The marketing landscape never stays the same for very long.
Every year, B2B marketers will see old trends evolve and new
strategies emerge. Disruptions like machine learning and artificial
intelligence are changing the way B2B buyers interact with brands
online. With so many tools to choose from, picking the perfect
strategy is a difficult challenge. In fact, choosing just one
strategy isn’t enough anymore. Businesses must have the ability
to stay agile and choose a mix of tools and strategies that improve
the buying experience.
These strategies can support your B2B sales and marketing goals
in 2019 and beyond:
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 trends
report, 78 percent of B2B marketers said they
currently used content marketing, and the most successful
marketers were more likely to have a well-documented strategy. Top
performers said that the two biggest benefits of thorough
documentation are better alignment around common goals and more
effective decision making around which types of content to
The CMI also found that the majority of B2B content marketers
leveraged educational assets to nurture leads and build audience
trust, which is essential for inbound marketing. Adding content
that encourages audience participation and community building could
augment the impact of educational assets. For example, an
informational blog post could link to an interactive quiz that
tests the reader’s knowledge.
In addition to blogs, whitepapers and other written assets,
effective content strategies include other types of media, such as
podcasts, infographics and videos. In fact, video marketing is
quickly becoming a powerhouse strategy in its own right. Compared
with other media formats, users everywhere favor video-based
Consider repurposing articles, graphics and case studies as
videos to gain additional engagement. Not everyone who visits your
website wants or has the time to read an entire blog post.
Repurposed content expands the reach of your messages by
creating a unified customer experience.
A mix of content also supports account-based digital marketing
efforts, which often require content tailored to several decision
makers within the same organisation. For example, a whitepaper that
covers technical details can appeal to a CTO and a concise video
may be more engaging for a busy CEO.
B2B marketers have utilised email marketing since the inception
of the internet, but that doesn’t mean it’s an antiquated tool.
Over the years, email marketing strategies and the technology that
drives them have evolved significantly. It’s still one of the
best ways to connect with cold leads, existing customers, and
everyone in between.
Enterprise-class email marketing platforms leverage powerful
automation tools to segment audiences and
produce hyper-personalised messages programmatically. When
combined with killer content, email marketing automation drives
audience engagement. For example, marketers can develop triggered
routines that dispatch relevant email content when users download a
whitepaper, abandon a shopping cart, or perform some other
trackable action on a website.
Research from Constant Contact revealed that
the average email open rate is 15.75 percent for all
industries, with a click-through rate of 7.63 percent. This
highlights the importance of subject lines and content. On one
effective email subject line makes clicking irresistible to
target readers. Questions, calls to action, time-sensitive offers
and even nonsequiturs can encourage readers to open a message.
On the other hand, engaging email content satisfies the
reader’s initial curiosity and draws them in with a relevant
appeal. The type of marketing appeal that is most compelling will
depend on the needs of your target audience. Marketing Land
contributor Kyle Henderick noted that
interactive content can improve engagement rates by
personalising the experience or providing entertainment. For
example, polling customers about a recent brand interaction can
generate data to support the continued improvement of the buyer
When customers need support, the last thing they want to hear
from an automated phone service is, “Please call back between the
hours of nine and five….” It’s frustrating and it harms the
business’ relationship with new and returning customers. Hiring
an international call center could solve the issue, but brings
about its own set of challenges, not to mention the increased
expense. This is where intelligent chatbots can come to the rescue.
In fact, Business Insider reported that 80 percent of businesses
already use or
plan to use chatbots by 2020.
Chatbots can answer frequently asked questions almost instantly,
which can save human resources for more complex customer
interactions. Likewise, chatbots can nurture new leads and hand
them off to sales staff when they have matured. As part of an
inbound marketing strategy, chatbots can engage readers after they
view your content.
Research from Gartner indicates that 50 percent of
enterprises will spend more on chatbots than on traditional app
development by 2021. Integrating chatbots throughout a business’s
website, apps and social media profiles can provide many of the
benefits of an omnichannel experience. Organisations need to
integrate chatbots carefully and with their customers’ needs in
mind. Our research found that, although many people have interacted
with bots, the majority of users
only find them somewhat helpful.
Fewer fractured interactions and more consistency between
communication platforms can improve the customer’s comfort level
with a brand. It’s like seeing your favorite barista at another
coffee shop across town – you’ll get your order exactly the way
you like it, without having to explain it all over again.
