Marketing trends are just that, trends, and sometimes it can be difficult to know which ones are worth investing your time and energy into. From providing your customers with a better value, to social media, to automation here are the B2B marketing trends that your business should be following in 2017.
Customer Focused is Now Customer Value
This is more than just a “the customer is always right”’ mentality. What does your customer value most? And how can you provide the most value to your customer? Give your customers a better experience by aligning your marketing and sales teams. Consider shared goals across marketing and sales and make sure that the primary focus is on the customer.
We all know that our customers appreciate it when we value their time. One way to work more quickly for your customer is through agile marketing. Give your customers what they want, when they want it. According to Velocidi, “embracing agile marketing means letting go of traditional barriers between departments and adopting a far more collaborative approach, both within the organization and with clients. Although adjusting corporate culture to accommodate an agile model can be challenging, its benefits extend far beyond sales.”
Social media has changed the face of the B2B environment with the focus becoming more and more on the individual as the face of a business. 2017 is the time to implement executive branding in your business. Your clients want to know more about the person they are working with and build trust with that individual.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation Aren’t the Future They Are the Now
The insights, analytics, and machine learning technology available today are helping businesses make faster decisions and better decisions. Last year Forrester Research predicted that “AL will provide business users with access to powerful insights before they are available to them.”
And what about those technologies that learn our behaviors? Many companies are already utilizing machine learning technology, and are seeing results through faster business decisions.
The combination of AL and automation will allow businesses to take the insights that they gain and act on them quickly. These insights and technologies will assist businesses in their goals of marketing, generating leads, product management, cross-channel campaigns, and gaining customer insights, among other objectives.
This is all about working smarter and not harder. If marketing is more than half of your businesses sales, then automation will align you with top performing companies.
Show Me the Marketing
B2C marketers know that visual content is key to getting their customers to make purchases, but B2B marketers are learning that their visual content is just as important. At the top of visual content forms is video, infographics, and images.
Some of that visual content can be created through Influence Marketing. Look for not only mainstream influences but those micro-influencers as well. Micro-influencers might have fewer followers than mainstream influencers but they are also much more niche focused. Partner with influencers who are already influencing your market and work with them on social platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Warren Whitlock said that “[influencers] will welcome your help to serve their audience better and reward you with reputation and trusted leads.”
Influencer marketing engagement often happens through Native Advertising. But Native Advertising can be used in any online publication. It blurs the line between advertising and native content and provides a benefit to the reader. Native Advertising is less intrusive than traditional banner and interstitial advertising and is on an upward growth curve.
ROI for social media marketing is growing rapidly for B2B marketers. Vende Digital CEO Paul Slack says, “Social media is your marketing and sales team’s’ best friend when it comes to opportunities to grab face time with tough-to-access people and to keep the referral pipeline well oiled. Those who are best at leveraging the tools and navigating the online culture have learned to optimize relationships within their communities to reach clients they never would have landed without their participation.”
The rise of social media marketing goes hand in hand with responsive website design. It was back in 2014 when mobile devices became the primary method for viewing and downloading web content, but responsive design websites are still catching up. Implementing responsive design on websites allows those websites to be more easily viewed on smartphones and other mobile devices. And, not implementing responsive design on your websites could be causing your website to be penalized.
Get ready for more experiential marketing, one where customers and potential customers can truly experience your brand through all their senses. This trend has already taken off for B2C marketers in person and in virtual settings. Test experiential marketing ideas with your own employees for training and energizing.
Not sure where or how to start these top marketing trends for 2017? Get started right away by downloading our Google AdWords Optimization Whitepaper. Call us and we can help with all your pay-per-click advertising questions.