When you decide to build or refine your corporate narrative, you’re not starting from zero. Unless you’re launching a startup, you have a basic version of your corporate narrative already. When someone asks what you do, and where you work, you don’t have to think about your answer: “I’m a sales rep for a pharma company”, or “I handle marketing for a medical device manufacturer.” And everyone at your company, from your receptionist to your CEO, has their own tailored version: “I manage customer support for our hospital customers” or “I develop software for a mammography system.” These statements are short and sweet, and they get the message across.
Do you need a corporate narrative? As B2B marketers, we’re all storytellers, shaping and sharing the stories of our companies, customers and products. But there’s another story that is just as integral to your organization’s success. Your corporate narrative is much larger in scope than the stories you tell about your company’s innovations, or your customers. It’s not your mission statement, and it’s not a history of your company and its rise to success. Instead, your corporate narrative explains nothing less than who you are, and how you are changing the world. There isn’t a fixed beginning or end, as this story is still evolving.
New branding opportunities in the digital age How has B2B branding changed in the digital age? Well, what you used to be able to convey with a logo, some colors and a font now needs to compel across multiple platforms and mediums, over which you have varying degrees of control. From review websites to comments on social media, your brand is constantly being defined and re-defined, and it’s a lot harder as a marketer to direct the process. And consider that the smartphone is emerging as one of the most popular mediums for B2B research. According to a recent study by Google and the Boston Consulting Group1 , 50% of B2B search queries are made on smartphones today, and that number is expected to grow to 70% by 2020. So your branding has to work very hard – on a very small screen. So how do you keep a tight rein on your brand, and at the same time stand out in the multichannel universe? Here are some points to consider in strengthening your brand in the digital age:
“Hey Alexa, how should I update my 2019 B2B marketing plan?” Well, Alexa may not be able to guide us just yet, but voice search is definitely one of the developments that will have an impact on B2B marketing in 2019. In this blogpost, we look at the growth of voice search, along with visual search and AI/machine learning, and how these technology trends are going to affect B2B digital marketing plans.
As we get ready to close the books on 2018, let’s take a moment and think about the year to come. What B2B marketing evolutions and trends will have an impact in 2019?
Will content (marketing) still be king in 2019? Well, there is going to be an uprising. But it isn’t another platform or tool that’s threatening to disrupt content’s reign. The threat is actually from too much content. The sheer volume of content that is being created is making it increasingly difficult to reach your targets. Marketer Mark Schaefer coined the term “Content Shock” to describe this phenomenon, where the amount of available content vastly exceeds our ability to consume it. For B2B marketers, this means that your content has to be powerful enough to break through the noise and draw your prospects to it, offering them true value. So given today’s crowded marketplace and ever-increasing amounts of content, how can you ensure that your content reaches your desired audiences?
Are there any B2B companies today who aren’t using social media? Probably not very many. But while most B2B organizations are using social media, many are still not using it as effectively as they could be. In many cases, beliefs that their customers aren’t using social, or even concerns about risk and compliance are holding some B2B companies back. And even for those B2B marketers who are actively using social, calculating the marketing ROI for social media programs can still be a challenge.
Are trade shows even relevant anymore? Now that prospects can find all they need to know about products and services online, do they still want to spend time and money to attend a trade show?
If you’re a B2B marketer, just about everything you do now falls under the umbrella of ‘digital marketing’. Your marketing strategies have evolved into digital marketing strategies, which in turn guide your digital marketing plan. And in today’s world, you’ve got to have a great inbound strategy to reach your prospects – and you’d better be optimized for mobile, because that’s where and how your targets are searching.