As a B2B company, it’s paramount that you stay on top of trends so you know which to adopt and which to nix. This is a standout year for B2B marketing. The Content Marketing Institute recently released the annual North American report titled B2B Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends—and the findings are impressive.
In total, 42 percent of respondents consider themselves effective, which is up drastically from just 36 percent last year. These figures are founded on 1,217 B2B content marketers who completed The Content Marketing Institute’s survey. What’s making so many companies feel more confident in their marketing efforts? It might be because 44 percent have a content strategy in writing while 73 percent have a dedicated employee managing that strategy.
Lead generation is the top priority for companies, with 41 percent stating it as a top goal and only 27 percent saying sales and revenue generation came first. In total, 54 percent of B2B managers say social media is the primary generator of leads, while 59 percent say budget constraints are the biggest hurdle between them and their target goals. Where is marketing heading in 2014 and how can you stay ahead of the curve?
According to experts
The majority of B2B marketers say LinkedIn is the only platform they need with 62 percent depending on it alone, but Twitter comes in second (however, only 50 percent of marketers think it’s effective). In total 91 percent of marketers use LinkedIn, 85 percent use Twitter, and 81 percent use Facebook. It’s a budget-saving strategy since only two percent of total company revenue is directed towards B2B marketing on average, which is also why 97 percent of managers say they’re looking into new types of outreach including social media platforms in the coming year.
One of the biggest trends in 2014 is access to more and better data, and it’s slated to be a breakout year for this. Marketers know just how crucial understanding their markets are, which is why they’re relying on a smorgasbord of tactics including social media sites, e-newsletters, tradeshow surveys and incorporating SEO analyses into the mix. If you want to market to a demographic, you need to have information on it first. Telling a story is the go-to approach for marketers after they have the data necessary to craft it.
Tactics to try
Both content marketing and “E-PR” are making big strides in 2014, mostly because there are so many avenues for content to be placed. People want information instantly, especially in an increasingly mobile world. From white papers to video tutorials and infographics, the trend toward more images/videos in lieu of written context is also gaining traction. This year, more people are using mobile devices than desktops for the first time, and marketers have to keep up.
Native advertising is also making a comeback, which is basically an advertisement expertly marketed as an article. It mimics editorial content, and it can be virtually the exact same thing on a number of online platforms. Often the only thing separating it from “regular” content is a slightly different font color or tiny tagline, and that’s only for legal reasons. Otherwise, it’s become a real art to create native advertising that’s just as engaging as real editorials.
Rounding out the trends
Digital targeting has become more sophisticated as cookies have been effectively killed. Targeting other businesses from the top down is now par for the course, and doing so by mixing media is the go-to approach. Media testing has led to more segmentation, which means it’s easier to perfectly target your approaches. In the end, it’s always quality and customization that win out.
Our guest blogger today is Larry Alton. Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Topics: B2B Marketing