As a B2B marketer, what are the key trends that you should be acting on in 2017? What techniques should you be focusing on to align your organization with the B2B sector and what are the latest technologies that you should be leveraging?
Here are the top strategies that B2B marketers should be focusing on based on past trends and industry research:
Influence marketing has been around for a while, and it’s importance will grow in 2017 for B2B marketers.
According to a Linquia survey of 170 marketers revealed in the The State of Influencer Marketing 2017, “In 2016, 94% of marketers found influencer marketing to be effective. As a result, influencer marketing budgets are set to double in 2017.”
Influencer marketing has always been important for selling software. Once you have those first few happy clients, you have a story to tell. Genuine stories from “people like me” that cover the problem, evaluation, selection and ROI in a business environment are golden. Even better if your customer will speak with prospects on the phone, and offer a site visit. With marketing fluff saturating the Web, these influencer clients are more valuable than ever. In many ways, they are the future of your business. Take good care of them.
According to LinkedIn Pulse, “B2B brands that build consumer relevance reap significant business benefits. Compared to the least (socially) connected brands, the 10 most connected brands showed 31% greater revenue growth. And B2B decision-makers are 10% more likely to consider brands that consumers know and feel connected to.”
Best explained by Koka Sexton, Global Senior Social Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, “Social selling is the process of using your professional brand to fill your pipeline with the right people, insights, and relationships.”
With the adoption of Web 2.0 and social media, social sales have changed dramatically over the past few years. Social media has significantly increased the scale and reach of relationship networks which were once maintained only through one-on-one contact. How we collaborate online has also changed with most B2B buying decisions starting and even closing online without the need of any face-to-face meetings.
According to Syndacast, 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. The Huffington Post described video content as the “new darling of the marketing world, ” and it continues to dominate statistics and is growing profoundly in the B2B sector.
Here are some statistics taken from Insivia’s 50 Must-Know Stats About Video Marketing 2016:
● Including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate, according to a report published by Forrester
● 96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns of which 73% report positive results to their ROI, according to a survey conducted by ReelSEO
● 76% of marketers plan to increase their use of YouTube and video marketing, reported by Social Media Examiner via Envisa.
● 75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week
● 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video according to Forbes.
● According to Forbes, 59% of executives prefer to watch video than read text.
At the end of 2016, Demandbase, a leader in Account-Based Marketing revealed the results of its Artificial Intelligence survey. The research showed that “80 percent of all marketing executives believe AI will revolutionize marketing over the next 5 years, but only 26 percent are very confident they understand how AI is used in marketing and only 10 percent of marketers are currently using AI today.”
Keep an eye on Wordsmith from Automated Insights. Their AI technology is automating writing and reporting. Extremely powerful if you have unique data that can be turning into valuable reports. Finally, a way to deliver engaging content, on a regular basis, without the blood, sweat and tears.
With more and more customer demanding a more personalized experienced from vendors, AI shows that it has the potential to help marketers deliver tailored customer experiences, allowing one-on-one conversations with marketers who understand each touch point of the customer journey and intend to improve it.
CEO visibility is on the rise as consumers increasingly expect a one-on-one connection with the brands they buy. It’s become essential for companies to give their senior executives a “face” so that buyers know who they are doing business with.
Executive branding is not about self-promotion but has become a leadership necessity for companies who want to establish their skills, promote their personal mission, and be perceived as industry experts. Buyers want to know “who” they are doing business with, if they can trust the decisions of the company executives, and if they are investing in a brand that has the same goals as they do.
I’m Pam Swingley, founder of Savvy. Our marketing services help B2B technology companies succeed. We connect product marketers to customers for market validation. Fill sales pipelines with qualified leads. And, supercharge anemic social media accounts. Results are backed by decades of tech marketing success with Fortune 1000 companies (ADP and Oracle), startups, and mid-sized software firms. Say hello to savvy marketing.