B2B marketing is fast evolving due to how the new generation of B2B buyers prefers to do business.
They want to interact with brands when and where they want, mostly through a variety of digital channels. As savvy consumers, they bring their B2C shopping experience and expectations to their jobs.
Even the "oldie but goodie," such as email marketing, get a facelift every so often thanks to the need to meet fast-changing customer expectations and the availability of new technologies.
The latest B2B marketing trends all aim to create a customer-centric and highly personalized purchasing experience, through delivering relevant content or offers, nurturing relationships, and cultivating loyalty.
Here are the latest marketing trends and what you need to know about them:
Account Based Marketing (ABM)
ABM has become increasingly popular among B2B marketers because it's particularly suited to the long sales cycle and the need to appeal to multiple stakeholders in B2B selling.
Instead of casting a wide net, marketers using ABM strategies focus their resources on cultivating relationships with a clearly defined set of target accounts and use personalized campaigns that speak to the title, role, challenges, and needs of each stakeholder.
To successfully implement ABM, you need to clearly identify and research your accounts, create targeted messaging and content that's relevant to the stakeholders, choose the right channels to distribute and promote your
In addition, make sure you develop a system for sales and marketing to work closely together to maximize sales. When a lead becomes qualified, the close rate is much higher if marketing can pass the prospects to the sales department as quickly as possible.
Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing (SEO and SEM)
An increasing number of B2B buyers are doing their research online before engaging with brands or making purchasing decisions.
In fact, 73% of global traffic to B2B company sites originates from search engines and most researchers rarely go past the first page of Google.
Getting found on search engines has become paramount if you want to get exposure to potential customers when they're at the early stage of their decision-making process, during which you'd have more opportunities to build trust and educate them on your products or services.
To improve SEO, you need first to understand the search terms commonly used by your target market when they're doing their research. Then you can optimize your website using on-site SEO tactics, such as optimizing titles, meta descriptions, header tags, image tags, page load speed, and engagement, to increase your page ranking.
Email marketing has been around for a long time and it's still one of the go-to strategies for B2B marketers. When done right, it can yield an ROI of up to 3,800%!
With today's personalization and marketing automation technologies, email marketing can help deliver highly relevant content and offers to your prospects and customers at the right time in the right place to maximize your profits.
In fact, personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened while 53% of marketers say ongoing, customized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact.
To personalize your emails, you can collect customer data to segment your list, e.g., by title, role, company size, or industry. You can also use behavior triggers to determine what content to send to your audience, e.g., if they click on a link in an email, a separate workflow will be triggered.
Email marketing also plays an integral part in a successful omnichannel marketing plan. Connect your email marketing system to other marketing platforms, such as eCommerce, CRM, or automation, to collect more data points and further personalize your messaging.
Content marketing has been proven as an effective B2B strategy for attracting prospects, nurturing leads, and building relationships with customers.
The use of relevant content targeted to specific customer segments is also an integral part of many marketing strategies, such as ABM, SEO/SEM, and email marketing.
The foundation for implementing an effective B2B content marketing strategy is to have a clear understanding of your audience through the creation of a series of buyer personas that depicts the various stakeholders involved in the decision-making process.
With the buyer personas as the foundation, you can then document the customer journeys and create content maps to identify the most appropriate topics, formats, and distribution channels.
Data-driven marketing is a discipline in which customer information is collected and analyzed to drive decisions from targeted media buying to creative messaging.
Data analytics is gaining a lot of traction not only because of its effectiveness but also thanks to the rising quality and quantity of marketing data made available by the explosive growth of marketing technologies.
Also, the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning means B2B marketers now have the ability to process and extract insights from a significant amount of customer data so they can make informed decisions.
To best leverage all the customer data you have at your disposal, you'll need to set up a data management platform (DMP). It allows you to generate a 360-degree customer profile that can inform the implementation of automation and omnichannel marketing strategies.
To make data-driven marketing work for you, make sure you define the right data to collect and analyze. You should also set relevant KPIs (key performance indicators) to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns.