6 Essential B2B marketing trends for 2017 – 2018

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Since we are now well into the year 2017, it’s the natural time for all digital marketers to review all the digital marketing trends they have used this year and evaluate their methods against other corporations’ in the same sector.

For marketers and salespersons’ involved in the Business to Business (B2B) sector, there are a number of pressing issues which, if attended to, will help “feed the sales funnel” and result in more quality leads.

An ideal starting point of reviewing all the trends capable of making an impact come next year is to think through innovations across all the major digital marketing channels.

The modern-day marketer needs to be extremely flexible. Nonetheless, despite the fact that change broods creativity, the goals and objectives’ of digital marketing ought to remain constant.

An entrepreneur employs a digital marketer to deliver the right message at numerous stages of the sales funnel. I.e., drive traffic, improve customer engagement, raise the brand’s awareness, and last but by no means the least, implement tactics that can result in conversions and sales.

In a survey regarding “Marketing trends for 2017”, marketers were asked to evaluate the techniques and tactics that would award them the maximum uplift on their businesses’ in the year 2017-18.

The results exhibited that the top-rated techniques’  which ought to be the main focus come next year are all closely aligned to B2B sector, which has’ for the last couple of years’ realized the significance of new technologies’ such as marketing automation, real-time personalization, and mobile marketing.

In this article, I’ll guide you through the top-rated and crucial B2B marketing trends that you should be using this year.

​1. Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation happens to be the best technology for B2B marketing. Marketing automation is the class of technology that permits companies to automate, streamline, and measure their marketing workflows and tasks, so they can increase operational effectiveness and multiply their revenue faster.

​New trends in marketing will help marketers streamline their segmentation, lead generations, customer lifecycle marketing, cross-sell and up-sell, lead nurturing and lead scoring, customer retention, sales follow ups and Marketing Return on Investment (ROI) measurements.

A number of these practices’ are possible at small volumes’ without software, but then again technology becomes crucial with the increasing sum of channels’ marketers’ are required to manage.

In general, all these procedures require;

​- A central marketing database;

A central marketing database;

This is where you place all your marketing information, including customer interactions, detailed prospects, and customer behaviors’, so you can frame and send the ideal message to every customer.

Think of a central marketing database as the “system of records” for all your marketing info.

​- An engagement marketing engine;

An engagement marketing engine;

This is an environment for the management, creation, and automation of marketing procedures and conversations across offline and online channels.

You can think of engagement marketing engines as the “Orchestra conductors” for your customer interactions’.

​- An analytic engine;

An analytic engine;

This is a way to measure, test, and optimize the marketing Return on Investment and its impact on the revenue. Think of the analytic engine as the area you go to figure out what worked, what did not, and areas you can improve.

​2. Content Marketing

Content Marketing

Content Marketing is an approach that has been utilized in B2B marketing for lots’ of years, though in the last several years, the fame of inbound marketing has resulted in more attention to social media and share blogs.

Over the past 3 or 4 years’, readers have voted content marketing as the most essential form of marketing available today. Within inbound and content marketing, I think the main ongoing discussion will revolve somewhere around maintaining the right sense of balance between content quality, content frequency, content quantity, and of course, measuring the Return On Investment of content marketing.

A certain research from Buzzsumo provided an interesting summary clarifying that the future of content marketing is dependent on less content and shorter content.

I totally agree with the less content part, but I opt to disagree with the shorter content part since research exhibits that lengthier content can be more efficient in Business to Business blog posts.

Content marketing is a fantastic approach for Business to Business marketers since the long client journey implies that customers’ desire doing lots’ of research before making a purchase so they can compare several distinct providers.

​3. Web personalization

Web personalization

Website personalization is a well-known tactic for E-commerce sites but, conventionally speaking, this technique has been used less and less by business to business marketers’. This is shocking since personalization of e-mails using tactics such as lively content insertion as defined above is widely held.

There are SaaS software and products’ such as Evergage and BrightInfo which are used to make web personalization services cheaper for small companies.

These might also include automated features’ to suggest the most appropriate piece of content along the nurture path.

​4. Channel Integration

Channel Integration

Channel integration alludes to the strategies meant to consolidate (either mentally or physically) client’s info and its usage to offer a broad view of the client.

With so many distinct digital marketing channels’, entrepreneurs’ have a tendency of focusing on individual channels’, even though an integrated nurturing procedure can reap amazing dividends.

Channel integration is more similar to client relationship management, and despite the fact that integrating your channels’ generally sounds’ like an impressive idea, you might struggle to define precisely why and how it should work for you.

It is pretty easy to think that channel integration is all about bringing together all the platforms you sell your products and services on, i.e., re-sellers, land-based retails, catalog, websites, social media platforms, etc.

Well, now let’s review channel integration from your client’s point of view. Whether a business’ or end user, most clients’ are driven by the need to learn more about your business, give it a try, buy a product or service, and lastly share the information.

And you also ought to understand that clients want to do all these things at anyplace and anytime they think it’s appropriate for them. Some clients will even jump from one sales’ channel to another on a steady basis.

This steady “channel hopping” is common; particularly for clients who bought from catalogs prior to the internet.

Your business might have a hard time meeting your clients’ needs and expectations’ if you only look at the integrating sales and offer activity. You might also miss’ the mark in case you assign values’ to your channels’ only based on the profit and revenue directly tied to each one.

5. Account Based Marketing

Account based marketing (also alluded to as ABM) is a well-known approach in business to business marketing, especially within prominent organizations with structures’ and processes’ to target significant accounts.

ITSMA (which 1st pioneered Account based marketing more than ten years ago) defines it as;

“more than a marketing or sales approach; it is a combined strategy used to engage sales’, subject matter experts’, marketing, delivery professionals’, as well as key executives’ in the chosen customer account so as to determine how to meet the customer's unique business best’ challenges’.

With some deep insight into the customer’s business’ and key goals, this combined team comes up with a well-planned marketing and sales’ campaign for a particular account.”

Previously, account based marketing was a mindset and tactic poorly supported by most Marketing Automation Services’ whose focus was on individual customer records’.

The trend here is for automation services’ to include account based marketing features’ since this will make it more stress-free to nurture groups’ of individuals automatically through re-targeting and emails.

​6. Mobile Marketing

Mobile Marketing

It goes without mentioning that the net shift to mobile phones is a significant trend for business to business marketers’, as it’s been for quite a few years now.

Some mobile marketing tactics are similar to advertisements delivered over distinct electronic channels such as graphics, text, and voice messages’.

Short Message Service (SMS) is at present the widest spread delivery channel for mobile marketers. Search engine marketing is the 2nd widespread channel followed by display based campaigns’.

These expanding capabilities’ of mobile phones also brought about new forms of interactive marketing. New-fangled mobile marketing channels’ include;

  • Location-based services (LBS).

This involves the detection of the area (geo-location) the potential client is connecting from and sending short marketing texts for businesses’ in that particular area.

  • Augmented reality.

These are mobile campaigns’ which overlay the user’s mobile phone display with area-specific information regarding products and businesses.

  • 2D barcodes.

2D barcodes’ are barcodes capable of scanning both horizontally and vertically so as to consist of much more information. A mobile phone user can scan barcodes in the area to access the associated information.

  • GPS messaging.

GPS messaging involves area specific short messages’ that the mobile user picks up every time he comes’ into range.

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