First quarter of 2019 is done and dusted, but the wheel of marketing never stops turning. So we thought we’d take a peek at what the B2B marketer should be reviewing in their strategy for the rest of the year.
Getting back to basics with branding… then boosting big time
Being able to cash in on a fad or going viral will always be a nice whirlwind in which to get caught up; nobody is going to deny that. But riding by the seat of your pants (to mix our metaphors, but you get what we mean) is not a long term strategy on which to rely. Good old-fashioned focus on getting your branding and positioning right, and then doing all that you can to ensure it appeals to your market, however, is. And never has the right messaging at the right moment mattered so much to B2B marketers. With a multitude of digital channels available 24/7, ensuring your brand values are consistently communicated is critical.
What does this mean for B2B now? B2B marketers, you need to sharpen up your branding act. Fine tune your value messages. Review every touchpoint. Ensure consistency. Engage, engage, engage.
Think variety of media… think video
Yes, it’s still growing. B2C have been using video for a while, but the B2B marketer can really make use of its potent reach too. It’s currently predicted to grow to over 80% of all internet traffic by 2021, according to the Visual Network Index forecast; and that’s not just about dog videos and Netflix. People are watching videos, regardless of whether they’re buying or researching. And this is an approach that is extending beyond just consumerism, with a lot of research being carried out on behalf of company purchases too.
What does this mean for B2B now? You need to get good at telling stories. You have your brand values and your products and services, so getting really good at messaging those in soundbite narratives in media such as video will keep you up with the leaders.
Account based marketing… have it pumping through your veins
If your sales cycle is long or very complex, ABM is now a must-have. Why? Because stakeholders have to be consulted, culture shifts need to be understood, and empathic relationships have to be forged with decision makers. Shifting your focus to being account-centric across the board, from marketing, to sales, to customer operations and beyond will enable all your digital messaging to be validated at every touchpoint.
What does this mean for B2B now? It means getting upfront and personal on an account level. Melding your brand to your customer’s needs in their minds, from the start and ongoing.
Beef up the content… show your audience sophisticated respect
Content marketing will not be a new phrase to anyone reading this. B2B marketers have been turning to it more and more over the last few years. It’s fun, it’s engaging, it’s informative… and it works. But that’s the thing, one can get too clever for one’s boots and messages can start to misfire. The KISS (keep it simple, stupid) maxim is a great one for keeping focused on the right outputs, but churning out the same old stuff isn’t going to continue to work. One has to treat one’s audience with respect. Provide them with valuable insights that are relevant to their world. Continue to be consistent with every communication. And be patient. It’s quality over quantity.
What does this mean for B2B now? A redoubled effort across a variety of channels. Try new approaches. If you haven’t considered podcasts, webinars, and live delivery… do so this year.
Analyse data in new ways… ask new questions
Stop just thinking about clicks, conversions, and responses to calls to action. They’re useful and meaningful but the data you hold actually tells you so much more. It tells you about your audience, what they’re thinking and where they might be going with their thinking. It tells you who they’re mixing with, where they’ve come from and where they’re going next. In fact, it can answer questions you’ve never even thought to ask… so get asking! Get ahead of your competition in the customer experience stakes. Measure earlier, interrogate the results real time… and act.
What does this mean for B2B now? It means there is now a need to get integrated and automated. Artificial intelligence isn’t only for the likes of Amazon and Google. It’s for everyone.
A final word…
2019 is already seeing, and will continue to see, more and more B2B marketers tapping into tools that facilitate the blending of automation with personalisation. Dashboards such as Google Data Studio are giving access to this to businesses of all sizes. Monitoring, analysing and responding was never easier to achieve with a quick turnaround. And we mustn’t forget, of course, the inroads that artificial intelligence is making now too. Chatbots and the like are fast becoming incredibly sophisticated, and a B2B marketer with few staff may well benefit from supporting all of the above initiatives with a bit of AI. Sound all a bit sci-fi still? Well, we’d caution you to remember this… The one thing we can be sure of, whatever the trend, is that things are constantly changing. So anything that learns as it goes along is going to take a lot of pressure off elsewhere. Sound good? We think so.