[Updated: July 17, 2019]
[Psst...would you like to have this post as an infographic? Scroll down to the bottom to see all of these trends in our latest infographic!]
B2B marketing trends are like a compass. While you move forward in your business endeavors, marketing trends help to keep you on course.
Trends shed light on what marketing strategies and tools work and help dictate where to spend your brand's resources.
While increased budgets may seem like mere wishful thinking, there is solid evidence to back it up. When asked how they would rate their marketing strategy compared with one year ago, 70% rated it as more successful.
How can you say the same thing about your own marketing? The answer lies in knowing (and using) the latest B2B marketing trends.
We've compiled a list of the must-know marketing trends that will keep your strategy on track and profitable.
10 B2B Marketing Trends That You Need in Your Strategy
1. Search Engine Optimization
SEO has become a major part of any digital marketing strategy. But when choosing keywords, many brands cast their net too wide. And this has led lost opportunities. How so?
46% of searches performed on Google are local. That means that instead of searching for "B2B financial software company," a large percentage search for "B2B financial software company in San Francisco" or whatever city they are in.
Don't get me wrong -- general keywords have an important place in your strategy. But the more locally conscious you are with your keywords, the more you can key in on audiences in your local area.
Along the same lines, another aspect of search that B2B marketers need to focus on is voice search. With so many individuals using OK Google and Hey Alexa to conduct their searches, businesses need to adapt their SEO strategy. How? Voice search demands that you optimize for keywords that sound naturally -- the way people actually talk.
So, instead of "small business trends 2019", businesses should go after keywords like "what are the small business trends for 2019?" As you can see, the second one sounds more like a real person would actually say it. This kind of phrasing supports a well-rounded SEO strategy with a focus on voice search.
2. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation lets you streamline, measure, and automate marketing tasks. It can be used with email marketing, social media, and other marketing strategies. In fact, you may already share its fruits, if you schedule social media posts or use an analytics program to measure website metrics.
Why is this such an important trend? 91% of the most successful marketers agree that marketing automation is very important to the overall success of their marketing strategy. Studies show that marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and reduces marketing overhead by 12.2%.
Look at tasks your team could automate and at the potential savings for your brand. Could you use automation to create a series of emails based on a prospect's behavior? Could you use it to automate social media management? What can you do to relieve your team of mundane work while better serving your prospects and customers?
While podcasts are not new, they are seeing a recent surge in popularity. Because of the way people consume podcasts -- often in between their other daily activities -- they are a great way to reach your audience during a time and place that is most convenient for them.
And podcasts reach a wide arc of people. According to one study, 24% of people between the ages of 18 and 54 listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. And it keeps growing in popularity, with the number listeners growing each year.
Many businesses test the podcast waters with a Q&A session or a panel discussion. Review your most frequently asked questions to scope out possible podcast topics.
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful resource for B2B marketers that often goes untapped. To give you an idea of the momentum that LinkedIn can add, consider a few stats.
First off, 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn. This is partly due to the individuals who make up the LinkedIn ecosystem -- 61 million LinkedIn users are senior level influencers and another 40 million are purchase decision makers within their company.
46% of social traffic to corporate websites comes LinkedIn. This means that more people are likely to head over to check out your website and blog after reading your posts on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a number of tools (paid and unpaid) to engage your audience. Whether it's posting on the platform, creating articles, running ads or joining and participating in groups, there's an activity that will help your brand.
Want to power up your LinkedIn presence? Check out our guide to creating a knockout LinkedIn company page.
it's no secret that video content engages audiences. But it continues to top our list of trends for a reason -- it continues to rise in popularity and effectiveness. It can't be said enough: Video is essential to any marketing strategy!
One survey found that video produces 66% more qualified leads than other forms of content. 94% of businesses surveyed view video as an effective tool for their brand. And 81% saw an increase in sales since using video in their marketing.
