January 1st comes and goes every year. And every year, you make New Year’s resolutions that you swear you’ll stick to—going to the gym three times a week, cooking healthy food at home, and planning fun trips every weekend (instead of sitting at home binging on Netflix).
What usually actually ends up happening is, you fall back into familiar patterns and do the same thing again the next year.
The same thing might happen with the New Year’s resolutions you make in your professional life. But, marketing is an ever-evolving field and the process can be greatly improved by adopting new technologies and methodologies.
This year, make it a point to venture out in search of new B2B marketing tactics. Once you see how much more effective new solutions can be and how they can ease your workload, you’ll be shocked at why you didn’t adopt them earlier.
Here are five marketing resolutions for B2B marketers you can make right now to make 2018 your most productive and successful year yet:
1. Embrace Automation
If you aren’t already, start taking advantage of marketing automation software to streamline processes and free up more of your time to think about big picture.
According to the Salesforce “State of Marketing Report”, 60% of B2B marketers claim that since they’ve adopted marketing automation, they’ve been able to focus more on improving audience segmentation and personas. Additionally, they said the #1 benefit of marketing automation is the ability to generate more and better leads.
Implement automation tools that let you combine a variety of tasks into one system including:
- Email marketing
- Campaign development
- Landing page creation
- Lead nurturing
- Data reporting and analysis
Hubspot, for example, is a marketing, sales and CRM platform that does all of those things. It excels at helping you convert your business website traffic into leads and customers. They provide you with detailed analytics and ROI tracking to help you develop campaigns, integrate social media, and create successful content.
Another tool to help you automate your activities is Zapier. It is a user-friendly tool that helps you manage your web apps, so you can transfer information, start workflows, and streamline routine tasks.
It works with more than 750 external apps including Google Sheets, Gmail, Facebook, Asana, Quickbooks, and Trello to put all your work into a single system so that you can get more done in less time.
2. Explore Emerging Technologies
In 2018, it will be all about new and innovative technologies. And, there are many options for your marketing department to consider.
Explore how you can utilize emerging technologies such as chatbots, machine learning/AI, and augmented/virtual reality. Each of these can be experimented with and implemented to help you better connect with your clients, analyze data, and improve the overall customer experience.
According to a study by InsideSales.com, your business has five minutes or less to respond to a lead. After five minutes, there’s a 10x drop in your odds of getting in touch.
Chatbots can help you decrease your response time and improve your sales and service with live chat options. This is because chatbots never sleep and continue to help your customers and leads even when you’re offline.
They also help you gain valuable information about your customers, similar to as if they were in a physical branch interacting with a real sales person, such as:
- Their interests
- Their buying intentions
- Their current and past browsing/purchasing behavior
- Their demographics
With chatbots, you can provide the most personalized experience possible in real time, which keeps customers engaged and more inclined to return to your website.
What’s more, chatbots provide B2B marketers with conversational data to analyze. Conversational analytics give B2B marketers insight into how website visitors interact with chatbots or other devices with a conversational interface. The guesswork involved when interpreting data from conversational analytics is minimal at best, in comparison to traditional click analytics.
With conversational analytics B2B marketers can clearly see:
- How many engagement steps there were before a conversion
- If there were conversation bottlenecks
- What triggered conversion in a chat
Botanalytics is a conversation analytics tool that helps many businesses improve customer engagement and retention.
This tool can analyze millions of conversations to help you glean the most important insights from your chatbot conversational data and make improvements where necessary.
Machine learning, or Artificial Intelligence, can help your company operate faster and smarter because it enables you to sift through an infinite amount of marketing data to discover trends and insights. Equipped with these valuable insights, you’ll be able to make more intelligent B2B marketing decisions.
For example, Personali, an AI-powered solution for ecommerce companies, analyzes vast amounts of online consumer data in order to segment users and generate intelligent personalized incentives for each shopper in real time.
Backed with the principles of behavioral economics and machine learning technology, the personalized incentives make each consumer much more likely to complete a purchase and become a loyal, returning customer in the future.
