Everyone involved in B2B marketing will be quick to tell you that 2016 was a busy year. With new activities, technology, and methodologies coming to the forefront, it was another great year for the industry. But now that 2017 is upon us, what’s in store? What can you and your team expect to see playing an increasingly larger role in your activity over the coming 12 months? Well, let’s see. We’ve reviewed the biggest talking points and developments from 2016 and made a few predictions for which of these will continue into 2017.
Customer experience (CX)
Our B2C cousins have been aware of this methodology for quite some time, but it’s beginning to infiltrate the B2B realm too - and will continue to do so in 2017. Consumers and B2B buyers alike now expect to be able to contact an organisation whenever, and using whichever channel they choose. This omni-channel approach enables clients to communicate with a brand as opposed to siloed individuals. And, the B2C industry has already discovered that superior CX is a key differentiator in a busy marketplace. In addition to this, consumers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, so it’s definitely time for B2B to make this a priority in 2017.
Account based marketing (ABM)
Account based marketing has continued to grow in popularity over the past few months, and this shows no signs of slowing as we enter the new year. Targeting a list of ‘dream prospects’, organisations can highly personalise their communications to a variety of individuals within the same business in order to create a deep and meaningful relationship prior to a sale. The internet is awash with hints, tips and guides on this activity, so if you haven’t already done so, now is the time to see if ABM is right for your business.
This is by no means a new marketing activity, however it’s one that’s due to explode in popularity during 2017. A recent study by Cisco confirmed that by 2020, video will account for 75% of web traffic[i], so marketers really need to be investing in this communication channel soon. Thankfully, as popularity rises, and so too does the number of suppliers, the costs are becoming more and more competitive. The one caveat worth mentioning though is that in order to see ‘real’ results from this activity, the metrics need to go beyond simple views and clicks. So, keep your eyes peeled for more video solutions which include data capturing features and marketing automation integration.
With the human attention span now dropping to just 8.25 seconds (yes, that’s shorter than a goldfish)[ii], it’s safe to say that passive forms of marketing are unlikely to generate the results they once could. This doesn’t mean that content such as ebooks and tip sheets are a thing of the past, but it does mean they need to be more engaging. So, during 2017, keep your eyes open for a lift in the number of interactive content suppliers. These companies will look to add features such as quizzes, calculators, polls, and a variety of other activities into traditionally static content pieces. Again, as the number of suppliers increases, the more the costs are likely to become ‘affordable’ to the average marketer.
These activities are just a few of the developments the B2B marketing industry is likely to see in 2017, so be prepared to adapt, change, and adjust to the latest advances as they occur. And remember, in order to implement the newest tools, equipment, and technologies quickly and efficiently, consider seeking the advice of industry experts and specialists.
To talk to us about your goals and objectives for 2017, and to learn how we can support you through the ever-changing industry landscape…