The business-to-business marketing industry is constantly changes, meaning B2B marketers have to always stay on their toes. Knowing what to expect can help you do that. Do you know what to look out for in 2018? Here are the B2B marketing trends you do not want to miss.
1. A Focus on Customer Experience
Every business needs to make their customers happy, but that will likely become an even bigger focus in 2018. Customer-centric marketing has already permeated the B2C industry and is now making its way into B2B. We’ll likely see more personalization and a greater emphasis on customer service as today’s increasingly global and internet-driven world gives customers seemingly endless choices.
2. Data-Driven Technologies
Another trend that’s spreading across a wide range of industries is big data. Businesses now have access to more information about their audience than ever before, which they can use to optimize their interactions with them. Business can collect big data and then use artificial intelligence to sort through it for useful insights into customer behaviors and expectations. Then, they can even use automated technologies, such as chatbots, to interact with customers.
3. Visual Content Marketing
Visual marketing, pictures, infographics and especially videos, are the future of content marketing. By 2019, 80 percent of online traffic is projected to be from video. Research has also shown that more open emails that include videos than those that don’t, that more people watch to the end of the video than read to the end of a blog post and that people understand and remember information better when it’s presented in visual form.
4. Influencer Marketing
Here’s another one that’s taken hold among B2C marketers and is now traveling into the B2B realm. In influencer marketing, a business works with someone who has a substantial online following. They influencer might post about the company’s product, create content in coordination with the brand or otherwise promote it.
This person could be a full-fledged celebrity or a micro-influencer, someone who might have fewer online followers than a celeb but more than the average user and those they do have are loyal and see them as knowledgeable about a certain topic.
5. Experiential Marketing
Marketing is now less about presenting your audience with information and more about creating an experience for them. B2B marketing will increasingly allow prospects to try out products before purchasing, sometimes through the use of technologies such as virtual reality or pop-up events. Interaction will also become more important, again sometimes through technologies such as live video.
6. Mobile Marketing
In late 2016, B2B companies that sell online surpassed the halfway mark for the portion of companies with responsive web designs, which allow websites to display just as well as on mobile as they would on desktop. This was in response to the fact that so much web traffic was shifting to mobile devices. That trend continues today. 2018 may be the year that B2B companies start thinking mobile first and begin creating initial designs with mobile in mind and then expanding them to work on desktop.
7. Social Media Shifts
LinkedIn has long been the social media choice of B2B marketers. That tide seems to be shifting though. Social Media Examiner’s latest industry report shows that Facebook has overtaken LinkedIn as the site that B2B professionals say is the most important for them. Facebook now has the top spot in that category, much like it does in the B2C sector.
Facebook is also the most used site among B2B companies, followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest. LinkedIn and Twitter remain more popular among B2B than B2C, YouTube has about the same usage across both industries while B2C favors Instagram and Pinterest more than B2B does.
Are you ready for the next big thing in B2B marketing? If you’ve incorporated these seven trends into your 2018 plans, you very well may be. Be sure to keep on your toes, though, because this coming year is sure to bring some surprises too.