2016 has been an uneven year all round and within B2B marketing we have seen the unfortunate trend of companies either imitating each other or even worse, trying to emulate the efforts of B2C brands with completely different agendas and audiences.
In 2017 we should hope to see the B2B industry stand on its own and elevate marketing efforts that are more fit for purpose and unique to each company.
The consideration period for a product or service is usually in direct correlation to its cost, consumers spend more time researching the different features of a TV than they do their next razor blade. When it comes to a business purchase or expense, the cost may be business budget, the company’s reputation or even someone’s job.
The time invested in research means Content Marketing within the B2B world is a completely different animal to that in B2C marketing.
Little and often maybe a tried and tested formula for FMCG but B2B brands need to ensure their content is meaty, worthwhile and factual if trust is to be created.
In the coming year, we will see a lot of B2B companies jumping on the content marketing band wagon but successful strategies will be focussed on target audiences’ needs and the creation of well researched, well structured, relevant content.
Stop trying to make your company Buzzfeed, write about what you know, it’s a lot more interesting than you think.
ABM is a B2B marketing approach which has been around for more than 10 years particularly within larger businesses who may have single accounts (or potential accounts) so demanding and lucrative they necessitate whole teams to service them.
If your business structure does not allow for full campaigns that focus on just one account, think about the main sectors your clients work in and market toward their needs and issues. The start of the year is a great time to really get into your annual marketing plan and give a theme to each month of the year. Think about which markets you want to focus on and when. Consider how can you capitalise on seasonality and what markets tend to require your services at certain times of the year.
You should also think about having a spring clean of you CRM database, this way you can nurture target audiences through email and re-targeting based on industry-specific marketing
Create an annual marketing plan based on the industries your clients work in, not necessarily your own sector.
Research shows that B2B businesses tend to get the best results from LinkedIn and Twitter which shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to anyone. You have the business dialogue and mind-set from LinkedIn and the real-time nature of Twitter, what more could you want from your business social platforms?
In the coming year, it would also be prudent to consider setting up a YouTube account if you don’t already have one. This doesn’t mean you now have to invest a full video content marketing strategy for the coming year as a lot of companies may not be able to afford one and it may not even be necessary for your company or industry. A YouTube account is handy to have to house any existing or upcoming video content.
Slideshare is also a particularly effective platform for sharing big pieces of content such as conference presentations, internal presentations and even research and white papers.
Research from the Data & Marketing Association shows us which platforms businesses are using to promote their content:
The big word for 2016 in social media advertising was remarketing, 2017 will see the emergence of B2B utilising remarketing in a big way. In 2015, advertisers spent $23.68 billion on paid social media advertising. By 2017, that number should increase by 33.5% to $35.98 billion according to eMarketer.
Twitter have really pushed the boat out with their remarketing capabilities since the launch of their website tags in 2014 and with all Twitter products it’s really simple to set up with the user-friendly interface and this a plethora of supportive documentation on their site.
Although LinkedIn advertising tools are still somewhat rudimental in comparison to their counterparts, you can expect to see a healthy cost per impression and meaningful traffic from your click throughs (even if your CPC is a little pricey).
Make sure that you pick platforms that are fit for purpose and keep your social media meaningful and professional, you’re not UNILAD. This doesn’t mean you can’t show some personality, just make sure it’s on-brand and relevant.
With a lot of businesses, growth depends on internal buy in, especially if the company is very sales team heavy. Inspiring and motivating your staff so they really buy into your brand can be as much of a struggle as external marketing.
Consider setting up social media platforms just for your staff, allow them to show you what they think the personality of the business is and allow them to help that personality grow.
Encourage your staff to gain a vested interest in the content you’re producing for your company by championing members of staff through thought-pieces and interviews, it’s great for team moral and for your content strategy.
Make your staff your biggest marketing asset through effective and inspirational internal comms.