4 B2B Marketing Trends to Utilize in 2018
Believe it or not, 2018 is here and it is time to implement your marketing plan for the year. While some trends may be a bit out of reach for your company, like artificial intelligence, here are four B2B marketing trends that most marketers should take advantage of this year.
1. Customer-centric Marketing & Personalized Content
In 2018, more companies will be focusing more on their customers. Often brands get caught up in the daily tasks of business and forget to truly focus on their customers’ wants and needs. The customer should always be the primary consideration and your marketing strategy and tactics should be designed to serve them.
With a customer-focused approach comes the rise of personalization. This goes beyond emails with the customer or prospective customer’s name in the opening. Personalized content means delivering the right content to your target audience at the right moment along their path of the customer journey. This is important for all brands, but particularly for business-to-business. In fact, 75 percent of B2B consumers expect companies to send them personalized offers and information. If a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications, then 65 percent of consumers are likely to switch to another company.
The first step to customer-centric marketing and personalized content is to align your overall marketing strategy and content strategy with the customer journey.
70 percent of B2B marketers expect to increase content creation in 2018. This is due to the fact that 70 percent of people would rather learn about a company through articles rather than advertising. It is important to make sure that the content isn’t created for the sake of placement, but that the content connects with the target audience on an emotional level through storytelling.
Storytelling can do three things: 1) stand out from the other marketing messages bombarding your audience, 2) differentiate your brand, and 3) deepen the brand-customer relationship. Studies show that B2B buyers are twice as likely to consider a brand if they connect with it on an emotional level as opposed to being sold on its business or functional value.
3. Explainer Videos
Video content will continue to be a popular and effective tactic in 2018 because it fosters high engagement rates. This year, it is expected that more companies will utilize explainer videos or videos that explain a product or service through audio/visual media.
Explainer videos will be particularly popular in the healthcare industry because they allow companies to communicate complicated ideas and educate their audience in a highly engaging way. When provided an option, customers are four times more likely to watch a video than read text on a website, particularly if there are unfamiliar words and concepts.
4. LinkedIn Marketing & Advertising
LinkedIn will continue to be the most effective social media channel for connecting business professionals. Studies show that 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn, and 94% of B2B marketing professionals use LinkedIn to distribute content.
This year, we will see the platform become a greater priority as LinkedIn rolls out more features that allow brands to connect with decision-makers in their industry. Expected early in 2018, the platform’s customer lead-generation solution, Sales Navigator, will be integrated with the Campaign Manager to allow brands to “precisely target the accounts and leads their sales team is pursuing”, according to LinkedIn Sales Solutions head of products Doug Camplejohn.
Videos made their way to LinkedIn in August 2017 and video posts in the LinkedIn feed were shared 20 times more than other content. By second quarter of 2018, brands will be able to use videos in their advertising as well, which is expected to be highly effective.
These aren’t the only trends you’ll see in 2018. Our 4 trends you should consider in 2017 will still be just as relevant this year as they were last year, so don’t forget to weave them into your 2018 plans as well.