Being the week of Thanksgiving, it’s only right that we take the time to think about some of the tactics that we’re most thankful for within the B2B industry.
It’s the perfect time for B2B marketers to reflect on successful tactics (and even failed ones) to help guide more effective strategies for the year to come. Especially since the next few weeks are likely reserved for 2018 planning, setting up client programs, considering business goals, and even scoping out your personal goals for the new year.
For marketers looking ahead to 2018, here’s a list of B2B marketing tactics that have proven to be the most powerful over the past year. Each strategy is backed with data conducted by a variety of industry leading resources.
1. Focus on the Buyer’s Journey
Findings from Forrester survey data showed 74 percent of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.
Mapping out the basics of the buyer journey can be one of the most difficult elements of strategic marketing. But, if done successfully, B2B marketers can gain a better understanding in all aspects of strategy and campaign development.
This information can be used to guide essential elements of a program like the prioritization of keyword research, orchestration of social media channels, and alignment of content marketing development and distribution with buyer preferences.
2. Multi-Channel Approach
Findings from our recent report show B2B marketers responsible for marketing in a complex sales environment were divided in the tactics that were most successful in generating quality leads for their organizations.
This illustrates the importance of investing in multiple tactics to see what will be the most effective for your target audiences and buyers. While there is not a single channel that everyone can agree to be the most effective, taking a multi-channel approach and being open to adjustments could be the best place to start.
3. Prioritizing Customer Experience
Marketers must focus on improving existing customer experiences and creating new ones. The Brand Relevance Index, an annual study conducted by Prophet, surveyed 50,000 consumers in China, Germany, United Kingdom and United States to determine which 750 unique brands they simply cannot live without.
What do these top brands have in common? The strongest brands are the ones that truly make a difference in consumers’ lives. While there are a number of ways to enrich the experience and better engage customers, Prophet has determined the changes that make the most impact.
4. Account-Based Marketing
B2B marketers are widely adopting account-based marketing (ABM) tactics, and research suggests that 74 percent are seeing success with it. Despite ABM strategies not being in place for very long, it’s quickly become an all-encompassing phrase for highly targeted marketing programs – whether technology or process focused.
5. Increased Video Content
As marketers continue to use more and more video marketing to reach their target audiences, they are seeing greater success and increased ROI. A recent report from Vidyard and Demand Metric discovered that 44 percent of marketers have improved their video marketing ROI in 2017.
Over the past year, we’ve seen video marketers grow more confident about the performance of their video content on social media specifically. This could be traced back to the growing popularity of video-friendly social media features like Facebook Video and Instagram Live.
6. Dedication to Content Marketing
A report from Chief Marketer recently looked at how marketing efforts like content and email are contributing to leads. Out of all channels, marketers cited in-person meetings, email marketing and content marketing as the top tactics for lead nurturing.
The growing dedication to content marketing is definitely something worth noting. Successes in this area can be traced back to the amount of time and money that marketers are investing in content.
In fact, 75 percent of marketers will generate at least three times more content than last year. About one-third are already releasing content daily or hourly. By the end of 2017, 42 percent of marketers will spend at least $250,000 on content efforts.
7. Revived On-Page Content
When aiming to reach SEO goals, marketers are finding that refreshing on-page content plays a big role in their success. A recent report from Ascend2 discovered that 57 percent of marketers say that on-page content is the most effective tactic when it comes to meeting SEO objectives.
While on-page content helps marketers meet objectives like increased website traffic, boosted search rankings and improved conversion rates, there are still a number of challenges that marketers face when it comes to SEO. Ascend2’s report found that marketers have the most difficulty with link building and website structure in particular.
8. More Personalization
In 2017, personalized marketing has shown to be a solid way to create a competitive edge. Organizational leaders continue to use personalization as a tool to better meet customers’ needs.
Not only does personalization benefit the customer experience, but it’s also proven to help marketers improve their bottom line. A recent study from Monetate found that 95 percent of marketers who increased their ROI three-fold through personalization saw a rise in profitability last year.
9. Increased Analytics and Customer Data
The more customer data, the better. That’s the motto for most marketers as they continue to see the benefits of utilizing analytics for increased customer data. In fact, research shows that within the next three years, marketers intend to spend 376 percent more on analytics to improve customer experience.
At the moment, marketers are lacking access to the customer data they need. And, 62 percent of marketers agree that improving data quality is the most important objective of a successful marketing data strategy.
10. Inbound Marketing
If leads and customer engagement are a top priority, inbound marketing is certainly a noteworthy strategy. HubSpot’s recent research shows that 81 percent of respondents who primarily conduct inbound marketing claim that their marketing strategy has been effective. This is compared to just 18 percent of those leveraging primarily outbound tactics.
While marketers find inbound marketing effective, they still face a variety of challenges including the relationship and communication between sales and marketing teams.
11. Social Media Marketing
A recent study from Clutch found that 78 percent of enterprises see social media as more important than other digital marketing tactics.
It’s worth noting that Facebook is widely viewed as the most effective social media platform, with 62 percent of respondents saying it drives the best results. LinkedIn came in second place (14 percent), and Twitter in third place (7 percent).
These are just some of the tactics that present the most immediate opportunity for B2B marketers in 2018, but the list certainly goes on. I hope these ideas provide you with a good starting point as you plan budgets and campaigns for the year to come.
Did I miss any tactics that B2B marketers can’t afford to miss out on in 2018? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.