For B2B marketers, Facebook remains
the most important social channel, according to data from
Statista. Compared with other channels, Facebook offers robust
targeting options that allow marketers to optimise their spend and
focus on segments that are most likely to generate leads. Facebook
also allows marketers to harness the power of the social media
giant’s extensive database by leveraging lookalike audiences –
users who have exhibited online behaviors similar to your
customers, but who have not yet shown an interest in your specific
product or service.
Social media remains an effective way to humanise brands. B2B
marketing centers around human interactions, but communication is
often stymied by the realities of corporate life. Important leads
may be difficult to communicate with if they’re always in
meetings, for example. Social media offers an alternative route
where buyers and sellers can let their hair down and discuss topics
that can drive value for both parties.
B2B marketers can utilise local inventory ads that show users
stock availability and driving distances. So if a user is ready to
buy your product immediately, a PPC ad at the top of the search
engine results page can show them the fastest and most efficient
way to make a purchase. Both Bing and Google offer this
Keywords are likely to become less important, as PPC networks
leverage machine learning algorithms to include variants of exact
matches. This is good news for marketers, who can write fewer
keyword-bloated snippets and more content that speaks directly to
target audience needs. For example, if an ad targets the keyword
“NSW camping”, the network will match the ad with queries such
as “NSW campground” or “campsites in NSW”, but not the
query “NSW hotel” because the search intention is
This intelligent system makes it easier for marketers to
distribute their ads to a wider target audience while maintaining
relevance. Combined with robust analytics support, PPC ads can
drive site traffic and lead generation. Likewise, PPC networks
support marketing automation by maximising the marketing team’s
Remarketing represents any tactic that attempts to
engage potential customers after an initial interaction.
Retargeting, however, refers to a specific marketing strategy that
These concepts are now highly important, as it generally takes
six and eight touches to develop a viable sales lead, according
Remarketing tactics supported by a content strategy can improve
a brand’s ability to engage customers throughout the buying
process. For example, if customers view articles on a brand’s
website, then leave and visit other sites around the web, a dynamic
remarketing network can remind them about their previous interest
and encourage them to take a further action. Best of all,
remarketing fits perfectly into a digital marketing automation
programme because these campaigns run unaided after they are
The Google Display network reaches over 2
million websites and mobile apps, which means if your customers
are online, they’re likely exposed to remarketed display ads.
Unlike almost any other B2B marketing strategy in this article,
remarketing gives your brand the ability to engage with your
content even when they aren’t on a site or social media profile
Analytical models leverage massive amounts of data to generate
value for the marketing team. Rather than guessing at what
potential customers want and do online, analytics reports show
exactly how they interact with digital assets. For instance,
marketers can use analytics to view customer behaviors across
channels and then adjust the buyer journey to optimise engagement.
With hard data to back up their efforts, B2B stakeholders can
develop marketing campaigns with more confidence.
Considering the benefits analytics brings to the table, it may
surprise you to learn that a May 2018 report from Forrester found
only 52 percent of B2B marketing decisions are driven by data.
The report also noted that B2B customers have rising expectations
and marketers are struggling to provide product and service
knowledge at the right moment. Today, there are more purchase
decision makers in many organisations and buying paths are
Considering the complex nature of these challenges, it’s clear
that a machine-driven approach is necessary to meet customer
expectations. The average
percent of marketing budgets allocated to analytics is expected to
increase from 6.7 percent in 2018 to 21.3 percent in 2021.
Early adoption of this trend could set businesses apart from their
Answering the question “Where are my customers?” becomes
more difficult with each passing year. Are B2B buyers consuming
content on mobile or desktop? Do they prefer face-to-face meetings
or teleconferences? There are many more questions like these, and
none have easy answers. The simplest, and most frustrating,
response is that they’re everywhere. That makes multichannel B2B
marketing strategies more important than ever.
Multichannel marketing campaigns require more resources, but the
value they generate can more than make up for the additional spend.
Data from Accenture revealed that multichannel customers are
15 percent more profitable than digital-only customers and 25
percent more profitable than customers who only interact with sales
staff. For organisations that leverage account-based marketing,
multichannel is essential because different stakeholders within an
organisation may prefer certain channels.
