B2B Marketing Trends for 2018
As the New Year quickly approaches, most marketers are turning their attention to 2018. Here are the B2B marketing trends for 2018 that savvy businesses need to follow.
Biggest Commercial Impact
The following B2B marketing trends will have the greatest commercial impact on B2B companies in 2018:
- Content marketing. Content is still king in 2018, but busy customers only have time for quality content. Make sure your content measures to a higher standard if you want to keep your target audience engaged.
- Big data. This category includes market and customer insights and predictive analytics. Marketers know the potential for using data to glean insights on prospects and customers. Big data can help you understand your customers and their behaviors better.
- Artificial intelligence. Integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning into your marketing automation toolbox helps you target better with personalization. AI and machine learning are especially helpful with email marketing segmentation.
- Social media and mobile marketing. With Facebook and WhatsApp gaining more than half of the total mobile audience, social messaging apps are where you want to focus social media marketing efforts in 2018. Facebook is for B2B marketing, too; while LinkedIn remains at the top, you may want to tap into Facebook’s 2 billion monthly active users.
Integrating video into your customer journey will be a major trend in 2018. Social media is fueling the desire for video across customer bases. With YouTube as popular as Google as a search engine, you need to focus time and resources on creating compelling and engaging videos in 2018.
You have a bevy of opportunities with video. Consider using video marketing throughout the customer lifecycle, such as pre-roll ads in YouTube, explainer videos on your website, and retargeting customers through video.
Search marketing will be one of the top digital sales channels in 2018. While there is relatively little innovation coming, Google is sharing less on searches, so you need to be even more vigilant next year.
Types of search marketing techniques to focus on include related questions, quick answers, and reviews. These three areas can make a significant difference in the volume of visitors from informational searches.
AdWords is showing more innovation, making it another area to focus on for your search marketing efforts. Most of the innovation centers on mobile, but a few new options use machine learning to add value and significance. Focus your efforts specifically on your building blocks like headlines, descriptions, logo, and images.
Businesses need chatbots to help with online customer service and marketing efforts. In fact, companies like HubSpot are building chatbot capability into their product offerings. B2B companies need to figure out early in 2018 how they want to integrate chatbots.
Chatbots help your message-based marketing campaigns and will become an essential tool in a company’s inbound marketing campaigns. Consider using chatbots to move leads down your funnel and convert them into sales.
Still prevalent, thought leadership marketing helps build trust and relationships with your customers and targets. For example, HubSpot’s INBOUND17 conference saw many marketers in attendance who did not yet use HubSpot’s products. Rather, these attendees saw the value of content provided by thought leaders at the conference.
If you want to stay top of mind and have vital conversations with your customer base, thought leadership marketing efforts are still powerful in 2018. In fact, with the saturation of information on the internet today, thought leadership insights are even more important. Build good, unique, and thoughtful content into your marketing campaigns.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Finally, but not least, IoT will explode in 2018. Consider how IoT will take your content off the screen and interweave it into your customers’ daily lives. Think about how your prospects interact now with Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, for instance. These interactive tools will allow businesses a unique way to offer content to prospects, leads, and customers.
Alexa is at a nascent stage, but is exponentially expanding in popularity and applicability. And plenty of opportunities for B2B companies abound in this space as well. Consider what your target audience is looking for and then find the best way to deliver it. For example, Neil Patel partnered with Single Grain and Eric Siu to offer 10 minutes of actionable marketing advice every day as a simple Alexa Skill.
Data and research support the above trends, but remember B2B marketing trends are not everything. You should do your own customer and market research to decide on your B2B digital marketing strategy for 2018. Trends flop and die. Customer feedback and analytics are always relevant. For more information on what you can look forward to in 2018, download KEO Marketing’s latest guide, “Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2018.”
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With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.