Every new digital channel alters customer behavior and changes the way that companies engage with them. To reach your target audience and gain a competitive edge, you need to keep pace on the latest trends in B2B marketing. In turn, identifying trends within an industry, especially marketing, where methods change frequently, can help businesses tailor distribution strategies and prepare for would-be disruptors.
So what’s primarily shaping the current B2B marketing landscape? Based on my findings from subject matter experts, today’s marketers should look at trends that enhance customer engagement and visual storytelling, as companies have already begun to adopt these methods.
YouTube has been leading the pack in this area for some time now, with its slew of amateur DIY vloggers from various industries such as style, culinary interest, and gaming. All of these web personalities have the potential to attract and influence audiences via their developed content.
This rise in influencer marketing boils down to the fact that more and more customers are seeking the opinion of a trusted source or a popular figure that they identify with rather than messaging from brands alone. And Nielsen reported that 92 percent of individuals value these word-of-mouth recommendations too.
To position its leaders as influencers, B2B companies should consider guest blogging, a common and still effective influencer marketing strategey. Web-based consultancy Video Fruit employed this tactic when its founder Bryan Harris contributed to Okdork as a guest blogger. He saw his site’s page views increase more than 500 percent.
Implementing this approach is one way to direct more targeted traffic to your site. However, building partnerships is time-intensive work, namely, keeping track of the right metrics and finding credible collaborators who are interested in helping you meet your goals. But the possibility of connecting with a wider audience makes attempting the effort worthwhile.
Live video streaming
Live streaming has exploded over the past couple of years; 81 percent of Internet and mobile audiences watched more live video in 2016 compared to with the previous year. What people want is authentic content, two-way conversations, and real connections that aren’t always staged.
For the B2B community, the opportunities for broadcasting in real time are almost limitless—brands can host interviews, walk clients through how-tos, share company news, or live stream a major event, as did Oracle. The tech leader used Brightcove Gallery, an online video platform, to air its annual event, the Modern Customer Experience.
If perfection is key to your project, live video streaming may not be the tool for you. Viewers and clients interested in exactness still have the choice of fully scripted and produced videos. Something else to keep in mind, you’ll have to direct traffic from the streaming app back to your website, and technical glitches could occur, halting your best intentions.
Nudge, an online marketing resource, defines native content as a “piece of content that has been commissioned or paid to be placed on an external website with the view that the content fits and the form and function of where it exists.” And a recent Online Publishers Association study found that 81 percent of marketers want to promote their brand and boost audience engagement through native content.
One reason for this paid content’s growing popularity is it makes for a fitting arrangement for readers who are seeking relevant, quality editorial work, and brands wanting to draw in on targeted followers. Plus, unlike banner ads, native content is still visible, but with better imagery and less intrusive.
Integrating native advertising into your B2B marketing efforts does come with some controversy, since it’s sometimes labeled as deceptive due to being disguised as objective content, and users don’t like to be tricked. But it isn’t the same as “You won’t believe what they look like now” clickbait articles. When properly executed, paid pieces like this article about blockchain on Forbes’ Brand Voice page strike a balance of promotion and engaging, quality material that resonates with the reader.
Above all, staying abreast of emerging trends, their drawbacks, and positive traits means you already have an advantage over competitors. When choosing to apply any of these to your strategy, making choices based on what’s relevant for your business needs should be top priority. As we have noted here in the past, a customized multichannel plan is far more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach.