Technologies change, markets change, needs change and so do marketing. The one you thought will have a profound impact on your business may vanish into thin air as fast as it has emerged. Conversely, a trend can stick around with such resolve that you are forced to take notice. However, the more you get to know newer trends the better you are prepared to elicit an appropriate response and steal your competitors’ thunder.
So, how are things going to look for B2B marketers in 2019? Here are the top predictions based on our close monitoring of the space.
- Account based marketing (ABM) set to show greater clout
The prevalence of ABM in recent years has disrupted the steps through which a prospect convert. To put it differently, the traditional concept of marketing funnel is losing ground to some degree. In 2019, B2B marketers will go for more ABM-powered targeted outreach. According to Spiceworks, about two-thirds (64%) of marketers worldwide want to embrace ABM in the current year. While reiterating this sentiment, the B2B Marketing Trends Report from Informa Engage indicates that 2019 will see 62% of those who have already adopted ABM jack up their investment in it. There’s no doubt ABM will continue to solidify its position as marketers are focused on making sales pitches to conversion-worthy customers.
- Voice becomes loud enough to deserve special attention
For long, text-based search has been the primary way for seeking information on the web. But with voice-enabled personal assistants gradually gaining a foothold in the market, consumers prefer to use their voice instead. Data from Comscore reveals that by next year, out of total searches, half will be voice searches. That’s where we are heading! Hence, farsighted B2B marketers will align their SEO and online advertising with voice search in 2019.
- Respect for privacy will increase
The first half of last year was really hectic (also somewhat confusing) for marketers as they slogged away to stay on the right side of the pervasive law called GDPR. However, compliance is just a part of the whole story. Since avoiding the stigma of scary data breaches seems a tall order even for technology giants, marketers will think more about privacy issues before establishing a healthy digital relationship with clients. Remember, the cost of a breach can hit you hard.
- Growing number of marketers will appreciate the need for producing podcasts
Although podcasts announced their advent in the early 2000s, today they are experiencing a phase of resurgence. Edison Research and Triton Digital estimate that 64% of Americans aged 12 and above were familiar with the term “podcasting” in 2018 and 44% had ever listened to a podcast. In another study, Nielsen says podcasts have made 69% of listeners aware of new products or services. Compared to B2C, enterprise, customers don’t make a purchase in a jiffy. Much deliberation is involved in the process. That gives B2B marketers an opportunity to use a finely crafted podcast to keep persuading those customers about their offerings. Marketers on the ball will likely add podcasting to their marketing mix in the coming months.
- Personalization at scale is a new imperative
That customers want their pain points to be addressed in a personalized manner is a known truth in our connected world. A substantial percentage will not think twice before ditching a brand that fails to personalize their communications to them. Which is why, brands serving individual buyers have integrated personalization into every form of engagement they have with them. B2B marketers will increasingly apply the same strategy. No customer is happy when you speak a generic language. Only messages tailored to their needs can trigger a fruitful interaction.
- Video continues its relentless forward march
If we say video makes the Internet go round, you can’t trash it as an overstatement. Want proof? According to Cisco, come 2022, global IP video traffic will represent 82% of entire IP traffic. Now the question arises, how many marketers have picked up the strong signals that the moving-picture medium is sending? Nearly one-third (31%) of respondents to Chief Marketer’s 2019 B2B Marketing Outlook Report consider video as one of the most effective way for moving prospects through the purchase journey. In a separate study, 83% of marketers have opined that video content is becoming more important. Again, 59% think video converts better than other types of content. From informative product demos to digestible how-tos to thought-provoking webinars, you have myriad options for your visual storytelling mission. Further, you have the trifecta of AR, VR, and MR for creating awesomely immersive video experiences.
- Content will once again demonstrate who is the actual king
Research-backed quality content always resonates with customers in an instant. Rest assured, 2019 will not be a deviation from this golden rule. The Informa Engage report quoted earlier has found that 50% of marketers will pump extra money into content marketing in 2019. Regarding the effectiveness of content marketing, a joint report from CMI and MarketingProfs states that 96% of the most successful North American B2B content marketers concur that their audience views their company as a credible and trusted resource. More delightful stats include: over the last 12 months marketers have leveraged content marketing to create brand awareness (81%), educate audiences (73%), generate demand/leads (68%), build loyalty with existing clients/customers (54%), and so on. Clearly, content marketing is a staple in marketers’ toolbox.
- Tapping the influence of influencers
Influencers are popular among consumer-facing businesses for their superb power of shaping people’s perception. They act like a bridge connecting brands and a wider audience. In the context of B2B, however, influencer marketing doesn’t mean celebrity endorsements only. Here the message is to be transmitted in an authoritative tone via trusted industry leaders. Figures released by Spiceworks lend credence to the fact that marketers are exploring influencer marketing with enthusiasm. 48% (up from 31% in 2018) of B2B marketers will be doing influencer marketing by the end of 2019.
- Chatting with chatbots gathering steam
Beyond the usual human-to-human conversation, customers are developing a liking for automated, intelligent responses from AI-driven chatbots. Why is this happening? Three main reasons as reported by a study are: getting a quick answer in an emergency (37%), resolving a complaint or problem (35%), and getting detailed answers or explanations (35%). Chatbots are especially useful when your support team goes offline and a customer is pressed for time. It’s expected that by 2020, 44% of brands will implement chatbots. All in all, bots are no longer a novelty item.
- Marketing will assume a bigger role
A silo-centric model where various departments of a company function within predefined boundaries doesn’t promote internal collaboration. Moreover, with present-day customers being habituated to a consistent experience across a multitude of channels, working in isolation is not suitable for the course. As such marketing, sales, customer relations, HR, and IT are joining hands to usher in an organization-wide cohesive work environment. The big news is that marketers are leading the pack. And this evolution of marketing’s role will not slacken in future.
We hope the B2B marketing trends incorporated in this post will help you decide how to move ahead in the remaining months of 2019. Strike while the iron is hot!