To ensure your B2B marketing doesn’t go out of fashion we’ve taken some time to reflect on marketing trends we think we will all see more of throughout 2019 and the foreseeable future.
Number one on our list is Account-Based Marketing (ABM), the latest buzzword and “must-have” for B2B organisations that have long, complex sales cycles involving multiple stakeholders. ABM has actually been around for a while but now it has been firmly established as a proven success technique that drives improvement in the “Three R’s” of strategic marketing: Reputation, Relationships and Revenue. Simply put it is getting to grips with your key accounts and expanding on them. For instance, you could be working with a few key decision makers in a company, but why not leverage that relationship and gain an in-depth knowledge of the wider company to target – treating that account as one market? Your sales team are probably doing this on a personal level already – but think of ways they can harness your marketing to support this – whether this is running events, creating content relevant to that account or driving digital engagement.
Content marketing has been at the forefront of marketing for years now, but its presence is constantly growing and becoming more sophisticated. For example, content is moving beyond just the written form, with many companies livestreaming events, producing podcasts, optimising content for mobile and utilising infographics, it’s clear that multi-channel integration is becoming more important than ever.
However, for those at the start of their content marketing journey – producing some of this content may be more of an aspiration. Written content such as blogs and eBooks are still important, so are an essential component of many content marketing strategies – according to HubSpot, companies that blog have 55% more visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages! Don’t forget about case studies – 71% of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content.
Don’t feel the need to dive head first into video content or podcasts. Maybe dip your toes and share a few industry experts’ podcasts that are of interest to you and your opinion on it. This demonstrates that you’re paying attention to what’s happening in your sector and have an opinion on current topics.
2018 was a year of headlines about data breaches, major companies misusing personal information and the never-ending opt-in emails as a result of the implementation of GDPR! 2019 welcomes a less nervous office as people get confident following the new legislation. Marketers are getting more comfortable with the boundaries of what GDPR allows – for example, whether legitimate interest grounds can be appropriate for their marketing needs. It will also be a year of ensuring the personal data of clients is protected, improving privacy policies and security handling of websites and an overall more proactive approach to ensuring compliance. Our blog on Small Businesses and Data Breach Protection gives a few simple steps small businesses can take to help comply with GDPR.
No marketing trends for the future would be complete without Artificial Intelligence! Although businesses are often unsure of the plausibility of using AI within current operations, its worth being aware that AI can be used for several everyday tasks such as sifting through data, identifying trends and providing additional client/buyer insights. A Marketing Automation platform can incorporate AI to pinpoint what time to email people based on when they have previously opened their emails. This takes your email marketing to the next level and assists you in effectively engaging with your target audience. AI doesn’t replace the human factor, instead they must work hand in hand to succeed, as customers want to know they are still dealing with human beings. This is especially the case within the longer, more complex buyer journeys involved in the B2B world.
We’ve all heard about smart data and how it can help improve analysis, but it’s only recently that companies are becoming more aware of ‘connected data’. Integrating technologies such as your CRM system, Marketing Automation and different departments to share data across these platforms and your company. The volume of data which businesses are handling every day is growing exponentially, over the last two years alone 90% of the data in the world was generated! We often find that departments within larger businesses treat data in silo, inaccessible to everyone who doesn’t work in that particular department or team. Connected data allows marketers to have a complete view of all customers across the business so all marketing activity can be tailored specifically for them!
It may sound daunting if you haven’t got a culture within your business which encourages and incentivises data sharing – even getting some salespeople to use a CRM at all can be a challenge! Think about the small changes you could make to better facilitate this – for example, how accurate is your existing data and does this need cleaning first? Garbage in, garbage out as they say!