B2B tech marketing has come a long way…
Think back to what your world looked like just a decade ago. The iPhone was still a super-secret project at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, Facebook was only three years old and Twitter was just preparing for its official launch.
Fast forward 10 years and much has changed – and that goes for B2B marketing also.
We sat down with 60+ leading B2B marketers and asked them what’s changed. Search, social, mobile and experiential marketing are all new additions to their job descriptions. After reviewing what tactics and strategies work in 2016 and the trends they’re seeing for 2017, we’ve compiled our take on The Outlook for B2B Tech Marketing 2017.
Content (marketing) is king, but where’s the story?
Content marketing is now a key part of any B2B company’s strategy. Companies can become publishers, they can control the message, and they should use the content as a way to generate traditional earned media coverage.
Social media is now an important distribution channel, but the art is in researching within your own company so you can find sharable stories compelling enough to help your brand relate to customers.
Video, or it didn’t happen
Last year, 65 percent of executives told Forbes they visit a vendor’s website after viewing a video from that company, so B2B marketers should keep investing in video storytelling.
The tools continue to grow more cost-effective and user-friendly, but marketing professionals should research ways to make their videos sparkle in a sea of poorly lit, audio-challenged YouTube entries. Scaling up video storytelling efforts can rely on ingenuity as much as it does on user-friendly, affordable equipment and software. New online video sources like Facebook Live real-time streams may be worth pursuing.
Wondering how long your videos should be? Let the story dictate the time: If what you’re showing is interesting to the target audience, they’ll keep watching.
A tsunami of tech tools
Marketing technology is expected to be a $120 billion industry by 2025, according to Foundation Capital – so don’t expect the conga line of martech offerings to be any less crowded anytime soon. Review websites like Software Advice can help professionals find the right marketing tech solutions, but trusted colleagues can also be good resources for what works.
For example, account-based marketing is a relatively new trend, but its underlying goal of sorting through non-productive leads so you can directly target potential customers has been around for a while. As the pace of innovation in the industry is quickening, marketing professionals now have that much more homework.
No school like old school
While there has been an emphasis on technology, mobility and social media, old school marketing tactics are still effective and stand out in the sea of marketing campaigns. From direct mailers and promotional gifts to fax-based marketing and live events, there’s a reason why these marketing tactics are still around.
Some attendees were surprised that media tours and in-person events were not only still in use in 2016 - but were also delivering results. For example, media tours can make journalists on-deadline very happy, while event marketing remains an important way into a buyer’s heart.
B2B tech marketers are having success in this brave new tech-centric marketing world. Despite the fire-hose of changes in the last 10 years, the elements of good storytelling remain unchanged, marketing ingenuity can still win the day, and the best technologies are only as good as the people using them.