The top B2B marketing trends for 2017 reflect much of what B2C marketers are experiencing: B2B buyers deserve the same individual, humanized attention consumers desire from retailer or CPG brand.
But with a lack of time and resources to give all industry buyers this attention, getting smart about who you focus on will be more important than ever. Here’s three of the top B2B marketing trends you need to watch this year:
True ABM adoption will skyrocket.
Account-based marketing (ABM) was touted as an effective marketing approach for B2B companies throughout 2016, so everyone must already be doing it, right?
Not quite, but the momentum is there. According to the 2016 State of Account Based Marketing Study from SiriusDecisions, 42% of survey respondents said they had been using ABM for less than six months.
ABM is the practice of growing business by tailoring your marketing and sales efforts to specific accounts that are going to make the biggest impact. This requires marketing and sales team alignment to get more personalized with their marketing efforts and nurture long-term, high-value relationships with their clients or prospect clients. This can be difficult to achieve in practice. Sales teams are traditionally focused on bringing a high quantity of leads to the table, which leaves little room for creating quality engagement.
But once alignment is achieved, ABM can prove to be extremely fruitful. There is just no substitution for knowing your target client inside and out and providing personalized answers to the needs you know they have.
In the B2B space, spreading the world broadly simply isn’t going to move the needle, especially when content is growing at an exponential rate and the war for attention is more challenging than ever
More B2B marketers will turn to consumer marketing for inspiration.
B2B marketers have long had the tendency to market to entire departments, forgetting that their target buyer is no different than a consumer in that he or she is, well, human.
But some B2B companies are bucking the trend. For example, Tetra Pak, the maker of food packaging and cartons, recently took a page out of the consumer marketing book to show off their new packaging. They sent mailers to brand managers with details on how their customers will appreciate the new carton designs. The mailers were not about sharing specs or efficiencies of the new packaging—they offered an experience that put the brand managers in the consumer seat, which in turn demonstrated Tetra Pak’s broad expertise in marketing and product formulation.
As Tetra Pak did with these mailers, I expect more B2B marketers to focus on creating experiences that address specific challenges of their buyers in recognition that they are human and that those experiences can drive better engagement
It’s no small feat to be a successful B2B digital marketer in today’s complex, ever-changing environment. In this article, I offer several proven recommendations related to the domination of search engine results pages (SERPs), testing, attribution and ROI.
Utilize these tips to jump-start your search results in the new year and start 2017 with a bang.
New year, new opportunities
2016 was a year of incredible change. Google changed the SERP game by shifting visibility to paid advertising, while also changing the core organic algorithm to natively include Panda and RankBrain.
Search engine marketing isn’t getting any easier. Top it off with the rapid expansion of marketing technologies, system integrations, and now account-based marketing, and we’ve got an uphill battle.
As you look for opportunities to improve your 2017 results, these five tips offer big wins:
1. Ensure SERP domination.
2. Maximize conversions via testing.
3. Capitalize on attribution insights.
4. Integrate with the sales funnel.
5.Understand total ROI with call tracking.
1. Ensure SERP domination.
Owning the SERP for high-priority search queries (keywords) builds brand recognition, credibility and trust with your target audience. Aligning paid and organic search provides insights into customer behavior you wouldn’t have in a siloed approach. Develop a cross-channel strategy that educates, builds trust and moves prospects through the funnel faster.
Test different messaging in your paid ads for target keywords, and start to understand the visitor intent behind the query. When writing your organic listings, make sure you follow the new rules for how your listings will display in the Google SERP to ensure your message doesn’t get cut off.
Look to your paid search queries for insight into what terms are driving real business results, including phone calls, content engagement and conversions. Identify search terms that are bringing top-of-funnel visitors to your website, and write organic content that aligns with the intent behind the query. To maximize results from organic search, you simply must incorporate the data and insights from a well-managed paid search campaign.
In the screen shot below, QuickBooks is demonstrating SERP domination and integrated messaging across their organic listing, paid ad and product listing ad.
As a senior marketing executive, you likely spend your day juggling an ever-changing list of priorities. When it is time to create your annual budget, you may view the task as an annoyance rather than an opportunity. However, the act of creating your budget gives you the chance to review what you have done, consider what you want to accomplish during the coming months and create a map that can help you achieve your goals. Unless you avoid the most common marketing budget pitfalls, though, you could find that your budgeted funds fail to generate the results that you want. Here is a list of the 10 most common errors that occur when planning a marketing budget.
