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The best B2B marketing trends of 2016

Every B2B marketing business needs a smart marketing strategy that drives sales and increases awareness. However, tactics and aesthetics may change over time and grow outdated. For example, think back to the early 2000s when bright chrome and colored-translucent plastics were in style across retail, architecture, design and business. Using these elements today would be seen as nostalgic rather than innovative. How can a brand ensure that it is on strategy for this year? These seven marketing trends will help B2B businesses succeed and stay relevant in 2016:

1. 'Digital marketing' tapers off
Look back at the marketing history of nearly any company within the past five years: Are there any campaigns that have not included digital elements? According to Business2Community, digital strategies are so ingrained in marketing campaigns they no longer require niche treatment (1). This is what the "death of digital marketing" means: not a passing of the practice itself, but rather a change in its terminology and usage. For 2016, expect to include digital elements as part of all project efforts and do not separate them from the primary goals of the campaign.

2. Minimalism becomes key
According to Bop Design, B2B business and inbound marketing landing pages are transitioning from detailed websites to minimalist designs in 2016 (2). This means matte, bright colors and fewer pages for a Web developer to create. Businesses must become more precise and impactful with the limited information they choose to place on their websites. To do this effectively, hire a copywriter or a company's creative specialist to fill out the pages and give the employee emphasis points to work with. A strong copywriter with a clear understanding of the industry will create the strongest material. Make the copy and designs impactful, yet simple. With simplicity, a brand can spread its message and purpose most easily.

3. Conversion rates will be key
Up to 84 percent of B2B marketers focused on turning leads into conversions in 2015, according to the Content Marketing Institute (3). This trend is expected to continue into 2016 as B2B marketers focus on e-commerce websites and pushing sales. Raise conversion rates on a website by offering timely deals. Give consumers the opportunity to sign up for a newsletter with a discount for registry the second a lead opens the page. Lastly, include exclusive content such as videos or infographics with each product up for sale.

4. Content will grow
In 2015, content development saw a massive shift from quantity to quality. Video content viewership rose over the course of the year and is expected to become a primary Internet traffic driver by 2017, according to Cisco (4). Consumers look for more value from their content and this means producing content that will engage and entice the viewer to return. By offering features such as video content, webinars and in-person events advertised on social media, a brand can produce engaging content that will appeal to its users over the course of 2016. Other types of engaging content include articles, blogs, social media copy and images.

5. Omnichannel will prevail
Domino's pizza recently launched an interesting campaign inviting consumers to simply text a pizza emoji and their order will be received. Omnichannel campaigns that address multiple specific needs of a consumer are expected to grow in 2016, according to Forbes (5). This specialized campaign creates one seamless interaction for the consumer and is expected to improve customer transactions from both a B2B and B2C perspective.

6. Mobile will expand
B2B marketers who have not optimized a company's mobile Web page or app should consider doing so. In 2016, the prevailing trend is mobile. Retailers and B2B businesses alike should have an optimized and responsive web design, as well as a simple checkout mechanism for mobile users. This could also mean developing an app for the company or creating mobile pop-up advertisements. Try these unique techniques in 2016 for your business.

7. Big data 
It will become increasingly important for CMOs and CIOs to analyze data after campaigns to see what was effective and what was ineffective. Use analytic software to analyze the behaviors of leads into conversions. A business may also track the success of a campaign using metrics. By looking at overall campaign data, a company can see where to direct their marketing efforts next.

It is important for B2B businesses to keep up with trends for the coming year. Without following at least a few, a brand may be seen as outdated or unreliable to potential business customers. By following the tips above, your brand will stay on trend and relevant.

(1). 9 B2B Marketing Trends to Watch in 2016
(2). 11 B2B Trends Predictions for 2016
(3). 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America
(4). Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 White Paper
(5). The Top 10 Marketing Trends That Will Define 2016

Sheila Kloefkorn

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.