The case for long-term thinking has been building since Les Binet and Peter Field’s highly influential IPA report, ‘The Long and the Short of It’. They showed that long-term strategies are more effective at moving the dials that really matter – market share, profit, revenue and so on.
Binet and Field’s evidence is largely based on business-to-consumer (B2C) examples. But a new survey of 600 business-to-business (B2B) marketers reinforces the findings. Those who have outperformed their competition over the last two years are twice as likely to think long-term.
The gap between knowing and doing
The business needs quick results. But it takes time to create lasting business impact.
When I talk to senior marketers today, this tension is right at the surface. There’s a curious gap between what we believe and what we can put into action.
Our new research conducted with Marketing Week shows that, in intent at least, the majority of B2B marketers are still ‘classicists’. When asked for the main drivers of effectiveness, audience targeting is comfortably marketers’ highest rated factor, followed by value proposition, then creative. We still believe, then, in the classic skills of segmenting, targeting and positioning.
B2B marketing trends are like a compass. While you move forward in your business endeavors, marketing trends help to keep you on course.
Trends shed light on what marketing strategies and tools work and help dictate where to spend your brand’s resources.
In a survey from Content Marketing Institute on the future of B2B marketing, 55% of the most successful marketers predicted an increase in overall marketing spend in 2019.
While increased budgets may seem like mere wishful thinking, there is solid evidence to back it up. When asked how they would rate their marketing strategy compared with one year ago, 70% rated it as more successful.
How can you say the same thing about your own marketing? The answer lies in knowing (and using) the latest B2B marketing trends.
We’ve compiled a list of the must-know marketing trends that will keep your strategy on track and profitable.
10 B2B Marketing Trends That You Need in Your Strategy 1. Local Search
SEO has become a major part of any digital marketing strategy. But when choosing keywords, many brands cast their net too wide. And this has led lost opportunities. How so?
46% of searches performed on Google are local. That means that instead of searching for “B2B financial software company,” a large percentage search for “B2B financial software company in San Francisco” or whatever city they are in.
Don’t get me wrong — general keywords have an important place in your strategy. But the more locally conscious you are with your keywords, the more you can key in on audiences in your local area.
Over the past few years, Instagram has climbed the social media ladder, making its way up to one of (if not the) most popular platform for B2C marketers.
With the rise of Instagram Influencers paired with its offering of marketing tools for community engagement and shopping (like Shopping Tags, Checkout on Instagram, etc.), Instagram supports businesses well. In particular, these tools can help B2C businesses reach their ROI goals on the platform – but what about B2B brands?
Instagram isn’t just a place for B2C brands; it offers a great deal of value for B2B brands as well. For example: Instagram is a great place to spread brand awareness for any brand. B2B brands can also use features like Stories or their bio link to drive website traffic or share UGC content to connect with their audience.
Last week, we held an #SMTLive Twitter chat to discuss all the ways B2B brands can find success on Instagram.
We talked about:
Common struggles for B2B marketers on Instagram
Goals that Instagram can help B2B brands reach
Different types of B2B content strategy for Instagram
Keep reading for the recap of our chat, including great tips to help you improve your B2B Instagram marketing strategy.
1. Common struggles for B2B marketers on Instagram
What do B2B brands struggle with the most on Instagram?
Of course, as all of this goes, content strategy and brand goals depend on the business. Every brand will experience different issues and will need to develop a unique strategy to align with their goals, but there still are a few common struggles most B2B brands face.
If you are sci-fi film buff, Charlton Heston’s desperate plea, “Soylent Green is people!” from the classic movie (it’s dark, overwrought and partially in fun) is something today’s marketers should note. Your return on investment is dependent on people because people are essential to the modern B2B marketing strategy that actually drives real ROI.
I’m launching this thread because of a combination of client observations, conversations I’ve been having with rising stars, developments in AI and recent announcements from certain tech companies regarding their own learnings about marketing’s impact on earnings and business health. It’s become clear to me that personnel challenges remain a basic, stubborn impediment still keeping many companies from making substantive, scalable marketing progress. There are two core elements at issue:
Just as they have been with most things digital, B2C marketers are ahead of their B2B counterparts in adopting the latest social marketing trends. While our B2C friends have been leveraging social media stories since they originated on Snapchat several years ago, it’s taking the B2B world a little longer to figure out where they fit in the digital marketing mix.
Why should B2B Marketers Care?