Not Having A Solid Marketing Plan
Successful marketing requires money, but it also requires a great deal of preparation. Without a solid marketing plan, you are not prepared to make decisions that ensure that you are spending your budgeted funds appropriately, wisely and effectively. A strong plan will include at least the following:
In-depth knowledge of your target market
Your competitive position within your target market
Your strategies and tactics
Your plan to differentiate yourself from competitors
Your KPIs to measure success
Once you have a solid marketing plan, your budget is easier to prepare, becoming something of a supporting document for the execution of your plan.
Not Engaging Business Partners
Marketing teams sometimes forget that they exist for a purpose: to help the company achieve its business goals. Achieving the marketing goals can be meaningless if they are not aligned with the company’s goals. Every marketing budget should be designed to support the company’s business goals. Otherwise, marketers can find themselves scrambling to shift priorities and objectives without having sufficient funds remaining in the budget. This means that marketing executives must communicate with other executives and leaders to gain a thorough understanding of the overall objectives and strategy. Engaging with business partners also gives marketers the opportunity to enlist support for marketing efforts. For example, marketing automation relies heavily on database quality, but marketers typically have little control over collecting, maintaining and scrubbing the data.
Relying Too Much On Historical Budgets
Last year’s budget can be an excellent starting point for creating the marketing budget for next year, but it is only a starting point. Even if all goals were met and the allocation of funds proved accurate, there is no guarantee that the same formula will work next year. Technology is evolving rapidly, your competitors are making changes and your customers are expecting more from you. You have to base your new budget on what you want to accomplish rather than what you accomplished in previous years.
Getting Too Detailed
Marketers sometimes “paint themselves into a corner” by being too specific when preparing a budget. To illustrate, suppose you learn in December that a new software called DuzItAll is scheduled to be released in six months. The product sounds as if it would be perfect for automating all of your marketing efforts, but it carries a substantial price tag. You create a line item in your budget devoted to the purchase of DuzItAll. However, the software is never released because the company folds. You now have to reallocate the funds, which may require obtaining approval from the CEO or CFO. Avoid complications by ensuring that your budget categories are vague enough to give you a little room to maneuver.
When you want to launch a marketing campaign, it can be hard to be patient. The sooner you launch, the sooner you can see those leads start coming in! Right?
Well, yes… And no.
Sure the sooner you launch, the sooner you might see a few leads trickle in, but if you really want to knock your campaign out of the park, here are 10 things you must do before launching your campaign.
1) Get clear on your brand.
Before you begin any marketing campaign, you must be incredibly clear on who you are and why you do what you do. Your brand is the core of your company and if you cannot communicate this clearly internally amongst yourselves, your hopes of running a successful marketing campaign that is consistent with your brand values is slim.
2) Get clear on your customer.
We can’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean knowing what we ideally want isn’t important. In fact, it’s critical. So make sure to know your target customer in detail, from demographic information to behavioral patterns and who their influencers are.
We recommend completing an ICP (ideal customer profile) for this step. There are plenty of ICP templates available online to get you started if you need help.
Warning: After you’ve gone through steps one and two once, you may not feel the need to revisit them for the next marketing campaign…but beware of skipping these. You should check in to make sure that the campaign that you are considering launching is consistent with your brand and your target audience before moving forward every time.
3) Develop a clear message.
What you are selling and how it helps your target customers might be clear as crystal to you…and you might be right. But unless you can communicate this in an incredibly clear and simple way to your customers, your campaign won’t succeed.
Focus your message on your value to your customers, how you solve a major pain point for them, how you make their lives easier…not specifics of your product or service itself. Those details come into play further down the funnel, once a potential lead is on the hook.
Also, make sure to create a few variations that you can test against each other in your campaign. No one is always right, so rather than choosing the single marketing message that you believe will resonate best, try a few and let your customers tell you through split testing which is the most effective.
If you are a B2B marketer, gone are the days when you hammered prospects with outbound email and telemarketing campaigns designed to prompt their interest in your products and services. Today’s savvy buyers hunt down their own information with search and social tools in a self-education process that taps into brand content late in the game. This new reality is why tactics such as B2B inbound marketing are now mainstream for B2B marketers and one of five techniques to focus on in 2016.
