So it's January 2017, a time for reflection, at which point marketers will begin to review their current marketing tactics and evaluate them against competitors in their sector.
I composed a list most relevant for B2B digital marketing in hope to deliver an insight in to marketing trends for the coming year. The B2B sector appears to be somewhat slow on understanding the proliferation of new technologies but with a few simple steps we can begin to develop our own knowledge and put it to practice in 2017.
Marketing automation is perfect for B2B, as a rising technology estimated to be worth $4.8 Billion in 2015, it is essential in helping your business develop lead generation, lead nurturing, cross-sell, up-sell, customer retention and more quite simply.
Despite the rise of marketing automation, research conducted by SmartInsights and CommuniGator still show that a lot of businesses aren't utilising it fully. (Download the free research report here)
At the B2B Marketing Expo last year, Dave Chaffey noted a few key ways to get started with marketing automation:
A multi-step welcome sequence which can be made more relevant with dynamic content - a more advanced technique
Lead scoring and lead grading so that rules can be put in place to send more relevant emails or outbound calls when prospects are qualified
Use of re-marketing on third-party sites to nurture prospects who have shown interest in a product or service
Given the vast scale of channels available for digital marketing, it can be easy to focus solely on a particular channel or not pay as much attention to other channels as necessary. Integrating channels can help you avoid this in 2017. With integration you can monitor and control all channels at once.
Ascend 2 conducted their 2016 State of Lead Generation Survey Summary Report and in it, you can find that B2B marketers aren't integrating their channels and are instead spending a wealth of their time on one. Stay ahead of the game in 2017 and incorporate channel integration into your digital marketing management system to ensure you can deliver a majority of sales and leads across all platforms.
According to Syndacast, 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video. Video content, described as the "new darling of the marketing world" by Huffington Post, continues to dominate statistics and is growing profoundly in the B2B environment. It is securing it's spot in the marketing plans of all major companies in successful efforts to engage with clients, convert them, inform them and nurture them.
Here are some statistics taken from Insivia's 50 Must-Know Stats About Video Marketing 2016:
96% of B2B organizations use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns of which 73% report positive results to their ROI, according to a survey conducted by ReelSEO
According to Forbes, 59% of executives would rather watch video than read text.
76% of marketers plan to increase their use of YouTube and video marketing, reported by Social Media Examiner via Envisa.
According to a report published by Forrester, including video in an email leads to a whopping 200-300% increase in click-through rate.
75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week
65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video according to Forbes.
Quite an obvious trend for 2017 is of course Mobile Marketing as it continues to change the landscape of digital marketing year after year. One could argue that it is no longer a trend as most businesses have a responsive mobile site now but there have been several changes that may demonstrate an affect on B2B companies this year such as Google's decision to divide its index by creating a separate mobile index and speculation around penalising sites that use pop-ups or "intrusive interstitials" according to MarketingLand.
B2B companies in previous years could speculate that their clients would be viewing them from desktop devices but a shift is demonstrated by the fact that mobile now accounts for over half of web traffic (eCommerce Week). Adobe's eConsultancy report on Digital Intelligence Briefing: Taking Advantage of the Mobile Opportunity states that 80% of companies don't have a long-term strategy for mobile marketing.