Social stories are the newest way social platforms are trying to engage their users- and they’re working. Research shows that social media stories are growing at a faster pace than newsfeeds and offer a new way for marketers to advertise. As businesses try to personalize their brands, marketing via social channels is more important than ever. The new story formats allow the brand message to be told in a logical, linear pattern, rather than having it split across newsfeeds.
The Internet has certainly upended B2B marketing. Keep in mind that – when a customer visits your site or reaches out to you – he or she has probably done quite a bit of research. In other words, you need to find ways to become top-of-mind.
Yet marketing can be expensive – and far from perfect. The fact is that there is much noise in the market, which makes it tough to stand out.
Then what are some of the approaches to take to boost the results of your B2B marketing – especially when you do not have large amounts of resources? Well, to get help answering this question, I reached out to Shachar Radin-Shomrat, who is the Chief Commercial Officer at Voxbone. The company is a leading Communications as a Service (CaaS) provider of voice/messaging services and some of its customers include Zoom, Skype, BlueJeans and 8×8.
“When marketing on a budget, it is usually best to adopt a growth-hacking mindset,” said Shachar. “At Voxbone, we try to be adventurous to a degree but prepare to fail fast and correct course quickly. We are using data where we can to support our decision-making, but it’s often good old-fashioned creativity that makes the biggest difference.”
Interestingly enough, it’s a good idea to not even think and behave like a B2B brand. Instead, it’s better to approach things through the lens of a B2C brand. This will mean that you will be putting the experience of your potential clients front-and-center. Let’s face it, you are not dealing with a company; rather, it’s a person that will ultimately make the purchase decision. So emotion should be an important part of the messaging.
Now in terms of low-cost approaches, Shachar is a bit unconventional. She actually recommends looking at traditional channels. For example, out-of-home advertising (OOH) can be quite effective, such as remnant inventory for digital billboards. “In Voxbone’s case, we used OOH advertising to increase brand awareness among our prospects and the talent we are recruiting, as well as increasing brand searches and website traffic,” said Shachar.
While business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing has embraced the power of data, business-to-business (B2B) marketing has been surprisingly slow to catch on. Companies that want to compete in the B2B marketplace need to be as sophisticated as their B2C cousins by using data to accurately target and market to potential customers.
Believe it or not, an online shoe retailer uses far more advanced data-based marketing tools to sell a $50 pair of shoes than a major SaaS provider selling software that costs thousands of dollars per month. Using sophisticated data sources and data management platforms (DMPs), a shoe seller can track the last pair of shoes you looked at on your desktop and show you an ad for the same shoes on your mobile Facebook feed.
Unlike the automated B2C sales approach, B2B sellers often rely on simple and generic workflows like sending an email followed by a cold call from a sales rep. Of course, you can argue that there’s something to be said for the human touch, even if it is a cold call, but this tactic is expensive, time-consuming and doesn’t produce results.
Business-to-business (B2B) companies face unique challenges when it comes to sales and marketing, and it can be even more difficult for industries that have long lead times. For example, take the architecture, engineering and construction industry: The sales cycle can be anywhere from six months to a year (or more) and deals are worth millions of dollars. A lot is at stake and time is of the essence.
What role does a marketing department have in closing these high-value deals? How do you target those niche prospects? How can you set yourself apart in an industry where purchasing decisions are so often based upon the bottom line?
At my company, the key has been producing helpful, educational content tailored to our prospective clients’ needs, questions and pain points. But what exactly can quality content do to grow your business?
After last week’s Cannes Lions festival, you can bet that the next big thing is on every forward-thinking marketer’s mind. In the era of big data, artificial intelligence and rapid innovation, change is the only constant. While marketing has without a doubt gone digital, we are simultaneously seeing a revival in human-centric thinking — a shift toward catering to individuals with deeper empathy and care, though now at scale.
This evolution is especially pronounced in the business-to-business (B2B) industry. B2B technology has a reputation for being hard to use, and B2B branding efforts haven’t helped in changing this perception. However, in the past few years, a movement to democratize enterprise technology — and enterprise brands themselves — for the day-to-day consumer has emerged. In other words, consumer-grade enterprise tech is quickly becoming the norm.
Did you know that 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others?
Not long ago, businesses would focus on newspapers and advertising through print. They still do, but clearly, digital media has taken over a major share of the branding budget in 2018. Now with smartphones and social media technology, businesses prefer to surf the tide of customer service using new-age marketing technologies. Social Media Marketing clearly demonstrates how technology amplifies brand messaging and meets new benchmarks in customer service benchmarks.
B2B marketing insights incorporated in social media are effective methods for traffic generation, interactive engagement and brand association.
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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