J anuary and February are typical months, when all without exception write about trends of the year. There was no lack of forecasts and trends regarding B2B marketing in the previous season. So which B2B marketing trends in 2017 are being discussed by our colleagues all over the world? Based on a few popular online sources, we provide here the list of tendencies which we consider the most relevant for our B2B community.
In this regard, business communities ironically talk about the "death" of Digital Marketing meaning its niche position until recent time. The application for a full merger and dominance of online based on research that says that B2B marketers have ceased to distinguish and separate the online and offline marketing, and most of the activities of marketing moves online. Tactics as web marketing, search engine optimization, email, online advertising, marketing in social networks, video and mobile marketing have become part of the arsenal of modern B2B marketer and become major.
Technology and data now allow consumers to understand the context of its environment - what it wants right now, what are the colors of its feelings, tone, emotional state, preferences and so on. This fact confirms that the search for competitive advantage in 2017 will be closely linked to the company's ability to provide personalized best experience. The reason for the popularity of the CEM in B2B is the same as in B2C - companies increase their awareness of the new consumer choice that linked to past experiences, as well as to experience in the buying process. However, the biggest problem that marketers face is the visualization of the status of the consumer in the whole image - instead of using disparate data from different applications and that is getting bigger. In 2017 the best companies will focus on the main problem solving - how to go from a variety of tools and channels to getting a full and clear picture of the consumer - and to make decisions quickly and to provide them with the best experience.
Earlier, the loyalty program based on limited data and on the history of previous sales. Today, marketers have much broader sections on consumer preferences, and thus can provide a much more personalized service packages to its customers. Trend is apparent - expansion of services - more relevant and personal and on different channels, - using new rich data, including real-time.
The goal here is that each vendor should have all the necessary tools for sale available. Talking about the consumer insights, content, calculation tools, illustrative case studies, seller's knowledge and skills to competently advise the client, vendors have to use them in order to ensure better interaction at an earlier stage. Indeed, in previous years that had plenty of researches which showed that consumers pass up to 50-70% of their procurement path without the traditional contact with vendors. This significantly changes the role of the company between marketing and sales. Marketing becomes much more important as it is responsible for client’s "early way", but it also has to involve sellers at these early stages, giving them accurate information about the behavior of the client.
There are 3 notes at once of the trend - the center of promomix activities shifted to video, email marketing after some pessimistic forecasts is on the rise again and SMM has continious rapid growth. Also, because of the shift in the budget trend of SEO to content marketing - in 2017 marketers are going to increase the amount of their content by 49%. At the same time the cost of advertising online are going to be stabled. Again popularity of podcasting, and as we have said, the growth of social media, are increasing with no doubts. Experts also talk about changing retargeting concept - it becomes less intrusive and more integrated into different channels.
Returning to the content-marketing. In 2017 it is going to be considered as a separate and important trend to mention the cultivation of the content of culture and its extension to the entire organization. This spring, for example, experts expect marketing content to go beyond the marketing department. The creation of content will involve everyone who can create and share important information about customers, products and the company.
Another trend that is associated with the technology represents sources which include optional technologies not only already well-known category of CRM and Marketing Automation, but also a set of tools associated with the provision of the available for sale examples. And if a full CRM has become an indispensable tool in the eyes of B2B professionals, the Marketing Automation is considered to be under-utilized - on this very many comments in the network. Automation of various marketing activities (workflows) and getting quick good results are not so easy as it seems in theory.
On the contrary, there is a theory that many companies are wary of the myth of "a single platform marketing» (marketing suite). The idea is based on integration and consolidation of functionality to automate business processes, marketing and sales, services, e-commerce, social media, new generation of CMS and others. Online tools have been in the minds of many vendors who already offered similar platforms. However, the controversy "which is better", "all in one" or "the best of the best" do not cease. Despite the many benefits of integrated platforms - as a single ideology, an interface, and the availability of integrated data, they have a lot of disadvantages. These programs are very expensive, while there are new online tools on the market every month - more productive and less expensive. Marketing Technologies grow on the eyes as we have already mentioned before. Trend of the 2017 - marketers will more actively seek for a compromise between high costs and the ease of use and availability of integrated platforms, performance of separate programs. But it is clear that include everything in one platform is not possible.
Predictive technologies are gaining momentum. Using a variety of data from different channels and statistical processing model, marketers can significantly improve forecasts and templates on behavior in order to determine the best channels and mechanisms of interaction. The challenge however, is to make it more effective - faster, better, thinner.
3 trend will develop in this area in 2017:
To summarize, it is clear that all trends are directed towards the development of the world Big Data and how this data is used to improve the customer experience. Most of the trends mentioned above concern these two closely related fields of knowledge. Channels and marketing activity are nothing more than methods of tracking where and how users migrate. And almost all of these things - the new terms and concepts - are already expected to be widespread in the B2B markets all over the world in 2017.