B2B June Round-up – Marketing Trends in 2018
Welcome to our B2B June round-up, where we cover all of the latest happenings in the True Influence B2B world. With the year half gone, many marketers were looking at the topics that are trending in 2018, and we at True Influence were also part of that conversation. We not only focused on current trends, but also looked back at some predicted trends for the year to find out how dead on we were now that 2018 is halfway gone.
We also brought the month to a close by announcing our 10th anniversary, marking the business milestone in a June 27 blog that looked back at our company’s growth over the past decade, especially so the addition of InsightBASE, one of the first platforms to use intent data monitoring technology.
Here are some highlights from the month, not only from our site but also from other marketing sites as well as from the publishing world, which included a few book releases aimed at B2B marketers.
B2B JUNE – FROM OUR SITE:
In this June 18 blog we looked at the 2018 trends that are expected to have a real impact on B2B marketing.
One of the most important is marketing automation, which is becoming tighter as the technology advances. Because platforms are now able to pinpoint important information more easily, personalization is not out of reach for those who choose automation, making it more attractive, even for those who might have rebelled against it.
Other trends marking 2018 include:
• Strategic content marketing. According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute, almost all, a full 89 percent, of B2b businesses had using content marketing, but only 37 percent have a clear-cut strategy. If your company is on the wrong side of this trend, putting a strategic plan into motion can help boost the relevance, and therefore the effectiveness, of the content you’re sending.
• A more serious look at intent data marketing. Intent signals have been drawing more attention, leading to improved data and a stronger position for data as part of a company marketing plan.
• Website content personalization. Giving customers a personalized website experience is easier than ever, with the right tech.
• Storytelling resonates. A company’s history, including stories about the people who make up the business as well as the role a company plays in its community, are seen as more attractive than marketing copy touting a product. Getting personal about your company’s backstory can be beneficial on an emotional level.
Because tech is easier and more affordable, marketing trends are more accessible to more businesses, no matter the size, creating growth opportunities on a more level playing field.
In a June 22 post we looked at which predicted trends for 2018 have been sustainable, and which ones have not.
Mobile-first lead generation was at the top of the trending list, thanks to almost half of all B2B researchers who used mobile at work, despite the accessibility of a desktop monitor. Because of the appeal, businesses that aren’t mobile friendly and don’t have mobile templates in place are at a real risk of being left behind.
Other trends that have remained on top include:
• Focused social media marketing. Choosing the social media platform that will garner the best results – for B2B businesses, that would be LinkedIn – has been the smartest social media strategy, and one that generates better results than spreading resources across several different social media platforms.
• Premium-quality content. Content is what attracts prospects, and in today’s market, that content has to be of real value if it is expected to be effective. Those who have been the target of myriad content marketing campaigns recognize great content when they see it and won’t be attracted to anything less. Companies that use content marketing strategies such as intent data, outside voices and innovative views on popular topics are more likely to have successful content campaigns.
• Automation meets personalization. Contemporary automation allows for a degree of personalization at all steps of the sales funnel, from the initial contact to the sales call. Businesses are able to gather enough information about their prospects based on digital footprints to trigger automated campaigns.
• Strategic gating. Marketers are finding that gating is best reserved for high-end content that’s accessed by prospects nearing the end of their sales funnel journey. The most effective gating is personalized, so prospects who choose to access only have to enter their personal information once.
“If your brand is to stay on top of your game, it’s vital to keep up with current trends and to keep an eye out for the next big thing,” we wrote, especially “new developments that will continue to reshape and redefine the B2B lead generation landscape.”
B2B JUNE – ACROSS THE WEB:
Why Automation is Vital to Any Marketing Strategy
Marketing automation is expected to be a $7.63 billion industry by 2025, according to this June 5 post from our partner company Marketo, suggesting that now is the time to take advantage of it.
Automation saves time, makes smarter use of available resources, helps better implement long-term goals, helps better unite sales and marketing and makes it easier to determine a marketing campaign’s success.
The time saved through automation allows more hours in the day for focusing on the creative aspects of marketing, which is perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of MarTech.
“By leveraging tools that expedite the ‘busy work’ from our days, employees remain engaged and focused on what they do best—create revolutionary content and strategies that propel organizations beyond what they once thought possible,” wrote Pat Johnson in the case-making post.
Your marketing sucks – a B2B poem
The importance of providing relevant content is emphasized in this June 8 post from marketing expert Brian Macreadie, who as himself the recipient of too many marketing emails overflowing from his inbox, addressed the main reasons why too much content can be a very real problem.
