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B2B marketing: what to expect in 2018

Looking for insight into what’s happening next in B2B marketing? Here are five B2B topics and trends that are on the radar for 2018: 

1. The B2B marketer’s role will continue to expand beyond the marketing department.

For most companies, resources are scarce and expertise is expected to be shared across the organization. In addition to the sales department, the skills of B2B marketers can add significant value across a company. Some examples: in Human Resources, B2B marketers can help recruit the best candidates with company branding and smart recruiting strategies; in internal communications, B2B marketers can advise on what information to share and how to share it, along with tips on community building and the best technology platforms for bringing people together. In addition, the role of the B2B marketer in the sales process will continue to grow, with expansion into support on strategies for business development and account-based marketing.

2. Measurement strategies will incorporate more qualitative research along with realtime analytics. 

Digital provides B2B marketers with a wealth of information. Social, email and web campaigns generate a multitude of statistics. But it can be tough sometimes to turn that data into actionable insights. It can also be a challenge to use those metrics to define marketing ROI. What’s required to complete the picture is the qualitative dimension. Adding the results of client surveys, customer interviews, customer feedback, and anecdotal reports into the research mix will provide a clearer picture, and help B2B marketers maximize insights from all of the data.

3. Many marketers will see a value in focusing social media efforts on a single platform. 

For many B2B marketers, social doesn’t have the same allure as it does for their B2C counterparts. It’s just not a fit to interact online in a provocative, or fun way for most B2B products and solutions. It can also feel like a scattershot approach to be present on all social platforms, when you’re not getting much interest or traction. The solution may be to switch gears and focus on a single social platform. Find out where your customers are, and apply all of your efforts and budget there. For many B2B companies, the best option is LinkedIn or Facebook, and marketers are putting the emphasis on campaigns tailored expressly for this platforms.

4. Influencer marketing will become increasingly more important for B2B. 

On the B2C side, we know what influencer marketing looks like: an Instagram post showing a celebrity wearing or drinking or visiting the product or location that’s being promoted. But what does it look like for B2B?  Well, just as in B2C, it’s simply a person with a profile in your industry, recommending your product or company. B2B influencers might include industry bloggers, leaders of trade associations, industry analysts, or high-profile consultants. And just as in B2C, it’s a relationship that involves a fee for services rendered. Defining the scope and success of a paid relationship with an influencer can be quite complicated, so it’s a good idea to work with a marketing agency with experience in this realm to guide an influencer campaign.   

5. New technologies will continue to shake up the B2B marketing landscape. 

Remember when deciding whether to implement marketing automation was the big tech question for B2B marketers? Well, if you haven’t done so already, prepare to sell your management team on the merits of chatbots, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Why will you need these technologies in particular?

These are some of the benefits for marketing:

  • Chatbots can significantly enhance and streamline interactions on your website.
  • With virtual reality, you can offer prospects the opportunity to test and try products before buying. (Think about buyers for condos that are still under construction, or an architect taking the museum board through a proposed new facility.)
  • Artificial intelligence applications can sort your data and provide insights.
  • Connections to the Internet of Things can tell you exactly how your customers are using your products.

Is your company ready for the challenges of 2018?

We’re experts in B2B marketing, with experience in measurement, social media strategies, influencer relationships, and more. Why not book a brief call to talk with our experts, and find out how we might help you? 

LET'S TALK!

 

Maarten Van Erdeghem
Maarten Van Erdeghem
Digital specialist at Living Stone

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