2016 was and exciting year, full of new developments and capabilities for B2B marketers. Taking a look back, we gathered together our Top 10 most popular articles from the year; articles that dish out advice and insight, along with information to help you do your jobs more effectively.
As our final post for the year, we say goodbye to 2016, looking forward to a new year of possibilities for 2017.
Enjoy – and Happy New Year!
#1 Top B2B Social Media Case Studies for 2016
Some of the leaders in the B2B marketing world took advantage of the vast amount of traffic on social media to use it to help draw attention to their brands.
In this post, we looked at some of the smartest B2B uses of social media, including Lockheed Martin’s viral video about the role of the company’s advanced technology in future endeavors, which featured trips to Mars. “Engineering a Better Tomorrow” garnered 2.3 million views.
Another great social media campaign came from the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based company CSX, which with the help of their ad agency MullenLowe created a sitcom-inspired story with cartoon characters to showcase how the intermodal shipping company worked. The charming campaign was so effective that it was shared by a competitor, according to a CXS spokesperson.
On social media, PricewaterhouseCooper also struck gold with its campaign about the BallotBriefcase used to transport the names of the Oscar winners to the Academy Awards. The company created a campaign centered completely around the briefcase in an effective effort to draw a younger demographic to the Oscars.
#2 The Top 5 B2B Trends for 2016
In this July blog post, we looked at some of the key ways B2B marketers were advertising their companies, and found that micro segmentation – creating personalized marketing campaigns aimed at one or two different businesses – is one of the hottest marketing trends right now.
Micro segmentation is personalized – you’ve tracked the company’s movement so you know what their interests are – so marketing materials such as content or whitepapers are more likely to get noticed.
Its place as a B2B marketing trend is no surprise given the rise in account-based marketing (also trending), which focuses on outbound marketing but is also applicable to inbound marketing campaigns. ABM markets to specific accounts, allowing you to build a dream business portfolio, one prospect at a time.
Also trending in B2B marketing is interactive content, which encourages your potential prospect to engage with your marketing materials, something that allows them to get to know your company’s product or service better.
Video marketing was one of the hottest B2B marketing trends of 2016, and it is only expected to get hotter, but also attracting attention is advocacy marketing, as businesses look at how they can take a stand on issues and make a difference, which gives them a stronger, more recognizable voice and will help them attract like-minded businesses.
#3 True Influence® Sales Summit 2016 — an Inside Look
For those who weren’t at the Account-Based Marketing Sales Summit in Puerto Rico, this post takes readers behind the scenes, showcasing how we at True Influence used the Summit to educate and bring together our growing team.
“We are seeing a big trend towards marketers looking to integrate external data with the intelligence they are gathering from their own internal campaigns,” according to Andrew Gaffney, editorial director of the digital publication Demand Gen Report, which focuses on customer acquisition strategies. “Our research shows many organizations are focusing on more targeted initiatives such as Account-Based Marketing (ABM), so platforms such as InsightBASE® that can help them build a more complete picture of their customers and prospects, will be critically important to these initiatives.”
#4 The Dawn of Fact-Based Account Marketing
According to 2015 numbers from Sirius Decisions, while the majority of B2B businesses recognize the power of account-based marketing, only 20 percent of them had programs in place to gather useful data.
That suggests that while businesses acknowledge that targeting the companies they want in their portfolios and developing marketing especially for them is a smart way to create long-lasting business relationships, they are still trapped in old-school thinking of determining buyer personas and are putting all their proverbial eggs in that basket.
Our blog post from March showcases how our InsightBASE marketing platform and its vast database of information helps identify prospects by showing businesses who their target audience is, based on their online activity.
It also shows how using data analysis as the basis for ABM is overall a more effective way to not only secure new businesses, but also to keep them.
#5 The Pros and Cons of Marketing Automation
For B2B businesses, marketing is one of the biggest obstacles, in part because the target audiences for such businesses are so refined, but also because they are often facing stiff competition in a narrow field.
