Five Keys to Successful B2B Marketing in 2015

Posted by Douglas Burdett

Would you like to know what's ahead for B2B marketing? A look back at 2014 may provide some clues to what marketers can expect in 2015.

B2B_Marketing_2015

2014 saw more than a few new marketing trends established, and marketers had plenty of opportunities to learn both from their own mistakes and the publicized experiments, both successful and unsuccessful, of their peers.

Looking forward to 2015, what are some of the things marketers can expect?

1. Consumers will continue to be better informed than ever

Consumers have been empowered by the amount of information on the web and they are using it for more than simple entertainment and social engagement. The vast majority of consumers, both B2B and B2C, do massive amounts of online research before making purchases.

The rule of thumb is the higher the cost, the more informed the customer will be. Often, this research is conducted prior to a potential buyer ever contacting the company in any way. This trend will become even more prevalent in 2015.

Gain the upper hand:
  • Distribute product information across multiple platforms
  • Enhance your positioning in search results
  • Post more testimonials and reviews
  • Conduct informative webinars and product demonstrations

2. Social media will dominate marketing plans

Social media will continue to be the best way to reach broad swaths of your target markets with your content. While most marketers have not had effective ways to measure the effectiveness of their social media initiatives in the past, this is changing, and the overwhelming evidence is that social media adds value to marketing efforts.

That said, the social media experiment is far from over. B2B offerings from the various social media platforms continue to evolve, and marketers must prepare for these changes.

Gain the upper hand:

  • Budget for initiatives and experiments with new offerings
  • Plan structured experiments that allow for comparison of results

3. Everyone will use video in some way

Video made huge gains in 2014 and will continue to dominate online content in 2015. Production costs will continue to go down, but the demand for higher quality video will be reserved for higher impact branding initiatives. How-to videos and other information information-based videos will focus on the caliber of content with a corresponding easing of emphasis on video quality.

Gain the upper hand:
  • Prioritize what is most important to the customer for each video
  • Ensure videos are viewable across all devices used by your customers
  • Keep video content fresh

4. Relationships will matter more

Referrals and word-of-mouth marketing have always been the platinum standard for marketing, and this will continue to be the case in 2015.

Gain the upper hand:

  • Ask loyal customers to refer you to someone just like themselves
  • Go out of your way to make referrals easy
  • Provide referral incentives that are meaningful

5. Storytelling will dominate both sides of customer engagement

Brands have more ways than ever to tell their stories. Customers also have access to the same capabilities, often with greater impact, especially if they have a compelling story to tell about a negative experience.

Brands must be vigilant in their efforts to keep the story themes available to customers, regardless of their source, unified, consistent, and steered in a positive direction.

Gain the upper hand:

  • Emphasize customer stories and testimonials to create greater empathy
  • Repurpose story content as much as possible
  • Turn dry product content into dramatic stories featuring customers

Bonus: Listening will be more important than telling

This has always been the case. It is one of the basics for marketers that will always be part of the marketing equation. A deep understanding of your brand’s customers has never been more important. Customer behaviors are changing more rapidly than ever before, and you can expect this to accelerate in 2015.

It’s not just technologies that are causing demographics to shift and customer profiles to evolve. Macro-economic trends are a major influence on consumer behavior and the volatility of these influences is likely to increase in 2015.

Gain the upper hand by:

  • Monitor comments and hashtag references on social media
  • Get out of the office and talk to customers
  • Show customers you care about their lives
  • Continue to deliver great value in online content

2015 will have plenty of surprises for marketers, so it will be more important than ever to be vigilant for new lessons while sticking to the basics and continuing to experiment with emerging tools, techniques and online offerings, especially in the social media arena.


Nick_Rojas

This guest post is by Nick Rojas, a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas


  

 


photo credit: seanmcgrath via photopin cc
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