In 2017, B2B marketers will continue to deal with tangible growth and marketing ROI pressures. Below are 13 primary B2B marketing trends that deserve your time and attention and will help you address the challenges, opportunities, and complexities you’ll undoubtedly be presented with this year.
1. Customer Experience Balance
Probably the most impactful B2B marketing trend in 2017 will be a tighter focus on improving the customer experience while driving growth. Strive to use a balanced approach to building customer loyalty. Instead of focusing solely on “customer-centric” methods based on your customers’ lifetime value, offset it with “customer-focused” techniques that enable you to provide relevant experiences across all touch points and concentrate on what your customers value most. Symmetry between those two approaches will result in higher revenue combined with stronger customer loyalty.
2. Executive Branding
Over the past decade, the Internet, mobility, and social media have upended traditional “command and control” marketing. The pendulum has shifted dramatically to individuals—individuals as buyers and individuals as the voices of their companies. As a result, traditional company branding and digital marketing efforts are no longer sufficient. Especially in B2B environments, executive branding is now considered a necessity.
Grant Wickes, an executive branding specialist, says, “Senior executives must create and develop their personal brand. Buyers want to know the ‘why’ and trust the leaders behind the companies they do business with. Some companies have adapted to this evolution, but many have not. And executives are most guilty of not embracing this new paradigm. Some feel there is no need, but 2017 will mark a watershed year for executive branding.”
3. Visual Content Marketing
According to HubSpot, B2C marketers still place more emphasis on the importance of visual content in their marketing portfolios, but B2B marketers are catching up quickly. The primary driver is the desire to make content more engaging, compelling, and shareable than just the written word. The most common forms of visual content that will be used in 2017 will be video (including 360-degree video), infographics, and images in blogs and social media posts.
4. Influence Marketing
Influence marketing isn’t new, but it will begin to mature in 2017. Warren Whitlock, a noted influence marketing pro, says, “Everyone has influence. Influence marketing is the practice of finding the people who are already influencing your market. They will welcome your help to serve their audience better and reward you with reputation and trusted leads.”
Following the trend set by their B2C brethren, B2B marketers will continue partnering with influencers but will focus more on social channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, etc. This year also will mark the rise of micro-influencers in the B2B space, which typically have fewer followers and less reach than their mainstream counterparts, but they also tend to be a lot more focused on one specific topic.
5. Content Marketing
One of the most effective ways to get recognition of your name or brand is by writing and distributing articles. This is known as content marketing. Without a doubt, one thing that triggered my visibility on the internet was when I started distributing my articles.
If you have not yet started writing articles to position yourself as experts, build your list of subscribers, increase your credibility and expand your market, now is a good time to start.
Content Marketing as well as positioning you as an expert increases traffic to your blog, website, landing pages, increases sales potential, builds brand recognition, earns credibility, and builds a list of high-response subscribers for your business .
6. Webinars and teleseminars
As the Internet has become more and more popular, so have training methods that do not require leaving the comfort of home or office. Teleseminars: seminars by telephone also known as teleconferences, tele-classes and tele-training, were initially adopted by businessmen working from home because it is difficult to install.
Both the teleseminars and webinars allow you to hold a training session with participants from all over the world, as long as you have a telephone, a computer and an Internet connection.
Video is one of the most popular marketing tools. Not only is it ideal for promotions, but when done right, viewers feel they’ve gotten to know you and that translates into great marketing.
There are two basic approaches to video: direct to the camera and screen capture. Direct to the camera is filming yourself or colleagues in a training session, demonstration or presentation; Doing an interview, or giving a speech. You can record your interview instead of recording as an audio only file. The screenshot is to convert something from your computer into a video, such as PowerPoint slides or tutorials.
The number one online video is YouTube, of course there are many but it has so much traffic that you can not miss this advantage.