“You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything.” – Beth Comstock
Usage rates of mobile phones for consuming content and purchasing have crossed the chasm, AI has started to empower marketers, and programmatic advertising made marketing a more quantitative study than ever – these are just a few trends to summarize 2017. But, there is so much more to look forward to in 2018!
B2B marketing is going through a metamorphosis and hence, we have decided to list the 20% of b2b marketing trends that will matter to 80% of your business. Being an account-based marketing firm, we believe in the philosophy of good B2B marketing.
Here are 6 trends you should watch out for to gain most of the traction.
Six B2B marketing trends for 2018
Smart Insights, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Consumer reports, and many other thought leader publications collectively agree that the following trends would consume most of a marketer’s attention and time.
Trend # 1: Content Marketing
“Good content isn’t about good storytelling. It’s about telling a true story well.” – Ann Handley
This was a runner-up last year and has hit the top position for 2018. Marketers surveyed across the globe want to focus on content marketing. Though this is a long-term strategy, it has added to conversions and contributed to better ROI.
Integrated marketing, long tail keyword strategy, niche communities, social and email marketing, AB split Testing, and personalized content, are some of the strategies and processes marketers would be relying on. According to popular trend reports, more than 30% of marketers are making content marketing their top priority.
Trend # 2: Big data
Eric Schmidt, CEO – Google believes that “Big data is so powerful that nation-states will fight over it”.
IDC Estimates that by 2020, business transactions on the internet- business-to-business and business-to-consumer – will reach 450 billion per day. This means there will be more data to crunch. Also, more than 5 billion people are calling, texting, tweeting, and browsing on mobile phones worldwide.
With so much data crunching out there, B2B marketers are looking for better big data and analytics tools, seeking security and privacy solutions, real-time analytics, path analysis in analytics, and conversion optimization are some of the big data-oriented activities that will take away a marketer’s time.
Trend #3: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
“Big Data will spell the death of customer segmentation and force the marketer to understand each customer as an individual within 18 months or risk being left in the dust.”
– Ginni Rometty, President and CEO, IBM
Artificial intelligence and machine learning have permeated many other fields too. Their importance is unavoidable. Dharmesh Shah, co-founder of Hubspot has quoted that “AI will accelerate marketing and sales.”
Chatbots, growth bots, engagement graphs, automated product recommendations, and reviewers will share the hot seat in this segment. Another area where this will surge is every opportunity to avoid mechanization, repetition, and redundancy.
Trend #4: Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
“Account-based Marketing – Two-thirds of B2B agency marketers say their firm is using account-based marketing (ABM) approach,” according to recent research from Demandbase.
This is picking up even among startups and small businesses. Unlike inbound marketing that propagates nurturing of leads across your audience universe, ABM recommends optimizing 20% of your high revenue-generating customers to build 80% of your business. This works best for B2B marketing.
Account-based marketing uses offline, highly targeted display (programmatic, but not really), social media, websites, email marketing, direct mail, telephone, and face-to-face. Pretty much any channel can be adapted within an ABM approach.
Marketing automation provides a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overheads. – Nuclear Research
Marketing automation does not stay in a silo. It is applicable to all trends, processes, and activities pertaining to marketing. With better insights and a higher need for standardization, automation has become imperative in this context and for this year.
Automated emails with dynamic content, targeted ads using a bidding and targeted CPA, analytics, content publishing, and machine learning are some areas where automation will evidently carve its utility.
Trend # 6: Linkedin
This is not a trend!
With all the important trends that we have shared, we must talk about something that is not a trend. That is Linkedin. For B2B marketers this will be on top of their list.
Linkedin has changed so much in the last couple of years that it is become a science in itself, demanding specialized skill sets to network and make the most use of this professional social networking platform.
Linkedin is refining its algorithm, incorporating video into its top priority, blasting a publishing platform, and introducing newer products for marketers and recruiters.
With the acquisition by Microsoft, it is expanding itself for a marketer’s use. Linkedin cannot be ignored by B2B marketers and is an important tool in their kit.