While an expensive investment, automated marketing can help business better target potential prospects by offering key information about which companies are interested in their product or service, based on online activity.
Marketing automation brings together key data that serves as a guide for marketers – if they’re able to read the intent signals® properly. That means having educated marketers on board who can decipher the analytics and use them in a beneficial way.
Our post weighs the pros and cons of marketing automation, ultimately finding that the pros far outweigh the cons, making it something you should put on your budget wish list if you haven’t already.
#6: Business Intelligence Conferences: Where You Should Be in 2016 & 2017
Business intelligence is a growing industry, so it’s no surprise that conferences bringing a wide range of experts together are springing up from coast to coast.
This informative post rounds up some of the upcoming conferences addressing business intelligence, giving contact information and other inside scoops so you can determine which conference is right for your marketing team this year.
Events are set in Chicago, Austin, Las Vegas and Washington, D.C., among other places, so there is likely a conference that will connect you with the right experts on the horizon.
#7: 10 B2B Email Marketing Examples That Get Results
One of the biggest challenges for B2B marketers using email as a way to attract potential prospects is getting noticed.
This post showcases a variety of different email types, from the introductory email to the interesting content email, along with ways to make your emails more appealing, by personalizing them to a specific business or person at the business, for example, or by providing solutions to problems you know your prospect faces, based on intent signals and other data.
If email is one of your key marketing tools, you need to read this informative post.
#8: The Do’s and Don’ts of Account Based Marketing
As more businesses look at innovative ways to create a business portfolio filled with their dream logos, account-based marketing is helping them reach or exceed their sales potential.
At its core, ABM is intimate, and requires a great deal of effort on the part of marketing departments who may have previously taken a one-size-fits-all approach to campaigns. It requires marketing campaigns that target each potential prospect in ways that especially meet its needs. But the work is worth it, because ABM brings together sales and marketing, creating more unity between departments, an especially smart approach given the key roles each department plays, since both become more invested in the sale.
#9: Trending in 2016: Online Video Marketing in B2B
Our studies on marketers interests this year repeatedly placed Video Marketing in the Top 3. Many companies choose to showcase themselves through video, sometimes introducing key employees to give an insider look into a business, other times crafting a video that essentially explains the company and its product or service.
Video marketing has become one of the top trends of 2016 in part because of the epic rise in YouTube, where many B2B marketers have set up shop in anticipation of growth.
According to research, videos in emails help boost click-through rates, and ultimately, conversions, because it is an approachable way to tell your brand’s story. Videos are especially appealing to millennials, who have come of age watching influencers on all areas of social media, so it allows you to reach a younger demographic as well.
“We’ve seen a big increase in brands relying on video for their B2B marketing and internal messaging – whether at conferences, in business pitches and training sessions, or simply sent via email,” said Adrian Burger, creative director at Blink Tower, which makes short, animated videos to help introduce companies and their product or service.
This blog looks at some of the smartest ways to use video as a marketing tool, and addresses what information to include in your videos, how long to make them, how to best reach people and how to ensure that the material you include enhances your brand.
#10: Hot Marketing Tactics and Tools at Fortune 500 Companies
In an August blog post, we showcase our marketing platform InsightBASE by demonstrating its ability to track intent signals to find out what Fortune 500 companies were researching.
We found that automated marketing was definitely trending, along with the aforementioned video marketing, which is anticipated to be the main method of marketing in coming years, inspired by classic commercials but with a contemporary reach.
We also found that content marketing – one of the best ways to personalize a marketing campaign to meet a specific business’s needs – was also a marketing trend amid the wealthiest American companies.
What the information ultimately provided was a window into what was hot at that moment, and what was fading, allowing marketers to use the right tools to send the right message at the right time, which is the most important aspect of marketing in today’s busy business climate, when so many voices are shouting to be heard.
Knowing what’s hot by viewing intent signaling – the first step most companies take in the buying process, according to experts in the field – allows you to know when customers are ready to buy.