The Top 15 B2B Marketing Trends of 2017

October 06, 2017

By Kirsten Oelrich

Blindly jumping from one bandwagon to the next is no way to run a B2B enterprise. Smart digital marketing executives know, however, that there’s ample value in drawing inspiration from good ideas. Learning what’s going on in the advertising world informs your actions and makes you far better at capitalizing on the spirit of the times.

As some of the web’s most proficient outreach experts, we here at TA Digital field plenty of questions about the next big thing in B2B marketing. Here are 15 of the top trends we’ve seen so far in 2017 and what you should know to make them work for you.

Not All Trends Are Mere Hype

Sometimes, people imitate others out of a misconception that doing so will lead to instant success. An idea’s popularity aside, it’s critical to choose strategies that are firmly grounded in duplicable results.

     1. Testimonials and Other User-generated Content Matter

User-generated content, or UGC, gives your brand the presence it needs to make an impact in the minds of overwhelmed consumers. Instead of getting swallowed up in the background noise, you can use testimonials, comments and other forms of UGC to engender unprecedented trust.

Testimonials hold massive sway among groups like B2B buyers and millennial consumers. These segments trust their peers far more than they believe in the validity of marketing materials. Sharing voluntary comments from past clients makes your brand seem far more authoritative.

     2. Referral Programs Take Center Stage

Referral programs are another way to leverage the cachet associated with peer trust. Companies that encourage consumers to tell their friends about their positive experiences gain the instant validity of word-of-mouth. They also lower the barriers to establishing their brands as capable providers. Whether you offer discount codes or special insider products to referrers, recruiting help is always smart.

Although referrals and testimonials are similar, referrals are incentivized. More than one-third of companies employ the technique, and the overwhelming majority of consumers are significantly more likely to purchase something when a friend or acquaintance recommended it to them.

     3. Mobile Marketing Gets More Involved

Although mobile marketing is nothing new, it’s still evolving. Search engine giants are becoming increasingly aware of mobile site capabilities. Responsive design has taken on an increased value even though it’s no longer a standout marketing feature.

True, most businesses already have sites that cooperate with mobile devices. B2B companies, however, must continue to focus on optimizing their development and deployment practices to deliver completely seamless experiences.

     4. Firms Work Smarter With Automation

Marketing automation makes it possible to nurture leads throughout their lifecycles and identify high-value prospects. More B2B enterprises are leveraging smarter computing to lighten their workloads.

Whether you’re stuck with an old system that makes you do everything manually or simply don’t know how to get started with automation, there’s no excuse for not improving. To expand, you must speak to larger audiences. This demands that you use intelligent software to stay focused and handle the incidental details, such as sending emails, remarketing via third-party sites and adding dynamic content to your brand footprint.

     5. Outreach Gets Personalized

Your clients aren’t monolithic. Your outreach strategy needs to show that you respect these distinctions by offering unique experiences for your site visitors, email recipients and social media followers. Fortunately, many of the same tools that facilitate straightforward automation also make it easy to track and respond to individual users with experiences that fit their personalities and interests.

     6. Account-based Marketing Caters to Companies

Just as you personalize your web experiences, you can benefit from using Account-based Marketing, or ABM, to target key clients. The relationships that you have with your partners and customers vary to reflect which of your products and services they favor and how they use them to further their organizational goals.

ABM practices nurture individual clients based on their expressed needs to portray your company as truly useful. Many marketing automation tools also help you make sense of the customer data that you need to apply ABM efficiently.

     7. Social Media Usage Expands

Social media is an established part of the internet, but it remains in constant flux. For instance, the Facebooks and Twitters of today may lose relevance as new platforms spring up. This phenomenon is especially pertinent when you have niche clients whose products make certain venues more lucrative, such as clothing companies and interior design brands that stick to Instagram or Pinterest. As a B2B marketer, you may also find it beneficial to prioritize your time by concentrating on sites that tend to cater to the professional crowd, such as LinkedIn.

