For many of our clients, 2019 is off to a solid start. A key reason for that success is attention to their marketing strategies and understanding what’s driving B2B customer connections and sales. So, let’s consider some trends that will continue to evolve this year:
What works in our personal lives works just as well in business. If you want your customers and prospects to know who you are, you need to engage with your industry community on a regular basis – in person, via email, on social platforms like LinkedIn, through third party endorsement. Sure, some of them may end up being competitors, but if you want your company to be viewed as a leader, you need a strong following.
The Customer Experience
Most B2B branding experts agree, the customer experience is what’s driving differentiation and a sustained competitive advantage. This type of customer-centric approach requires the alignment of a highly engaged workforce committed to delivering on your company’s brand promise (e.g. flawless parts, on-time delivery, remarkable solutions). And then – taking the broad view - you need to consider the customer experience in every facet of your business.
Better Video Content
We’ve noted this before – YouTube is the second most popular social media platform behind Facebook (and Facebook is awash in more videos than ever). In fact, it’s predicted that in less than three years more than 80 percent of internet traffic will be video. What’s more, 70 percent of B2B buyers are watching videos amid their buying journey. The question isn’t if you should be doing video, but what your plan is to produce better video content that your customers and prospects can use, from product videos and case stories to client testimonials and how-to’s.
Much as we might like, it’s hard to ignore the potential impact of technologies that many B2C companies are already embracing, such as:
- Voice search optimization to capitalize on the growth of personal assistant devices
- Virtual Reality to sell clients and prospects the experience of “trying before you buy” (e.g. architecture, construction)
- Chatbots for sales and service (in addition to live chat)
- Artificial Intelligence to sift through data, identify trends and provide additional client/buyer insights
Perhaps the best course is to experiment a bit this year and then determine which technologies you might leverage and scale for business growth.
Smarter Content Marketing
Its reign continues - Content has been king for more than 10 years now. That noted, most B2B companies have realized that “more” is not “better,” and are now focusing on creating quality, original content that educates their customers and prospects. Our advice is to develop a plan that utilizes a broad mix of formats, including adjusting your social media presence. Lead with video, consider live streaming events or tutorials, try a podcast or have a graphic designer help you produce some cool infographics. And don’t be afraid to pay to boost your content distribution via paid search or LinkedIn or Facebook ads.
As you know, most industries certainly are not getting less competitive. That means being smarter about how you deploy your marketing dollars, no matter the size of your budget. There are a variety of ways to take advantage of these trends and strengthen your marketing initiatives. We’d welcome the opportunity to talk about how.
An Executive Consultant at Decision Associates, Mike Smiley has earned an outstanding reputation for building brands, engaging audiences and growing market share for the organizations he serves. With more than 30 years of experience, he has led branding, marketing and strategic planning initiatives for companies in the health care, higher education, manufacturing, nonprofit and senior living industries. For more information about the topics in this article, contact Mike at (814) 490-7706 or MikeSmiley@DecisionAssociates.net.