With so much email noise, getting through is virtually impossible, making it more important than ever that marketers hit all the right notes.
But understanding the rules of marketing and following them are two different things, said Macreadie, who pointed out that 90 percent of the emails flooding his inbox were regurgitations of the same information told in the same way, or were written to satisfy the needs of the writer, not the reader.
Ultimately, Macreadie noted, “there is only one way to win the battle of the inboxes – and that is to get better at writing headlines and body copy.”
Finding an element of creativity – which the writer himself did by concluding with a poetic ode to marketing mistakes – will win the inbox wars.
Getting personal with our B2B marketing after GDPR
Is personalization the most effective marketing strategy, especially after the implementation of GDPR legislation, which went into effect at the end of May and curtails the way businesses can gather personal information?
Maybe not, said marketer Heidi Taylor in this June 5 post on the B2B Marketing website, who said that relevance is perhaps more important in the effort to better connect.
“Shouldn’t we be more concerned that our marketing activity is relevant – and thus personal instead of personalized – for our audience,” Taylor asked.
Marketing campaigns that are aimed at a receptive audience are more effective than ones that are personalized but don’t reach their intended target.
“Data is incredibly useful in helping us understand our customers, but … we still need to have something useful to say,” Taylor wrote.
Goodbye and hello: 3 skills B2B marketers no longer need and 3 skills to work on
Technology has had a significant impact on the world of marketing, as this June 12 post from the website B2B Marketing clearly illustrates.
Those changes have transformed the skillset needed by marketers, according to author Jada Balster, who looked at skills that have become as archaic as a red London phone booth and which ones are still vital in our modern, tech-driven world.
Many of us believe that we are able to juggle numerous projects at once, and revel in our multi-tasking ability. Turns out, we aren’t really able to multitask, which is perhaps why the operator of a self-driving Uber was unable to both watch Hulu and the road in March when she struck and killed a pedestrian while behind the wheel.
Truth be told, multitasking doesn’t save time, it wastes it, according to neuroscientists.
“Each time we move from hearing music to writing a text or talking to someone, there is a stop/start process that goes on in the brain. That start/stop/start process is rough on us: rather than saving time, it costs time (even very small micro seconds), it’s less efficient, we make more mistakes, and over time it can be energy sapping,” wrote Dr. Nancy K. Napier in an article that appeared in Psychology Today.
Because tech has taken over some tasks that previously were performed by hand, focusing on getting as much done as possible is no longer necessary, opening the door to honing one’s creative spark. Creative is not only more fulfilling, it is also an area that won’t become automated any time soon.
Tech has also changed the way we learn. The age of digital has put so much information at our fingertips that memorization has become less important that problem-solving and looking at questions in a fresh way.
As tech becomes it easier, it puts less of an age gap between those who are tech savvy and those who are not, forcing workers both young and old to focus more on decision making instead of relying on tech skills to advance.
“It’s not so much what you know about it, but how you use it,” according to leadership expert Patrick Lencioni.
Penske trucks get a ‘confident’ back story in new campaign by The Martin Agency
Midmonth, Penske Trucking unveiled a new ad campaign that was showcased how the company could help elevate the customers with which they do business by offering more efficient, faster services.
The campaign – a comprehensive ad campaign encompassing video, print, digital and social media created by the Richmond-based firm The Martin Agency – was featured in a June 19 story appearing on the marketing website The Drum.
Called “Confidence,” the campaign focuses on Penske’s history, and is unique to the transportation industry.
“The combination of print, digital, and social, give the campaign a cohesive feel from one space to the next, and tells a more complete story of this company – in a way the transportation industry has never seen before,” said Cliff Sorah of The Martin Agency.
B2B JUNE – OFF THE PRESS:
For those who are just getting started on their B2B marketing journey, this release offers an overview designed to help increase sales through better marketing.
Full of tips, including how to bring sales and marketing together, one of the most important aspects of any account-based marketing program, this guide is a quick way to better understand contemporary marketing concepts so they are easier to implement.
This recent release explores how marketing has shifted now that customers control the cards.
Although social media remains an important part of the marketing spectrum, it is more effective as a way to influence buyers’ opinions than as a sales vehicle.
Social media is where businesses can establish themselves as “reliable sources of information,” says Fleischmann, and create a reputation that exudes credibility, making it more likely that customers stay with you throughout the sales journey.
If you’re ready to learn more about the latest in B2B from our B2B June round-up, check out these other articles by True Influence over the past month: