Even though many B2B marketers are already looking ahead to 2016, it’s may be worth recognizing the accomplishments of the past year. Why? Because a component of your B2B marketing strategy certainly needs to focus on leveraging the experience gained executing tactics and campaigns that worked well.
In an effort to shed light on how marketers tackled challenges and made strides in 2015, we spoke to a group of industry leaders across the B2B marketing space. Here is what they had to say about their most effective B2B marketing tactics over the past year.
STRATEGIC CONTENT MARKETING
“The most effective marketing tactic I have seen work for many brands is taking a strategic approach to content marketing. I’ve applied this as I’ve launched my own business. In the process, I have doubled my traffic, tripled my blog subscribers and generated inbound leads I wold have ever seen. It starts with creating a simple content marketing mission statement.
For me, it’s “helping brands reach, engage and convert new customers.” Next, I committed to answering my potential customers top questions with blog articles published nearly every day. I built a content experience to focus on gaining subscribers.” — Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group
REDEFINING THE ROI OF PR
“We introduced a new program this year integrating our upper funnel PR programs with middle and bottom funnel inbound marketing.
The result is that we can now tie PR to an ROI rather than be dependent only on nebulous findings like number of clips or impressions. We anticipate refining this even further in 2016 as we offer a crescendo of visibility and leads to our clients.” – Wendy Marx, Marx Communications
SALES AND MARKETING ALIGNMENT
“The tactics I saw most often in 2015 aligned and tied most directly to sales pipeline contribution and conversion from marketing were buyer personas, sales automation, advocate management, influencer engagement and account-based marketing.” – Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
EMAIL MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS
“Depending on your marketing objectives, budget, industries and products, effective marketing tactics vary. Although everyone receives tons of e-mail, I still think e-mail marketing as part of your overall integrated marketing campaigns is necessary and can be effective. Be cognizant of your audience’s needs and desires. Write and create relevant content for them. Modify your e-mail templates to fit your content. There are many extensions, plug-ins and social icons that you can add to your website and e-mail to enhance clicks or the user-experience.
For example, Sumome is a pop-up plug-in that you can add on your website to encourage e-mail subscription. Wisestamp is a customized signature for e-mail and social media marketing. Although, it can be overwhelming and hard to keep up, it’s important to understand what works for you and your audiences. Less is more!” — Pam Didner, Content Marketing Strategist and Author of Global Content Marketing
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
“This year has been amazing for Relevance. We recently won a Content Marketing Award from CMI for having the highest subscribership growth. That was the highlight of 2015 for us. The biggest surprising trend for me this year was in social – the networks themselves.
The amount of innovation, change and new offerings offered by Twitter, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn exploded in 2015 – many of which gave marketers like us, not just better access to social audiences, but hyper-targeted options.” — Chad Pollitt, VP of Audience, Co-Founder of Relevance
“The most effective marketing tactic has been word-of-mouth marketing. When customers, friends, family, industry analysts, and bloggers say wonderful things about your company and convince others to buy your product, you’ve made it. There is a great amount of debate about how to make all of that happen.
For us, it’s been about focusing on the customer, making something they need, and delivering a great product and experience. The happier your customers are, the easier everything else becomes. The math is pretty simple; there will be a direct correlation between the number of happy customers you have and your marketing performance in 2016.” – Dan Slagen, VP of Marketing at Crayon Co.
SIMPLE MARKETING TACTICS
“One of my top marketing accomplishments is helping my clients, who are small industrial manufacturers with limited budgets, develop simple but effective tactics. These tactics, which help build trust and credibility and thus increase sales over time, include website, trade show promotions, PR, and e-newsletters.
In terms of trends, I believe B2B mobile is an under-appreciated trend that has more traction than data indicates. Although Google Analytics data suggests desktops still rule, I believe this is going to change pretty fast — and much faster than we think.” — Dianna Huff, Huff Industrial Marketing, Inc.
EFFICIENT WEBSITE MARKETING
“2015 was the year in which the hot, and effective marketing tactics seemed to be all about mobile-friendly websites, email opt-ins, landing pages and webinars, video (both YouTube and Facebook) and engagement on Instagram. Dianna Huff and I released a book called, ‘101 Ways to Market Your Website’ earlier this year, covering marketing tactics that work today.” – Rachel Cunliffe, Cre8d
CONTENT BACKED BY DATA
“For marketing and PR teams, 2015 was ‘The Year of Content – Backed Up By Data’. Today, cold media pitches (similar to annoying ads) are despised, many even publicly humiliated on social channels like Twitter.
While marketers are seeing huge upticks in conversion rates by simply providing their target audiences with useful content instead of interrupting them, PR leaders are having the same luck with journalists.” — Jennifer Moebius, Founder of Moebius Ink
“This year, the Curata marketing team shifted to a data-driven content marketing strategy. We uncovered many insights about the effectiveness of our content and were able to make several changes to our strategy.
One example: We used our content marketing platform to analyze data on historical content and found that long-form blog posts generate nine times more leads than short-form blog posts. We now focus almost all of our resources on creating long-form content.” — Alexandra Barca, Content Marketing Specialist at Curata
Hopefully these tactics and ideas provide inspiration as you plan budgets and program outlines for 2016 and beyond. If you have a tactic to share that we missed, please send us your thoughts and perspective via comments below or connect with us on Twitter to discuss!