B2B marketers are faced with with new challenges today because of the transition to the digital marketplace. When that challenge can be effectively met, then there is an excellent chance that better strategies to reach specific customer segments will be achieved. By taking a look at these B2B digital marketing trends, ineffective marketing practices can be eliminated so that a competitive advantage can be consistently seen.
The Goal of Digital Marketing Must Be Realized
Although B2B digital marketing can be used for any customer segment, it is primarily used for new customer acquisition. Branding and lead nurturing are also important components to include in this digital marketing trend, but growing current accounts is not nearly as important as finding new accounts.
Why focus primarily on new customers with digital marketing? Information is the currency that is used today. Digital information is easy to access and provides leads with a value proposition that they can access on their own. A company’s digital presence gives a B2B lead the chance to do 90% of the sales work on their own. When they are sales-ready, then the lead approaches you to conclude the sale. This means your job becomes easier: just close the deal.
Organic Results Are Better Than Paid Results
PPC marketing campaigns, banner ads, and other paid display content are all effective tools that can be used, but they aren’t part of the modern digital marketing trend. Above anything else, social media marketing is dominating the digital landscape today. This is because there is no better way to interact with multiple leads in a 1-on-1 atmosphere.
The leaving of a comment of a Facebook page has become equal to the old “I’m checking in on you to see what you need” phone call that was used in the past. The engagement forms tighter relationship bonds, even though the contact is 100% digital in nature. When this engagement is combined with optimization so that results come from organic searches, longer lasting relationships are formed. Leads see value in the interactions and this value leads to sales.
Real Content Is an Ongoing Trend
Beginning in 2013, B2B marketers noticed a trend that continues today: original content provides bigger results. Moving forward, digital marketing is going to include multiple forms of original content so that leads can interact marketers in several different ways.
- Domains will have evergreen content on static pages that will bring leads deeper into the sales funnel.
- Blogs will provide expanded niche expertise to prove a competitive advantage.
- Proof of concept data will allow marketers to provide evidence of value.
There’s no getting around the fact that information is what fuels the modern economy. You’re always going to get what you provide others. If the content that is provided is fake, spun, or inaccurate, then this will reflect badly on your brand. Content that is segmented to each B2B market, on the other hand, will communicate specific digital messages that leads are wanting to see.
Content will need to take on two important concepts moving forward in the digital era: it must have thought leadership and it must be needs-based. Thought leadership can only come when an effort has been made to understand what customer segments desire and an emphasis of innovation has been incorporated into the words, graphics, and videos. Being needs-based means that the B2B customer will feel like the content has been provided for them instead of being provided for the individual or business who wrote it.
How Will Successes Be Measured in Digital Marketing?
With current B2B digital marketing trends, the success metrics may not actually chart as much success as many might think. The most popular measurement of success being used to day are click-thrus. This outranks page views, the number of inquiries that are made, or even the amount of revenue that is generated. Traditional metrics, such as program ROI, barely even make the Top 10 of metrics that are used for digital success tracking.
The problem with measuring click-thrus as the top measurement of success is that it doesn’t really measure success. Having a lot of CTRs might make a business feel good, but it is very possible to have a lot of CTRs and not a lot of revenues. A more effective metric as digital marketing moves forward would be to measure the cost per conversion.
Cost per conversion brings in the CTR data that is important, but also accounts for the number of actual sales and their value. This metric will let businesses know more precisely how much revenue is coming in compared to costs so that marketing can be adjusted to focus on strengths more than weaknesses.
The Type of B2B Lead Will Become Even More Important
Ask the average B2B salesperson what their primary focus is on their leads and you’ll generally receive two points of emphasis before any others: the title of the contact person and the industry the company happens to be in at the time. Although prospect title is considered the most important criteria to recognize from a lead generation standpoint, the one that holds the most value is targeting the appropriate industry first.
Think about it: having a decision-maker on the line is important. Having a decision-maker in your targeted industry is even more important.
The B2B digital marketing trends are also going to bring a greater focus on the personal relationship that is developed. Instead of looking at vertical markets, enterprise segments, or geographies, the relationship that has been formed through lead nurturing is going to become the top point of emphasis to achieve future increases. This is because people, even in the B2B world, are brand loyal when a proper foundation has been laid.
What Will Be the Greatest Challenge Moving Forward?
For most B2B opportunities in the future, digital marketing is going to create a lack of trained staff. Resources and technology can always be found, but the digital talents of the staff are going to be lacking. Education is important, but so is experience. This is especially true when it comes to the world of content creation.
Writers can only create content about what they know. Without experience, there is no authenticity. Without authenticity, there is no real way to build a relationship with B2B leads. Content seems without thought at best and hypocritical at worst.
Tracking results will also be a challenge in the future with digital marketing. As segments become more refined, the amount of data will expand. Although the overall data will always be accessible, the segment specific data will need manpower to review and adjust as needed.
By knowing what the B2B digital trends are going to be and what the challenges will be in matching practices with trends, all businesses will have the chance to foster better leads that can eventually lead to better revenues.