Top B2B Marketing Trends from 2016

Evolving business trends and technology advancements have raised the stakes for business-to-business (B2B) marketers this year. More businesses are exploring strategies like content marketing, mobile marketing, live video over social media and marketing automation to fuel new leads through the sales funnel. These channels show promise, but can also bring some challenges for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

In a 2015 study of B2B marketers, respondents clearly indicated that their most important marketing objectives were to increase lead generation, improve lead nurturing and increase sales revenue. It’s crucial for SMBs to take a clear look at their current customer base, separate fleeting marketing trends from daily business practices that work, and deliver the goods in order to win over customers. Knowing some of the latest B2B marketing trends for SMBs can help in this regard.

What marketing tactics are working for businesses now? Let’s examine a few trends in business marketing to see if they are a fit for your company’s strategy, direction and budget.

1. Mobile-ready Marketing

Mobile marketing to your customers is probably the single most popular current trend in business marketing. By 2020, the number of mobile broadband networks and smartphone users will be twice what it is today. Mobile commerce is expected to make up nearly a quarter of all digital commerce by 2018. Recommendation: Get your business website mobile-ready.

Recommendation: Not sure how mobile-ready your site currently is? Then take the Google Mobile Friendly test to see how your site stacks up.  Once your site is ready for mobile, add an e-commerce component to it for your B2B customers.

2. Integration of traditional B2B marketing and digital marketing

Another trend is the increasing integration of digital media and technology with traditional B2B marketing efforts. We’re seeing the overlap of digital marketing practices like marketing automation, social media video promotion, content marketing and others combined with white papers, one-sheets, ads, and product brochures.

Recommendation: Evaluate your marketing team to find the right mix of talent to integrate more digital and video aspects into your traditional marketing efforts.

3. Content Marketing

Nearly 90% of businesses are using some form of content marketing today; this includes marketing via a company blog, doing enhanced landing pages, and creating infographics and other digital marketing pieces. With this trend comes more work for B2B marketers. More than half (57%) of B2B marketers are still using print collateral and other traditional marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute. But all of this additional content work is creating additional challenges for B2B marketers. (see below)

 

Recommendation: If your budget allows, find a reliable content marketing expert to handle content creation, while your internal team heads up coordination and strategy.

4. Videos on Social Media

Marketers have been leveraging video content online since 2005, but B2B companies should look to creating and sharing videos on social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in 2017. B2B marketers can take advantage of videos and streaming options to showcase:

  • New product improvements
  • Daily plant operations, and interviews with key line workers
  • Executive interviews
  • Behind-the-scenes tours

More businesses are looking to incorporate live video feeds to highlight work, products and services. Expect to see more live video, around-the-clock video content and branded video journalism among progressive B2B brands in 2017.

Recommendation: Video can help to transform the way you educate customers, but your video production game will need to be on point. Look at hiring a consultant to get you started with video production and development to make this avenue work for your company.

5. Build more creativity in your company

More SMBs are bringing in creative talent to help them discover the boundaries in the digital marketing sandbox. Adding a new voice to internal marketing teams can result in more compelling campaigns and stimulate creativity with your current team members, as well.

Recommendation: Find excellent, creative communicators to uncover the hidden stories in your business and create multiple ways to showcase these gems for your brand and business.

These are some of the trends we’re seeing in B2B marketing among peers. What types of marketing trends have you seen this year in your industry? Leave a note in the comments and tell us what’s working.

Photo Credit: andrewkuttler, Twenty20