As we make a tentative foray into 2019, B2B marketers are being exposed to trending cutting-edge strategies that may forever change the way businesses interact among themselves and with customers.
To understand the trends that are shaping the B2B space, consider the following critical developments.
- An Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategy will focus on a targeted audience within a niche and deliver personalized campaigns unique to each customer.
- Businesses will move to automated marketing platforms that implement mobile marketing strategies through emails, websites, and social media.
- Companies will move in tandem with consumer expectations that prioritize speed, accessibility, convenience, and a customer-friendly approach.
- AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants will corner 80 percent of user interaction where accurate and straightforward answers are provided to voice queries.
- 2019 becomes the year of the podcast with an overwhelming 80 percent of listeners tuning into at least seven shows on a weekly basis.
- More than 41 percent of B2B marketers agree that content marketing will be the core lead converter and revenue earner in 2019.
- Nearly 41 percent of Google searches are focused on the user’s local ecosystem, and proximity marketing will become popular.
- More than 60 percent of B2B marketers agree that email marketing will be the primary revenue generator.
According to B2B SEO specialists at Miromind trending developments are transforming three critical spheres – content marketing, video marketing, and big data management.
Content Marketing: Driving Leads, Converting Traffic, and Boosting Sales
This is the fastest growing trend conquering the digital universe with over 80 percent of B2B marketers swearing by content marketing strategies to boost their brand, drive leads, and convert customers. B2Bs realize that they need to correctly format their content marketing strategy to remain one step ahead of the competition. The rationale is simple – companies need to improve their visibility.
Here are the top trending developments in content marketing that will energize B2Bs in 2019 and beyond.
1. Content Marketing Strategies Are Being Customized to Suit Individual Businesses
Merely blogging about a product won’t do. Many trending strategies can’t be ignored.
- Email marketinghas assumed critical mass and is a strategy that needs to be exploited to the hilt.
- Podcasts get people talking about the product and what the company has to offer the consumer.
- Videos are in higher demand and elicit more responses than textual content.
- Webinars are a credible way of spreading knowledge among consumers, besides helping consumers decide options and make valid choices.
- White papers are the rage as they inform, entertain, and educate the consumer and project the company as a reliable source of credible information.
- Social media– no B2B campaign triggers consumer responsiveness as much as the company’s social media outreach.
- Inbound events are an excellent way to connect with people immersed in the content marketing ecosystem.
The idea is to weave a content marketing fabric using strands from differing strategies so you can target the audience which is most responsive to your product. Companies will rely on true blooded professionals having the experience to carry forward individual strategy.
2. Companies Are Focusing More on Consumer Voice Searches
Voice happens to be the fastest growing trend in searches, and more teenagers (more than 55 percent) are using voice commands, substantially higher than adults. The trend is fuelled by virtual assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google’s Now, and Amazon’s Alexa. Companies are focusing on minimizing the error rate in voice search results to improve the user experience.
Voice searches are very different from typed searches and companies need to customize content to reflect more of long-tailed keywords and phrases along with all the question markers such as the when, where, why, who, and what of things.
3. Companies Are Forging a Personal Connect With Consumers, Improving Transparency, and Building Trust
Today’s consumers want to deal with real people, not faceless corporations. They believe that the company that is more transparent in its dealings carries more conviction and credibility. Companies that don’t fight shy of interacting directly with consumers and addressing public grievances are the ones building maximum consumer trust. There are four simple ways to boost your brand image and bolster credibility.
Personalize your services– study your customers, understand consumer behavior, and tailor your products and services to respond to individual consumer preferences.
Add value to your services– Use “Behind the scenes” content to grab audience attention. Humanize your company. Allow visitors to peep within and interact with your team. Show everybody that you err because you’re human but that you are fun to be with and you love your team.
When you tailor content to achieve this strategy, you are positioning yourself as a value provider, and this kind of value-driven content builds trust, inspires loyalty, and forges deeper connections with prospects.
Increase your video visibility– Video has tremendous potential for bringing in new customers and opening sales wallets. Even a fence sitter, undecided about product options, will be impressed if a company director or a responsible senior official comes online explaining how a product adds value to the consumer. The consumer finds it easier to relate to a face and the spoken word than to reams of unintelligible text. A simple video forges an instant connect.
Become a MICE hunter– MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) create ideal platforms to showcase how approachable you are. Face to face with competitors, consumers, and contractors, you get to project all that is unique and wonderful about the company and how consumers benefit. These in-person events will do more for you than any online campaign might dream of achieving. The word of mouth publicity about your service could spark the next viral trend.
Video Marketing: Live Video Streaming Is Providing Maximum Information in the Shortest Time
Live streaming has grown in prominence ever since consumers took to social media like ducks to water. The decision maker in a company would love a video as he gets all the information he may need without wasting his time pouring through online web pages. Cisco’s Visual Networking Index predicts that nearly 80 percent of online web traffic will be cornered by video marketing. So you need to wise up to what’s trending in the video marketing ecosystem.
