It’s 2019. How should your B2B marketing strategies look? Brace yourselves for a year of fast-rising trends within the landscape. Consumers are expecting more from brands than ever. In 2018, B2B marketers jumped on strategies that almost mirror B2C initiatives that deepen connections with audiences. We turned to influencers, visual data, online reviews, and longer form content. SEO and algorithm changes on Facebook and Twitter led to significant strategy changes. Digital real estate became even more valuable for B2Bs. Tech-enabled processes freed up more time to serve consumers better.
How B2B Marketers spent their 2018 Marketing budget
Folks at CMI gave us an overview of how B2B marketers invested in content in the past 12 months.
Stats that matter (and proof that content marketing works):
- 93% of top B2B performers report that their organization is very committed to content marketing.
- 56% of B2B marketers increased their content creation spend.
- 77% of content marketers primarily use email and educational content to nurture their audience.
- 84% of B2B marketers tune into social media analytics to manage their content marketing efforts.
- 96% of top B2B marketers contend that their organizations have built trust and credibility with their audience.
Content marketing spend isn’t slowing down any time soon. For 2019, 96% of B2B marketers reported that they’re gearing up for a heftier marketing budget.
B2B Marketing Trends to include in your 2019 strategy
Stay ahead of the game. Beef up your strategy with these marketing trends in 2019.
Long-Form Content Pays Off
In the age of bite-sized social media stories and 3-second gifs, long-form content such as podcasts, ebooks, and in-depth articles cut through. B2B marketers favoured long-form even more with 74% of them investing in such content. Video snippets and social media stories lagged behind with 43% and 37%, respectively.
The preference for long-form will increase even further in the next 12 months as consumers yearn for substantial educational content. Long-form media is also search engine ranking friendly. For instance, Google’s front page is more likely to include articles with 1600 words or more as they tend to offer more information and deeper insights than shorter content. The same principles apply to other content formats. Publishing long-form content not only boosts brand awareness but also nurtures customer relationships by being educational, engaging, and value adding.
Greater Customer Experience Expectations
In the digital-first era, expect customer demands at an all-time high. It’s 2019—we can now stream an entire TV series on-demand, get information through voice command, and request same-day delivery like it’s customary. Millennial buyers and researchers dominate the current B2B landscape. High customer experience expectations influence their lifestyles and habits. A recent PwC study found that the top CX traits buyers value are speed, convenience, knowledgeable service, and friendliness. As the audience gets used to great design, businesses are starting to expect the same high standards from products and services they use at work. Customer success lies at the core of a business. When you consistently deliver great experiences and value, you build customer relationships that turn casual buyers into evangelists. These principles are now more emphasized than ever.
Double Down on Personalisation
It goes without saying that consumers are more receptive to personalised content. Prospects expect information to be specific to their interests and concerns. As Mike Neumeier puts it, audiences don’t just want to get information—they want to experience it. As personalisation technologies rise, it’s becoming even more difficult for the audience to appreciate generic messages.
B2B interaction should go beyond corporate email accounts and promoted posts. As users demand authenticity, customised messages outdo generic content. To put it in numbers, segmented campaigns have led to a 760% revenue increase for marketers.
Personalisation can be leveraged in various platforms, ranging from email to video. More advanced tools have made customised B2B marketing videos possible. The audience appreciates it because of its surprise value and the convenience it delivers.
White-Glove Treatment via Account-Based Marketing
ABM (Account-Based Marketing) has proven itself more relevant than ever. According to Marketo, 97% of marketers using ABM have reported higher ROI than traditional marketing initiatives. It’s even more interesting to note that only 20% of marketers have utilised ABM. In 2019, 60% of B2B marketers are keen to put it in place.
ABM is all about quality over quantity. Instead of gunning several low-dollar accounts, ABM prioritises hyper-specific, calculated and personalised initiatives that target high-value prospects. As traditional marketing gets increasingly difficult, it’s more practical to focus on a few large accounts that bring in the same business value. You ought to give high-value clients a white-glove treatment. With account-based marketing, B2B folks can expect clearer ROI and reduced resource waste due to streamlined marketing initiatives for targeted accounts.
Over to You
Study these trends and build your B2B strategy with room for changes as the year speeds up. Your B2B marketing approach needs clear-cut goals and a well-defined audience that will enable you to hit those goals. Weave the trends into the strategy once you’ve set these prerequisites.
Keep in mind that different trends work for different brands. For example, smaller enterprises might benefit more from inbound than ABM. Alternatively, you can combine ABM with inbound. Pick out your target accounts once you’ve gathered prospects from your inbound funnel. A carefully mapped out strategy is the key to your B2B’s 2019 growth. Take a look at your current strategies and check how these trends can maximize your initiatives for the year ahead.