It feels like just yesterday we were closing out on 2016, toasting the ball drop and making improbable resolutions (speaking for myself). But with February coming to a close, it’s time to revisit some of the 2017 B2B marketing predictions that industry leaders made, think about what’s coming true, and plan for what’s coming next.
1. Customer Experience Balance:
Not only focusing on “customer-centric” methods, but also using “customer-focused” techniques—providing relevant experiences across all touch points and concentrating on what your customers value most. This balance should allow you to strengthen customer loyalty and support retention, which is a goal our clients are definitely prioritizing. Big check box for this prediction.
2. Executive Branding and Social Media Presence:
82% of buyers say they trust a company more when its CEO and senior leadership team are active in social media. We’re finding that more executives are getting on board with this priority, polishing their profiles and sharing thought leadership content (big emphasis here on the fact that it’s not just about sharing company news and product information).
3. Influence Marketing:
This certainly isn’t new in 2017, but it’s evolving. Warren Whitlock, 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.” In the B2B space, this strategy will likely continue on key social channels, plus involve more micro-influencers with fewer followers but more specific expertise.
4. Experiential Marketing:
Providing B2B decision makers with the opportunity to truly experience your brand (whether in person or virtually). We’re seeing new trends in this space, from a merging of data and creativity to “enemy marketing.”
5. Social Media ROI:
In 2016, 39% of marketers reported significant ROI generated from social media marketing, contrasted with only 9% in 2015. While social can be a fantastic way to support other softer goals, such as brand awareness, the demand generation element is something more of our clients are looking for. Integrating social with other tactics and channels, plus implementing a comprehensive tracking strategy, can deliver on this goal.
6. Collaboration with Sales:
Every time our clients give us the opportunity to meet with and brainstorm with sales representatives from their organization, we are thrilled. The perspective and customer insights they bring to a marketing program can be invaluable. In 2017, more coordination between these departments can mean more successful initiatives and greater focus on the customer (remember prediction #1 above?!).
7. Video Content:
We’ll likely see more of it as the year progresses, and the quality of video content should keep getting better. Virtual and augmented reality will add another layer of opportunity to create impactful and highly visual content.
What other B2B marketing trends are you seeing come to life so far this year?