Accenture also noted that 90 percent of B2B leaders
believe customer experience is critical to their
organisation’s strategic priorities. Channel integration supports
this goal by providing consistent experiences throughout the buyer
journey. An excellent omnichannel experience not only integrates
marketing and sales, but also customer support and product
development. Each channel supports the others with personalised
Companies have been optimising content for mobile platforms for
several years, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down.
According to Cisco, mobile data traffic will increase sevenfold
between 2017 and 2022, growing twice as fast as fixed IP
Considering the diminishing size of desktop traffic, it’s
clear why many B2B leaders are shifting to a mobile-first marketing
strategy. Putting emphasis on mobile during the development stage
gives internal stakeholders the time and resources to make
exceptional experiences that feel fluid on smartphones and tablets.
Mobile prioritisation also supports an effective SEO strategy, as
Google announced last year
its commitment to mobile-first indexing, which means it uses
the mobile version of a webpage for ranking.
SEO expert and Search Engine Journal contributor Brian Harnish
recently suggested that
the days of separate mobile websites is over. Thanks to modern
responsive design, a single website can automatically optimise
itself for whatever device accesses it. Harnish noted that
responsive design eliminates the risk of duplicate content that
could negatively impact search engine rankings. Plus, it conforms
to the idea that consumers crave consistency. Seeing a completely
different version of a brand’s site on mobile can be confusing,
and it disrupts the user experience.
When you think of influencer marketing, you might picture
Instagram models and YouTubers who pitch products to consumer
audiences. B2C influencer campaigns are certainly more prevalent
online – but that doesn’t mean this marketing strategy isn’t
working in the B2B space.
Altimeter’s Future of Influencer Marketing report found that
B2B marketers lag behind their B2C colleagues in the
implementation of influencer strategies. About half of all B2B
influencer programs are in an experimental stage, with 36 percent
leveraging a campaign-driven approach. In other words, there’s a
lot of room to stand out in this channel at the moment.
It’s important to understand what to look for in an
influencer. Marketing Land contributor Michael Brito suggested
looking for influencers who can offer four key benefits:
Reach: Does the influencer have a large
Relevance: Does the influencer regularly
discuss topics relevant to your brand?
Resonance: Do users frequently engage with the
Reference: Has the influencer made valuable
contacts with other relevant influencers? Do they boost each
In the B2B market, influencers can lend thought leadership and
professional credibility to a brand’s product and service
offerings. When buyers see someone they respect talking about the
benefits of an offering, they may be inclined to learn more.
Sales team and marketing team alignment
Traditionally, sales and marketing teams have been siloed from
one another. The marketing team develops messaging and content that
nurtures and generates leads for the sales team; then, the sales
department qualifies those leads and closes sales. However, it just
isn’t that simple anymore.
B2B buyers are highly informed today; they have access to nearly
all the world’s knowledge in the palm of their hand. So when they
ask a question, why should they listen to your answer? You have to
convince empowered decision-makers that your brand is the authority
on the subject. And perhaps more importantly, you have to ensure
that your answer is engaging.
To develop a truly customer-centric user experience, your
marketing and sales teams must be in alignment. The last thing you
want is for your marketing collateral to promise something your
sales representatives can’t fulfill. But even on a more granular
level, alignment between these teams can improve your digital
marketing ROI. When your sales representatives make contact with
qualified leads, they can get right to each customer’s needs if
the representatives have a complete picture of every interaction
customers have with your brand. For example, if the rep knows a
lead has recently read a case study, he or she can discuss it
further with the client and skip the low-level details.
Besides adding more meetings to everyone’s schedules, what are
some ways to create more alignment between sales and marketing?
Integrating digital workflows is a good place to start. A shared
promotions calendar can ensure everyone has the same talking
points, for example.
A formalised content creation process facilitates a high level
of alignment by developing routines that ensure cross-pollination
of ideas. Integrating more teams in this process may actually
enhance your ability to conceive a cohesive sales funnel. For
instance, when your development team adds a new feature to your
digital product, stakeholders from that team can work with sales
and marketing to ensure everyone fully understands its
Unlike some other marketing metrics, brand awareness is
difficult to quantify, yet 89 percent of marketers say it is their
most important goal,
placing it ahead of lead generation, according to the Content
Marketing Institute. For B2B marketers, brand awareness is
important because prospects often require multiple impressions or
engagements before they’ll reach out to the sales team.
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