1. Professional Live Streaming of Videos
Ever since Facebook and Zoom mainstreamed video services, businesses have been quick to catch on to live streaming’s marketing potential. What’s more, even audiences love videos. More than 80 percent of consumers said they preferred watching moving visuals than reading plain text.
Video has many advantages; you can use it for in-house training and education and project “Behind the scenes” content that validates the product’s effectiveness and adds an authentic touch to your brand imaging. In short, a video can convey more about a product than a blog article and help in improving the aesthetics of blogging.
2. Virtual Reality and 360 Video: Landscaping an Immersive Consumer Experience
Virtual reality is a trending arena, and 360-video is helping brands add depth and clarity to presentations, and it’s helping companies improve viewership, click-throughs, information sharing, and subscriptions. Because 360 video promotes viewer interaction, you need to plan the video with professional assistance and advanced digital tools.
3. Positioning Video at the Consumer Entry Point in the Sales Funnel
Live streaming is grabbing eyeballs and getting consumers interested in the product. YouTube video watching amounts to a staggering one billion hours daily. Naturally, a video creates maximum impact at the top end of the sales funnel. Introducing videos in email marketing campaigns, blogs, and landing pages has been shown to increase click-throughs and conversions by 300 percent.
It’s not enough to create an amazing video; you need the best analytics tools to tell you what is working and what is failing so you can customize a fool-proof marketing strategy.
4. Projection Mapping Is Turning 3D Surfaces Into Interactive Displays
This is the trending development in digital marketing where a 2 D image is streamed on to an inanimate object like a wall. You can use it to liven up industrial complexes, office buildings, and interior spaces, adding a touch of glamor and drama that hooks customer interest.
You need specialized hardware and a bigger budget to pull this one off, but it’s highly effective when you do in-house presentations and outdoor product launches.
The Bid Daddy of Them All: Big Data Management
Today’s consumers expect companies to know who they are and what they require, and if you haven’t customized your product to match specific consumer needs, you’ll be ruing the loss of a massive chunk of organic traffic. As your business grows, so will your database, and a burgeoning database is a goldmine of information that needs to be managed and leveraged carefully to improve the user experience. Let’s take a closer look at what’s trending in big data management.
1. Delivering a Personalized Experience Targeting Specific Customers
Ask any marketer worthy of the tag to pinpoint the single biggest challenge and opportunity that he’s likely to handle, and one in three will say its personalization. The challenge lies in knowing the customer and the customer’s needs. The opportunity lies in using interactive customer data to improve the quality of user experience.
The foremost priority is improving and maintaining the purity and quality of the data, and for that, you need professional data management platforms or DMPs that sanitize and validate customer data on an ongoing basis.
Salesforce DMP is one such tool that doubles up as a CRM software and is very popular with small businesses. Marketers love the DMP’s ability to consolidate and integrate data sourced from multiple touch points and present the same data in an actionable form. Inbuilt Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning protocols chart in-depth customer profiles that help the company engage customers more effectively.
2. Using Proximity Beacons to Target Customers Wanting Information
Mobile tracking enables a company to channel messages to a customer depending on where they happened to be located and what they’re most likely to want. This kind of smart marketing depends a great deal on the efficient handling of big data and is called proximity marketing. In this way, a customer who is in a retail environment can be targeted with promotional messages that are most likely to induce a positive buying response.
Such Location Based Services (LBS) are predicted to grow to $7.6 billion by the year 2020 at a compounded yearly growth of 30 percent.
3. Developing an Analytical Profile of the Customer
The targeting of promotional messages needs to be accurate and pertinent to the audience that is being focused on. For example, it would be dangerous and unethical for adult-oriented messages to be forwarded to underage youngsters. Similarly, it would be pointless to sell car insurance to a teen who can’t drive a car.
Creating an accurate customer profile can be challenging, so we need a single customer view that can be collated from data that is streaming in from paid and social media. The year 2019 will see data being gathered and analyzed in real-time using the confluence of onsite sensors, cloud technology and the Internet of Things, powered by AI.
4. Having a Protocol in Place to Protect Customer Data Misuse
The enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union (EU) represents a trending movement that codifies how big data should be handled to protect the customer’s interests and privacy. Customer data is an incredibly sensitive tool that if left unprotected and if lost to theft and fraud can impact companies through loss of public trust and business. This means that companies will be judged how effectively they collect, use, deploy, and safeguard customer data.
All the major trending developments in B2B marketing that we’ve discussed have one feature in common – every strategy aims to improve the customer’s experience of the product. As we mark the paradigm shift away from stationary desktop devices to mobile handheld devices, every promotional message is becoming mobile friendly.
Promotions are becoming smarter as we analyze continually changing data in real-time. These are the trending marketing developments that businesses need to internalize to achieve cutting-edge superiority in 2019 and beyond.