So how can you use video in your marketing? Consider:
- Explainer videos
- Case studies
- Product demos
And there's no shortage of platforms to use video to reach your audience. All major social networks -- including LinkedIn -- feature video prominently both in their regular tool set and as part of their paid ad platforms.
Video content is also a part of B2B influencer marketing trends -- being one of the foremost types of content that a brand can create with influencers. Video content, including virtual reality and augmented reality, has already been used in B2B marketing strategies with much success.
6. Customer Experience
It's no longer about your brand's product. The experience you give your customers is becoming just as important as how well your product performs. People are fed up waiting on hold and having an all around bad customer service experience.
Brands with an emphasis on top-of-the line customer service are fast-becoming the toughest competition.
How can you improve your overall customer experience? Here are a few areas that all brands need to pay attention to when it comes to their customer service representatives:
Do you have a variety of channels where customers can reach out for help -- including email and social media? How fast does it take your team to reply? Are team members friendly and engaging, while handling issues with expert hands? All of these factor into the quality of your customer experience.
7. Artificial Intelligence
There's no arguing that AI has been a trending issue for many brands over the past few years. But there's one area where brands seriously need to embrace artificial intelligence: Chatbots.
Chatbots, computer-simulated customer service, are different from your traditional customer service program. This is a quick and easy tool that customers across the board appreciate. In fact, 69% of users prefer to interact with a chatbot when needing an answer to a simple question.
Other areas where artificial intelligence is poised to make a major difference in B2B marketing is through analytics. AI tears through data at an impressive speed to give you the best picture of your audience and campaigns. It also allows you to improve your content and segment your audience more thoroughly to deliver the most personalized content to each one.
Artificial intelligence is even among emerging B2B influencer marketing trends. Brands can use artificial intelligence to find the right influencer for their brand, as well as what topics and channels to use for your influencer marketing strategy.
8. Email Collection
The dream for all marketers is to have a loyal audience. While social media and other platforms are a great space to introduce your brand, it gives you limited access to your audience.
Email subscriptions, on the other hand, when tastefully set up on your website and blog, offer a true idea of who comprises your audience. They give you direct access to your audience and the possibility of converting subscribers into customers down the road.
But sadly, only 43% of brands have a strategy in place to collect their audience's email information. That leaves over half that are missing out on a major opportunity for growth. If you're part of this number, make this the year that you turn it around.
9. Paid Promotion
This is an often-neglected part of the PESO (paid, earned, social, owned model), with the focus on earned, social and organic. But paid ads can amplify your message and ensure that the right people see it.
Whether it's on Google Adwords or a social platform like Facebook Ads, paid platforms give you powerful targeting tools to reach audiences that otherwise wouldn't cross your path.
Such paid promotion is among one of the most powerful B2B content marketing trends. While it includes an investment, it often pays off in a huge way. Take your time to find the right combination of content, messaging, and audience targeting. When you do find the right combination, though, you'll start to see awesome results.
10. Content Repurposing
Content is a major part of any modern marketing strategy. But constantly creating fresh content is a challenge for many brands -- and when you have a large library of content at your fingertips, there's a growing trend toward repurposing content.
In fact, 60% of marketers report that they reuse content 2-5 times. Why? Repetition is a tried and true method to help audiences familiarize themselves with your brand. And repurposed, or reused, content is a key way to do this in a way that doesn't bombard your audience with the same material over and over again.
Whether it's collecting past blog posts into an ebook or taking points from a SlideShare and creating a infographic, there are many ways to repurpose content. Analyze your content, paying attention to what performed well and how you might use other content formats to highlight that same content.
It doesn't have to be complicated.Just updating a blog post with more information, different keywords, and a new title and image can give it new life.
Our B2B Marketing Trends Infographic
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Whether it's B2B PR or B2B marketing strategy, it's crucial to keep up with the latest trends. It keeps your brand fresh and prevents your fading into the background and losing relevance.
Let us know in the comments below what trends you've noticed.
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