Seven B2B Marketing Trends to Watch in 2017
Marketing Innovation. Business Adaptability. There’s a famous Darwin quote…
It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.
Nowhere is this truer than in our digital age. The ability to suddenly change course in areas like technology — as well as facilitate sudden shifts in organisational culture when necessary — will differentiate the winners from the losers in 2017.
Take Amazon for example. The company recently announced Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh, the company’s foray into online groceries, an attempt to go head to head with Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Ocado. Amazon is without a doubt one of the world’s most adaptable businesses, reshaping itself to grow with the technological advancements that happen around it.
Experts predict that by the end of 2017 the company will have gained significant market share on its established rivals in the grocery sector.
Big Data and Analytics to Craft User Experience
Your organisation has probably not even scratched the surface in utilising the vast array of data available. You are not alone. But that is changing fast. Big data is probably the biggest trend for 2017 and the years ahead.
Information about how your customers think and behave — as well as what they want — is now easier to access than ever, and smart business leaders and marketers are learning how to benefit from it. Every action can be measured and there are myriad ways data can be used to improve user experience.
Tools like Google’s Analytics 360 Suite now provide real-time data on customer behaviour and trends. There is no longer a need to guess when the technology can tell you that your customers love X but hate Y. Whether it means investing in training your staff, hiring a new in-house digital operations guru, or outsourcing with a marketing agency for digital expertise, now is the time to get on the big data train — or get left at the station.
The Marketing Automation Generation
The dizzying array of steps involved in planning and executing a good marketing campaign cannot consistently occur without automation. Whether it’s email marketing based on your customers’ behaviours and what they do on your website, or personalised web pages with specific offers for every individual, automation is key to making it all do-able.
The problem is, most businesses don’t have the tech-savvy to understand the difference between marketing automation and CRM, or realise that there are hybrid platforms that bring them together. The learning curve on this technology is no small challenge, so if your staff aren’t positioned to stay on the cutting edge of technological advances in digital marketing, start working with an agency that is.
Modern-Day Search Engine Optimisation and Pay Per Click
The mobile marketing landscape will be critical for businesses in 2017. With all the brouhaha over Google’s rollout of new mobile-specific search algorithms and ever-evolving Pay Per Click technologies focused on mobile search and apps, keeping your business at the tips of your customer’s fingertips will mean keeping your business on the cutting edge of Search technology. Websites will need to be mobile responsive (with no excuses not to this year), and campaigns will need to be optimised for the myriad of different devices.
Better Content Marketing
The idea of B2B content marketing, when it first emerged, was closely linked with SEO. Marketers hired copywriters to churn out page after page, and the fairy godmother of good content, search engines and keywords magically saw to it that your business rose in the rankings.
Unfortunately, like most trends in digital marketing, those who got on the band wagon early benefited most. Then the trend of content marketing led to a glut of information on the information superhighway, so much so that users now feel overwhelmed and want to run when they see an ocean of text. That has led us to a deluge of infographics and interactive content apps.
Perhaps one of the biggest trends in 2017, however, will involve assessing the value and ROI of your content and its delivery mechanisms. Especially when you take into consideration the shifting sands of analytics tech.
Conversion Rate Optimisation
If 100,000 visitors are coming to website each month how many do you expect to convert into paying customers? 1%? 4% 10%? You simply have no idea?
Unfortunately, some organisational leaders and their marketing staff are still trying to grasp the basic nuances of CRO, and some are still trying to differentiate CRO from SEO! It’s sort of like explaining to Americans that Great Britain and England are not the same thing.
In a nutshell, even if you get SEO down to an art form, it’s only part of the package. Just because you wrangle a blind date with the girl of your dreams doesn’t mean she’s going to marry you. Getting to yes is as good a definition of CRO as any. How that happens in today’s digitally-complex environment is constantly changing. Using big data to shape a positive user experience at every level of the funnel is part of it. Where SEO is science, CRO is art.
Targeted Digital Advertising
In the world of digital advertising, everything can be targeted. You can advertise your dynamite to Wily Coyote in a digital banner ad minutes after he typed “How to Kill a Roadrunner” into Google. Suddenly, when he goes on Facebook, you can make sure he’s constantly seeing nothing but dynamite ads.
Or maybe you just built an expensive widget for widget lovers. You can place digital ads that target only widget lovers who make over £200K. If you can imagine it, today’s digital advertising can do it. The problem is, most businesses have no concept of what is possible today that wasn’t possible yesterday.
The theme for 2017 is about staying ahead of the learning curve on what is do-able and what is being done by your competitors. When it comes to B2B marketing strategy, don’t just roll the dice and take your chances out there. For more information contact us on 01635 800868.