Four trends shaping B2B engagement
The arrival of Spring brings with it several rites of passage: warmer weather, extended daylight – and time to revisit our marketing plans for the year. It’s time to look at sales results, review customer feedback and decide which activities are worth continuing – perhaps ramping up – and which you may need to retool, or even retire.
Working with such a wide range of B2B clients gives Arketi a broad view of currents and trends in business-to-business marketing. We’ve identified four trends in particular that we think are worth considering when reviewing your 2019 plans. Discuss among the members of your team which of these could demonstrate enhanced capabilities and wow prospects with innovative new ideas.
Give thought to thought leadership
Positioning a company’s experts as “thought leaders” is hardly a new idea. From bylined articles and blog posts to videos and webinars, such “content” helps give your brand a face and shows you have a finger on the pulse of the industry. Customers appreciate it too: 96% of B2B buyers say they would like to see even more expert perspective. But how much original “thought” actually goes into thought leadership content? Are these trusted leaders truly breaking new ground, or are they simply regurgitating statistics and talking points already understood?
Before simply ordering your marketing team to get more expert thought leadership coverage, it pays to take time to develop a unique and authentic point-of-view. By bringing something new to the conversation, you’re much more likely to deliver that “aha” moment that inspires readers to engage and want to learn more.
Need to amplify your perspective? Consider generating your own data by conducting a survey of topics and issues within your industry -- then mine the responses for interesting trends and surprising outcomes. Your experts can analyze and comment on the findings -- building credibility by connecting their insights with data that’s unique. Publish a report, an infographic, whitepaper or e-book, and market across all channels. Then parse the report into bite-size message points that are ideal for social media.
Sell your brand experience
Today’s markets are plagued by product parity. Despite marketers’ efforts to find points of differentiation, the majority of goods, services and technologies do pretty much the same things as their counterparts. This sense of commoditized sameness makes it difficult to deliver the exceptional, next-level experience customers crave.
Instead of repeating product-centered campaigns, consider emphasizing the product experience instead. Customers may not always care -- or even understand -- what nuance makes your solution better. But they certainly relate to how it makes them feel and how it improves their lives. This requires taking a holistic view of one’s customers and finding ways to personalize their journey, to the point where the experience supersedes -- or even becomes -- the product.
A recent partnership between Ford, Amazon and Starbucks highlights the type of connection customers love and businesses should strive for. As a Ford driver approaches her local Starbucks, the car’s embedded Alexa service will ask if it should order her favorite coffee for pickup. The brand experience is now far more than just a car. Challenge your B2B marketing team to understand and articulate how the experience can become the product.
Seeking to stand out in the crowded SMB space, Cox Business asked Arketi Group to position the company and its executives as industry experts and a trusted partner for growing SMBs. Arketi developed a thought leadership platform that would generate awareness in Cox Business’ local markets, while also being relevant to national media.