Augmented and Virtual Realities:
By 2022, Virtual Reality experiences will account for 40% of all B2B interactions. Implementing virtual or augmented reality allows your clients to try your product or service before they buy. You can use VR for a variety of services such as training, demos, and more.
For example, Lloyd’s Register, a global engineering organization that provides compliance, risk, and technical consulting services, needed a way to better showcase their safety training services. Specifically, they needed a solution that was more cost-effective than flying in engineers who work on offshore oil rigs to utilize their training facility.
Virtual reality proved to be the perfect solution. In their VR experience, engineers are placed in a virtual oil rig environment and given the opportunity to evaluate various potential safety hazards. They can then demonstrate what the impact would have been, if they had failed to detect them.
3. Incorporate More Video Marketing
Video marketing is also becoming one of the biggest trends of 2018. In fact, 65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets are key to communicating their brand online, according to the CMO council.
Using video on your website will allow you to connect to customers on a deeper level thanks to the visually-rich storytelling component. A video lets you get across your brand message succinctly while keeping your website visitors engaged. The key is to use professionally produced, high-quality videos that include all the elements from sound to text, to image, and more.
An example of a great B2B video is this one by Schneider Electric:
Their B2B offering—facility management software—is successfully presented here in an interesting, compelling, and amusing way. They emphasize the potential impact a great facility manager can make, using the right tools.
4. Focus on Mobile and Micro Moments
In 2018, it will be imperative for you to shift your focus to mobile. This includes:
- Making sure you’re content is optimized for mobile
- Building a mobile responsive website, if you haven’t already
- Beginning to optimize your content for voice search (as it is being increasingly used on mobile devices)
This shift is crucial because Google’s mobile-first index will roll out soon, and they will penalize websites that aren’t optimized for mobile. Not to mention, B2B buyers are increasingly using their phones to research products—up to 84% believe that mobile is vital.
A solid mobile experience will ensure that you keep growing your organic traffic, decrease your bounce rate, and engage with your clients wherever they’re located.
At the same time, your mobile presence can be used to improve your micro moments.
Micro moments occur when a person reflexively turns to a device, typically a smartphone, in order to obtain information, buy a product, or watch a video.
For example, imagine you’re out at lunch when you suddenly think about how long it has been taking for your company’s LinkedIn profile to gain traction. Almost instinctively, you turn to your smartphone and start typing “ways to increase your following on LinkedIn” in a search engine. In this moment, you are on a mission to find the information you are looking for and a potential solution to your problem.
To make these moments possible, B2B marketers have to provide rich and useful content that provides the necessary information to make a quick purchase or gain necessary information. And, these moments will increasingly occur via mobile.
These micro moments are critical touch points where you can anticipate your customer’s needs and address them immediately .
5. Increase Your Native Advertising Budget
People are becoming increasingly frustrated with disruptive advertising, which is why you should shift your ad budgets to native advertising instead.
Native ads are different than traditional advertising. They blend into a user’s experience seamlessly, so that in many cases, a customer doesn’t even notice them outright. Rather, they subconsciously process the advertisement.
In fact, consumers looked at native ads 53% more frequently than display ads.
Examples of native advertising include:
- In-Feed Ads: On Facebook or on news sites such as Yahoo, these ads read like just another story.
The above native ads can be found in your Facebook newsfeed. The only thing separating them from organic posts is the small text that says “Sponsored” on the top left corner.
- Content Recommendation: On websites within your industry your ads can pop up as a content recommendation for further information or reading. One company that offers this type of service is Taboola.
In the screenshot above you can see an example of how Taboola features content recommendations from across the web in an organic manner.
Falling back into familiar B2B marketing practices may be the easier thing to do; however, if you’re motivated to make 2018 your best year yet, implementing new B2B marketing techniques is the way to go. Challenging yourself to adopt new tactics will pay off with better results and a reduced workload, so it’s a win-win situation no matter how you look at it.
If you’re ready to take on these B2B marketing New Year’s resolutions for 2018, contact KeyScouts today and see how we can help.