A few days into December, and we’re all wondering where the year has gone. 2015 has been a blur, especially in the eyes of marketers. We’ve seen that content marketing, both written and verbal, is essential for companies to showcase expertise. We know that social media marketing is incredibly valuable, as well as mobile optimization. Also, companies have gotten better at engaging prospects and customers alike as they travel through the various phases of the buyer’s journey. But where do we go from here?
With 2015 coming to an end, we are faced with the following question: what can marketers expect to see in 2016? What marketing trends and concepts will you need to master in order to stay ahead of your competition? Here are 5 trends you should be aware of as we head into the new year.
1. The Super Dialed-In Customer Experience
Make your buying process easy. Extremely easy. That’s the key here. Businesses that truly understand their customers’ concerns and research patterns will be able to build streamlined conversion paths, and ultimately, educate prospects in more meaningful and valuable ways.
If your competitors do a better job of this than you do, there is a good chance you’ll miss out on valuable opportunities. If you haven’t mastered this yet, it would be well worth your time to dig in and do the research to put together a solid strategy. When you can create strategies that allow buyers to make an easier and smoother purchase, your company will benefit.
2. Omnichannel Marketing
A significant component in streamlining your conversion paths, omnichannel marketing will be critical in hitting the right touch points with your prospects and customers.
The underlying concept for B2B omnichannel marketing is consistency. Customers expect companies to have consistency across all of their materials, both online and offline. With so many opportunities to “touch” prospects, companies need to prioritize marketing efforts to ensure their content doesn’t contradict itself, that facts and figures are updated, and important pieces of their marketing messages are not deviating from each other.
Many businesses that offer intricate solutions that cost a significant amount of money have a hard time allowing for omnichanel marketing. One of the most important things to understand for this tactic is that your potential customers will evaluate your firm’s product or service against many other comparable products or services.
Competition has never been higher, and for that reason, B2B marketers who adhere to omnichannel marketing will receive more interaction. Tracking exactly where prospects go, what page they view, and other intricate details of how they interact with your brand is essential as it will allow you to judge where that prospect is in the pipeline and how much they know about your brand. A seamless online and offline buying experience will give prospects everything they need just when they need it to make the right buying decision.
3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile!
Recent research has indicated that, globally, we have reached the mobile tipping point, where the number of consumers browsing on a mobile device far exceeds the number of consumers browsing on a desktop. Smartphones, tablets, and other devices have the same browsing capabilities, but are significantly more convenient for the everyday person.
It will be imperative to keep this consumer behavior in mind when determining your messaging touch points and channels. Businesses without a mobile-friendly marketing strategy will inevitably miss out on opportunities in 2016.
4. Content Will Continue to be Important
Customers and prospects are more educated and informed than ever before. All kinds of information can be accessed at the click of a button. As a result, prospects are usually much more acquainted with your company when going into the initial conversation. For that reason, salespeople have a very little amount of time to make a first impression. Content in this case isn’t as much about blogs or email. Instead, it is about the words the salesperson chooses to say.
Your target prospects have come to expect this kind of experience, which is why it will be essential to continue educating customers by blogging, hosting webinars, sending emails, and proving your industry expertise through guides and ebooks. Additionally, creating an environment that makes prospects feel comfortable in interacting with your company is equally as important.
In 2016, it will be more important than ever to understand how your content is performing. Critical tracking and attribution analytics for marketers include landing page conversion rates, CTA conversion rates, social shares, and email metrics. On the other hand, salespeople can help with content scoring by consistently evaluating and denoting the quality of the leads. These metrics should be evaluated carefully to understand what best resonates with your targets. It is going to be more about creating the RIGHT content, not the MOST content.
5. Account-Based Marketing (ABM) Will Take on Inbound Marketing
The “next big thing” for marketing in 2016 is account-based marketing. To help you understand how this new strategy differs from inbound marketing, the two types can be compared to fishing (thanks to Jon Miller from Engagio for this analogy). While inbound casts a wide net, and gets lots of fish, you also get sea turtles, jellyfish, and other undesired creatures. Account-based marketing is more comparable to spearfishing. After looking for your ideal large fish (a key account in B2B instances), you can create messages specifically for your ideal target based on that company.
Close to five years ago, inbound marketing was the “next big thing” and it has certainly gained a tremendous amount of traction since its inception. Marketers can generate more leads than ever before, and a heck of a lot easier (when executed consistently and diligently). Though this methodology has been refined over the last few years, inbound marketing still is not quite as effective as many marketers make it out to be. Why? Because it is often a game of numbers, where the quantity of leads becomes more important than the quality of the leads. Marketers who can capitalize on ABM will see an improvement in their integration with sales.
The challenge with marketing is that it is always changing. Nobody knows when the next big thing will come up, but when it does, you can count on marketers to write about it and share it.
Don’t agree with our predictions for 2016? Let us know by commenting below!
Topics: B2B Marketing