     8. Marketers Build Online Customer Communities

Interactive websites that let your consumers share stories and stay intellectually involved in your brand are vital to B2B success. Whether they take the shape of forums or community FAQ sections that reward participants for sharing useful answers, they help you stay connected to honest opinions. They can also provide insights about product use cases that you might not have anticipated, increasing your power to meet the demand for more comprehensive offerings.

     9. Advocate Marketing Grows in Importance

Testimonials aren’t the only potentially valuable sources of consumer feedback. By cultivating advocates and brand evangelists, you increase the chances that people will speak out positively in comments, on product pages and in person.

Public advocacy will never totally replace intentional marketing, but it can improve your advertising efficacy by spreading knowledge about your brand. It also makes people more likely to discover good things when they research you based on your marketing campaigns.

     10. Leaders Cross-sell and Upsell

It’s impossible to be all things to all people, but with broader sales strategies, you can satisfy far larger segments at all times. Suggesting products and services that relate to a consumer’s initial inquiries is a great way to increase revenue and imbue your brand with additional value. Upselling and cross-selling also differentiate you from competitors that specialize in limited areas and domains.

     11. Advertisers Make Newsletters Interactive

While many of their early-internet contemporaries have fallen by the wayside, newsletters remain as relevant as ever. To stay that way, however, they need to be updated. Consumers who are accustomed to interactivity want subscription emails that they can actively engage with, so why not answer their cravings with richer content?

     12. Customer Events Improve Relationships

Customer events build bridges between the abstract world of digital marketing and real life. By helping your consumers associate faces with your company, they increase openness and make relationships feel genuine. They also let you and your consumers learn about each other in a mutually beneficial, transparent manner.

     13. Firms Seek to Master Content Marketing

B2B advertising thrives on demonstrating value, and content marketing is an established tool for showing people that you’ve got something good to offer. From blogs to social media posts and videos, creating new content helps you explain why your brand is worthy of consideration. You’ve probably got lots of competition, so it’s smart to make your case.

     14. Good Outreach Means Full-channel Integration

The proliferation of readily accessible digital outreach channels is like nothing in advertising history, but it comes at a price. Consumers are just as free to cross channels as you are, and it’s easy to get wrapped up in fads.

Switching to an integrated, omnichannel marketing plan improves your odds of spending your time and money wisely. It also ensures that the resources you devote to nurturing leads on one channel bear fruits elsewhere.

     15. Firms Strive to Keep Customers Satisfied

Customer satisfaction mechanisms make B2B outreach far easier. In addition to helping you minimize negative responses and create more advocates, building a customer satisfaction system grants you the power to refine your operating models and services. Since marketing only works when you offer things that people want, knowing what makes them happy is a prerequisite for successful outreach.

Are You a B2B Marketing Trendsetter?

Understanding how these vital marketing concepts work can help you make bigger waves and establish your company as a competent brand that any business would love to have as a partner. On the other hand, to become a real marketing genius, you must build on established ideas and improve them with your own special touch.

Don’t just follow others. Be a B2B leader that your peers and partners look to as a source of inspiration. Connect with a TA Digital expert to master marketing strategies that set you apart from the crowd.

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TA Digital is an innovative digital transformation agency, specializing in delivering digital experience, commerce, and marketing solutions. For nearly two decades, we have been helping traditional businesses transform and create dynamic digital cultures through disruptive strategies and agile deployment of innovative solutions. We are known as a global leader in the digital technology industry for helping marketing leaders achieve their revenue targets, create profitable, omni-channel customer and commerce experiences. TA Digital has high-level strategic partnerships with digital technology companies AdobeMicrosoftSitecoreAcquiaMarketoSAP HybrisElastic Path, IBM Watson Marketing, Coveo and Episerver. The company was named on 2013, 2014, 2015 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the United States.