What should you be looking out for this year?
Here are our picks for the top five B2B Marketing trends for 2015:
Content is Critical, But Creativity is the New “King”
Because content marketing has been proven effective, there’s an ever-growing tsunami of content being generated. In this environment, we see two key factors for success in 2015—specificity and novelty. Specificity is about creating content for a carefully defined audience and not the fluffy, generalized, surface-level content you often see. Novelty is about presenting great content in a more creative way, in a novel format or through a unique distribution method. Along with the ability to identify new content opportunities and the resources to promote it effectively (as a given), content marketing with a focus on specificity and novelty will be a major path to success.
Marketing and HR are Increasingly Teaming Up
Business leaders agree that attracting and retaining top talent is a crucial priority for 2015. We’re seeing a strong trend towards combining the strengths of marketing and HR to develop great employer branding, enhance employee communications, create internal communities, add more sizzle to internal events and create more powerful recruiting materials. Marketing only to customers and prospects isn’t enough anymore. In 2015, marketers need to think about marketing to employees and recruits as well.
Old Tactics Are Becoming New Again
A funny thing has happened over the last decade. The rush to digital has created a new opportunity. Our clients have seen a lift in the effectiveness of dimensional and printed items—partially because they’re novel again! The best is a combination of multiple tactics of course, often with an integrated mix of digital and physical. But physical pieces and old-school tactics are staging a bit of a comeback.
B2B e-Commerce is Demanding Attention
Many business leaders still view e-commerce as a consumer marketing topic, but B2B e-commerce is already twice as big as B2C. Internet Retailer says business customers increasingly want to make purchases through the Internet. They want to use credit cards. And they have high expectations as a result of their experience as consumers. This includes not only technology performance, but also ratings and reviews, and the availability of premium content such as images, videos, data sheets, documentation, etc. Don’t dismiss e-commerce as irrelevant for your business. And just as importantly, don’t underestimate the huge value of creating premium content to support your product and service offerings.
Marketing is Taking a More Human Approach
So much of B2B marketing is still dry and boring, filled with jargon and business-speak. But there is a trend towards communicating with the human being vs. the “company” or the “buyer.” We’re driven by emotion, and studies are demonstrating the importance of this in B2B marketing. By the way, this is a view that we’ve shared for 20 years and we’re thrilled that it’s finally going mainstream!
Of course, missing from this list are things like platform and device proliferation, marketing technology and improved analytics and measurement. These were on our list last year and although they are still relevant, we wanted to present some newer and fresher perspectives.
Do you have any other insights to share? Let me know. And here’s to a happy and prosperous 2015!