To further their efforts, B2B marketers are investing more in data-driven marketing talent, tools and data than their B2C counterparts. Our CMO spend survey revealed that among all marketers, B2B marketers anticipate the biggest budget increase in 2016. When B2B marketers were asked about the top areas where senior management’s expectations of marketing responsibility increased over 2015, converting leads to sales came in second only to innovation. Strategic planning came in third.
Here are five important B2B marketing techniques:
1. Leverage Account-Based Marketing techniques, including relationship management
2. Acquire Data-Driven Talent and Advanced B2B Analytic Tools
Establishing a business from scratch entails a variety of tasks. Not only is each task crucial but also comprises a number of steps. As a result, these are extremely time-consuming. In this highly competitive landscape of businesses, managing all tasks accurately and rapidly has become quite vital.
Marketing is one of the most significant aspects of businesses. Done right, it can enhance lead acquisition and revenue generation considerably. However, certain marketing tasks of businesses are redundant and take up more time than estimated, thus slowing down other tasks. The good news is, many marketing processes can be automated with the help of the right technology.
With the rapidly increasing digital noise on the Internet, it has become extremely important to constantly reinforce brand awareness to reach out to the target customer base. Automation can not only increase the amount of work done but also improve accuracy and precision.
Let’s take a look at some of the marketing processes that can be automated.
Managing Social Media Marketing
Social media is a crucial aspect of all businesses. In fact, social media marketing has been found to increase exposure of a brand by 89%.
Apart from interacting with customers, social media marketing involves several other activities which include curating news, trends and articles relevant to your business and publishing them. It also comprises scheduling certain promotions and offers etc. With the help of certain software programs, these social media marketing process can be managed automatically.
Having a well defined strategy is the key to improving the effectiveness of your B2B marketing efforts. Today we’re going to cover the top five B2B marketing strategies you can utilize to increase leads, ROI, and, most importantly, sales.
1. Dig deeper when targeting your demographic.
Often times B2B marketers take the “spray and pray” approach when it comes to targeting their demographic. This can be a huge waste of valuable marketing dollars. You can fix this by narrowing down your audience using “hyper-targeting”. While not a B2B company, Lululemon does an amazing job of this. Their marketing team went as far as creating personas for the male and females they’re trying to target. “Duke” is 35 years old and an “athletic opportunist” who enjoys surfing and snowboarding. “Ocean” is a 32-year-old single professional woman who makes $100,000 a year. While it may almost seem silly creating fake personas for your target market it can, psychologically, put you into their mindset so you can make marketing decisions that are more likely to resonate with them.
Let’s talk about metonyms. Stay with me, this will be fun. A metonym is a literary term describing an instance where you describe something using a word associated with that thing.
So, if you say ‘Would you boil the kettle?’, what you actually mean is ‘Would you boil the water in the kettle?’ The word ‘kettle’ is a metonym for the whole process. Similarly, if you say to a friend, ‘Nice wheels!’, you’re probably not specifically complimenting the wheels but expressing overall admiration for the car as a whole.
We all use metonyms every day and most people don’t even realise they’re doing it. What a bleak existence that must be.
Have you ever been asked for your email address when visiting the website of your favorite store? Do you follow any businesses on Facebook or twitter to learn about special offers and upcoming events? If you have, you have been the target of digital marketing.
Digital marketing, also known as content marketing, internet marketing, or online marketing is the process of marketing products and services using internet based resources. These resources include your own website, blogs, social media platforms, to build and maintain relationships with customers and prospects.
Digital marketing differs from traditional marketing because the focus isn’t on direct sales. Instead, you use content to earn the trust, respect, and interest of your prospects while also introducing them to your products and services without using hard sell tactics.
For any organization, especially for startups and small businesses, HR software is a crucial aspect. Such records of employees help you keep track of their diligence. It also indicates the interest your employee has in his/her work. The more the leaves, the less the interest. HR software helps you keep the most accurate track of the amount of paid leave, sick leave, and holidays your employee is entitled to.
You will be able to keep a track of how many holidays your employee has used and how many they have left. HR software is crucial in any company as it indicates input by the employees. Excess vacations can and will reduce this input to a great extent. Such factors are very simple yet pivotal.
Before you begin researching and evaluating HRMS solutions, it’s important to determine what specific things you want the system to be able to do. The following checklist contains key software capabilities your company may need in a new HR software solution. Check off the items that are integral to your company’s HR processes. You may also have needs that fall outside of this checklist, so add any unique requirements your company may have to this list.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.
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