketing remains crucial
Content is king in the world of B2B marketing, especially if content teams want to attract and retain customers.. B2B content marketers will need to generate high-quality and engaging content, and deliver content through optimised digital channels.
That means creating blog posts, podcasts, infographics, eBooks, and more that provide value to your target audience. Interactive and audio content has also become a driver for more engagement, so don’t think ‘content’ implies only written. However, nothing beats the voice of the customer and advocacy beats all forms of self-generated content. Where possible, let your customer tell your story for you.
Get account-based marketing right
Account-based marketing (ABM) is a popular strategy that has emerged in recent years. The marketing strategy focuses on targeting specific accounts as opposed to individual leads. For most businesses, executing ABM strategies leave a lot to be desired. If done correctly, ABM is effective and helps marketers generate sales engagement with key accounts.
What’s often lacking is the depth and quality of such initiatives. ABM is a time-intensive activity that can include social listening, lead intelligence, personalisation, sales alignment, and more. Most marketing teams do one or more of the above, but very few do every single element.
Not every marketing organisation is mature enough for ABM. If your team is evolving or on a team that’s scaling up, then this strategy is not for you. Instead, focus on cluster marketing, and forget hyper targeting content to your audience.
Focus on third-party validation and social media marketing to build greater buyer trust
Third-party validation and social media marketing are necessary components for building brand awareness and trust, and can get marketers in front of the target audience. Here are two key channels to take note of:
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn’s B2B targeting capabilities set it apart from other social media channels. With advanced filters around job titles, company size, industry, geography and more, it’s easy to see why it is seen as the perfect B2B marketing channel.
- Third-party reviews websites: Reviews play a vital role in the success of any B2B marketing strategy. Gartner insights state software buyers use online reviews to research a business before making a purchase decision. Companies are also investing heavily in review sites such as G2 and Capterra.
Data-driven marketing is key
Data is becoming an increasingly critical tool for marketers because data can help teams understand target audience, track your marketing metrics, and budget allocations. B2B marketers who leverage data effectively and efficiently will have what they need to succeed.
Traditional approaches to measuring softer metrics must be pushed out the door, and newer techniques need implementing to get a better, data-centric view of what works and what doesn’t. Third-party cookies, customer retention, and marketing attribution models are examples.
While B2B marketers don’t need to be forensic accountants, marketers need to understand what is working and what isn’t.Once marketers understand this, teams need to double down on the strategies leads to conversion and pipe.
Understand how to be a more effective B2B marketer
There are a plethora of B2B marketing trends to watch out for in the years ahead. If marketers want to be successful in B2B marketing, teams need to incorporate trends into their marketing strategy to stay ahead of the competition and attract and retain more customers.
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