2019 brings a new era of marketing.
Marketing is going through a fundamental shift; it’s moving away from being brand-led to customer-led.
Today, customers are dictating what they want to see and hear from brands, and how they want to interact with brands.
“You’re no longer marketing AT people. You’re influencing them in an environment where they’ve already had a chance to form a view.” —Kristin Lemkau, CMO, JPMorgan Chase
These customers are forcing B2B businesses to evaluate their current marketing strategy and make adjustments in order to get ahead.
There are a few key trends that you should have on your 2019 B2B marketing checklist. But, your first step in mapping out your strategy is understanding who these changing customers are.
Who is the B2B buyer in 2019?
B2B buyers flow through the marketing funnel in a looping way – interacting with a company interchangeably across channels throughout the buyer journey.
The traditional B2B sales strategy of cold calls, branded marketing collateral, and business meetings isn’t as effective as it used to be.
Here are the top 4 traits of the B2B buyer in 2019:
- The B2B buyer is a millennial – this generation now make up the largest percentage of the workforce. Millennials have different preferences compared to older generations; they prefer interactions and offers that feel unique to them. In fact, a recent survey found that 55% of millennials would like access to personalized experiences from brands.
- B2B buyers are spending time researching and comparing before even coming in contact with a sales rep. In fact, almost 45% of B2B buyers prefer to identify possible solutions before they engage with a sales rep.
- More and more B2B purchases are being made online. Today, about 50% of all online searches are made from a smartphone and this is expected to grow to 70% by 2020.
- Many B2B buyers are using social media to do research and impact their purchasing decisions. In fact, 84% of C-level and VP-level buyers are influenced by social media when making purchases.
Simply put in 2019, the B2B buyer is younger, mobile, social, and does their research. So, how do you create a tailored brand experience that’s consistent across multiple channels but still engaging?
We’ve created your 2019 B2B marketing checklist to help you get ahead and meet the needs of the new B2B buyer.
Here is your 2019 B2B marketing checklist to get ahead.
Personalization through Artificial Intelligence
Personalization is going to be the biggest and most talked about marketing trend for the foreseeable future.
Your content doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, boring just because it’s targeted businesses. Those businesses have people who are reading your content, which makes it that much more important to connect with them right off the bat.
Personalized content is a vital part of making a connection with your customers and prospects. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now embedded in marketing tools which allow more personalization, easier than ever.
Here are three use cases for AI in B2B marketing:
- Personalized email marketing: AI is now ingrained in marketing tools, which means you can use email marketing in a more dynamic way. With AI, algorithms can gather and auto-populate data making each message tailored to the particular person reading it.
- Suggested items: As a customer browses or makes a purchase, the AI algorithm learns your customers preferences. It’s then able to suggest similar products, complementary parts, and additional services. Think of this as up-sell of the future.
- Chatbots: A chatbot is a service, powered by AI, that customers can interact with through a chat interface. Chatbots give your customers access to you 24/7/365.
With AI, your website is transformed into a unique marketing experience tailored to each individual customer.
For B2B businesses, efficiency is everything. Bringing your eCommerce online and integrating it with your other back end systems is one way that businesses are driving efficiency.
While this marketing trend isn’t as creative as writing the next viral tweet, it’s importance shouldn’t be ignored.
Marketing has gotten increasingly complicated over the years, and B2B marketing is no different. There are more channels and touchpoints than ever before – social media, messaging apps, websites, etc.
Luckily, there are tools out there to help manage marketing from the back-end. Marketing automation tools have the potential to step up your B2B marketing game without the cost of adding additional people resources or spending a fortune on advertising.
Here are the 2 most popular types of marketing automation tools for B2B:
- Email Marketing Automation Tools: Email marketing automation tools make staying top of mind with your customers and prospects easier than ever. These tools allow you to do things like sending a thank you email to someone who downloaded an eBook, manage a sales email campaign, and distribute multiple versions of a newsletter to each type of customer.
- Social Media Automation Tools: Social media is one of the most important marketing channels. With a social media automation tool, you are able to do things like interacting with people commenting on your posts, share content from partners, and automatically share your articles after they’re posted on your blog.
Marketing automation gets your brand in front of your prospects more often and on the right channels.
A direct result of the popularity of social media, B2B buyers are used to taking things in and learning in bite-sized, interactive ways.
Because B2B products and services are usually highly complex, it’s easy for marketers to fall into the habit of relying on technical white papers and marketing materials.
Video marketing changes that and allows you to market your product in a way that can be both entertaining and informational.
That’s not to mention that Google found that 70% of B2B buyers watch videos on their journey through the sales funnel.
Here are two benefits of using videos in B2B marketing:
- Videos enhance the mobile experience: You already know that your customers are browsing, placing orders, and researching on smartphones. Video marketing is tailor-made for mobile consumption with most video platforms are responsive to mobile devices.
- Videos allow you to educate customers: With a video, you can communicate benefits, showcase features, and promote services in a matter of seconds. Videos are able to grab the attention of your customers in ways that standard white papers aren’t able to.
Video marketing, if done well, can be an inexpensive way to capture the attention of and educate prospects throughout the marketing funnel.
As we approach the end of the decade, traditional marketing tactics no longer have the same effect on B2B buying decisions. In order to get ahead, you need to focus on getting relevant, dynamic content across your channels to give each customer a personalized experience. This 2019 B2B marketing checklist can help drive your marketing strategy for this year and beyond.
It’s technologies like these that influenced our predictions for B2B eCommerce in 2019. If you’re curious as to what’s ahead, download your own copy.