As technology expands in unexpected ways, online B2B marketing is changing faster than ever. Constant innovation means B2B in 2016 may look as different from 2015 as 2015 looked from 2005. To win buyers’ trust, strategic adaptation to trends is essential.
Let’s look at some of the changes enterprises can expect:
Unification of Sales and Marketing Continues
Old assumptions are falling by the wayside as “sales” pros embrace a hybrid role: Business developer. Maintaining and growing relationships now begins long before the first contact with your sales team, built on inbound marketing strategy that influences prospects to convert. For the new sales cycle to be successful, the marketing team must step into a crucial sales enablement role – and both teams need feedback systems to share insights and refine buyer personas.
Content Marketing Best Practices Synthesize
Content is king, but content saturation will be a reality by 2020. To remain relevant, brands must continuously establish new frontiers: From video marketing to radical content personalization, the content “mix” will be remarkably complex. Keeping up with all this means having a repeatable, data-driven process in place for selecting and executing effective content. In the search for consistency, more B2B enterprises will bring content in-house or develop long-term ties with creative agencies.
Customer Experience Becomes the Focus
The explosion in customer touch-points means more opportunities to build – and wreck – emerging relationships with your prospects. Over the last few years, B2C brands have outpaced B2B in customer experience, but that will soon change. Many B2B considered sales can take up to three years to bear fruit, and B2B buyers are demanding higher levels of service and satisfaction in their professional roles. The quantum leap here will depend on your company’s ability to customize solutions and deliver relevant content based on them.
Predictive Analytics and Data Become Essential
One of the greatest hang-ups of all digital marketing, from B2C to B2B, has been the inability to ask prospects why they didn’t convert. While no crystal ball is forthcoming, today’s analytics tools allow savvy, data-focused marketers to read between the lines and learn more about where their efforts can be improved. To support this, however, B2B firms need – again – a repeatable and efficient process in place to uncover the “lessons learned.” A good data scientist may be the next essential member of your digital marketing team.
How can you keep your B2B marketing at the forefront of change? Start with a top-level campaign to discover what assets you have available for adapting to the new digital reality – and what needs to be updated. Then, make sales enablement, content marketing, and customer experience your three priorities … facilitated, of course, by timely data!