With 2020 around the corner, it’s time to evaluate B2B marketing practices of the past year.
Since the behavior of B2B buyers changed a lot in the past couple of years, B2B marketers had to step up the game and adjust efforts to the needs of their (potential) customers. Nowadays, B2B buyers want B2C experience. That’s how storytelling, for example, became one of the main tools for B2B marketers.
In order to find out which B2B marketing trends were the best in the past year, we asked a couple of marketing experts to give us their opinions.
Here they are, the top 4 marketing trends of 2019 according to experts:
PODCASTS (and marketing automation)
Shane Barker, a digital marketing consultant who worked with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities, says that a lot more B2B marketers and businesses have started using podcasts in 2019.
2019 Podcast Trend Report states that 82.4% of people listen to podcasts for more than 7 hours each week. Some even spend more time on podcasts than social media. If we are to believe the numbers, it’s not questionable whether podcasts will remain one of the main tools for marketers.
Along with podcasts, Barker mentioned one more trend that started gaining popularity among B2B marketers – marketing automation.
According to Barker:
“Marketing automation was another marketing tactic that was prevalent in 2019. Though the adoption is still at a nascent stage, it is increasingly being used by B2B marketers.“
ACCOUNT BASED MARKETING
Executive Director of Boston Content and Senior Product Marketer for IBM Watson IoT, Sarah Dudley says that 2019 brought an increased emphasis on personalization and customization through account-based marketing (ABM).
According to Triblio, more than 90% of marketers believe that ABM is essential to B2B marketing. Furthermore, more than 60% of companies plan to implement an ABM program within the next year.
When it comes to content creation, Dudley thinks that we’re seeing a change in the content creation:
“We’re starting to shift from the era of “create, create, create” to only “create more of what works great, in a very targeted way, and far less of everything else”. This goes for everything from blogs to videos to webinars and improves the customer experience through the entire journey.”
Erik Huberman, founder/CEO of Hawke Media who made it onto Forbes 30 Under 30 list thinks that the most important thing we saw in B2B marketing in 2019 was the use of branded content to help drive conversion and retention.
Nowadays, consumers hold companies to a higher standard and demand authenticity. In this case, branded content became a useful tool for “humanizing” your brand and establishing long term relationships with your customers.
Huberman states that companies were able to move the needle drastically in many ways by creating content that engaged their audience above and beyond a purchase decision.
LIVE COLLABORATIONS BETWEEN THOUGHT LEADERS
Mandy McEwen, founder/CEO of Mod Girl Marketing and top B2B marketer according to Linkedin highlighted leveraging live collaborations between thought leaders as a B2B marketing trend that worked extremely well in 2019.
As an example, McEwen suggests hosting a live summit with some of your industry’s top experts, hosting a live webinar where you co-host with another industry leader where you can both provide value to attendees and build up your brand awareness at the same time.
2019 Edelman-LinkedIn B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study showed that a lot of B2B professionals underestimate the power of thought leadership. This data comes as a surprise if you take into account that B2B buyers are likely to pay more to work with companies who have clearly articulated their vision through thought leadership.
With the marketing industry being fast-paced and consumers’ behavior ever-changing, it’ll be interesting to see which of these trends will stick in the upcoming year and which ones are yet to emerge.
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