Monitor B2B Marketing Trends: Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut
Last post we explored general-interest marketing associations as a source of inspiration. In this post, we’d like to focus on the main-stay of many of our customers here at Hoffman—B2B marketing.
We’ve all been there. There is a new product or service to launch. All B2B marketers know the checklist by heart:
• New spec sheets
• New brochures
• A white paper or two
• An email campaign
• Updated trade show booth
• PR campaign
• Ads in trade pubs
… and the inevitable email and direct mail list rentals to drive traffic to your trade show booth, Web site, and into the eager arms of your channel partners. We rinse and repeat these B2B tactics because, well, they work, right? Correct. All of these B2B marketing activities are, and probably will continue to be, the backbone of any effective B2B campaign. But what if your organization could get out of its formulaic B2B rut and embrace some new ideas for new markets? Go down some roads—and potential markets—less travelled? Here’s a shocking truth: according to a recent Forbes Insight report, 82% of executives under 40 use smartphones to access information more frequently than PCs . Does your current B2B checklist have a mobile content component? Many under 40 execs are making some fairly large B2B buying decisions.
Here’s an interesting contrast: in one study 85% of B2B marketers say they should use social media to present information to customers , yet only 20% of CMOs surveyed use social media for customer engagement . Are we missing something here? Our guess is that many of us have the best intentions of broadening the type of collaterals, writing, and media content to reach a larger audience, but we’re so stuck in the familiar that, with little guidance or assistance, we can’t develop materials efficiently.
At Hoffman, we’ve found that one of the best ways to get out of the B2B rut is take a broader look at the B2B marketing landscape. As a result of our exploration, we’ve honed our skills as better communicators. There’s been an uptick in requests for blogs, white boards, social media, and video scripts here. We don’t see this trend as negative—all these additional media venues give our B2B clients a leg up on the competition. And there’s been no drop-off in the production of more traditional B2B marketing collateral.
Get connected. Monitor B2B Marketing Trends
We have a suggestion. Besides getting a treadmill desk, one of the best exercises any CMO or B2B marketer can do is go exploring. Go off the beaten B2B path and take at least a few hours a week to explore the latest and greatest B2B marketing trends, including both strategies and tactics.
Although we don’t explicitly endorse any of these online sources, we find these, and many others, as sources for inspiration to help us deliver better content, and most importantly, understand changing B2B marketing trends.
Ad buying decisions keep many B2B marketers up at night. The B2B section in Advertising Age addresses this concern. The publication section hosts case studies, informative articles, and online and traditional advertising strategies and tactics. Top writers analyze and report on the latest B2B marketing trends, with emphasis on ad campaigns.
Most B2B markets already subscribe to or bookmark this site—for good reason. DMN is one of the leading direct marketing publications in the B2B space. News, events, and the latest B2B marketing trends are relentlessly covered. We suggest digging deeper into its online site.
The Channels tab provides great coverage of the latest tactics in online outreach, such as B2B Content Marketing, Big Data, Mobile, and using Social Media for B2B campaigns. The Resources tab has a raft of downloadable guides, eBooks, white papers, and reports.
This U.K.-based site features blog posts, seminars, books, case studies, and reports. Many are free, but even the paid reports are relatively inexpensive. The content is always fresh, with insights from some of the top B2B marketers in the industry.
Blog posts and articles at B2B Marketing cover topics ranging from effective direct mail strategies to public relations. Its unique landing page has three main sections of interest to all B2B marketers: Research and Reports, Case Studies, and How To.
The page also has a unique and prominent search bar that reads “Get the answer to your B2B marketing needs…” Our query “Why use Content Marketing” came up with over 100 related articles on their site. Membership buys you access to virtually all the site’s info, yet there is plenty of free advice, thoughtful editorials, and tactical tips on B2B marketing trends.
This site is a cornucopia of aggregated content from the best-of-the-best in B2B marketing trends, news, and views. Featured home page articles come from analyst firms, TED talks, and a wealth of others. If the featured stories aren’t enough, its sidebar provides a link list to over 75 B2B blogs, analyst firms, and other B2B online resources.
By aggregating content and providing a wealth of outside sources that are just a click away, B2B Marketing Zone is a bookmark must-have. Best of all, this avalanche of news, views, tips, and research is free. Visitors can sign up for a customized newsletter delivery to their email box by filling out a simple “social graph” that tailors content to specific interests. However, we like to dive right into whatever content catches our eye.
These and other B2B Marketing aggregation sites should be a welcome respite for any B2B marketer. Take some time out to prowl for new ideas. Compare current company B2B strategies and tactics with leaders in the industry.
Try something new.
Have you considered more video, multimedia, white boards or eBooks? Are you really using social media effectively, or is it just a checkbox in your B2B plan? As we know at Hoffman, it all comes down to well-written content, regardless of the medium. But above all, don’t get stuck in a B2B rut. It’s an open road when you look around.
Have you launched any new B2B campaign materials this year? How successful were they? We’d love to hear any innovations you’ve brought to the traditional B2B playbook.
- “The Untethered Executive. Forbes Insight” http://images.forbes.com/forbesinsights/StudyPDFs/The_Untethered_Executive.pdf
- Iconise. “21 B2B Trends that will Blow Your Mind” http://www.iconsive.com/inbound-marketing-blog/21-b2b-marketing-statistics-that-will-blow-your-mind?utm_content=bufferadff8&utm_medium=social&utm_source=Webbiquity.com
- MarketLand. http://marketingland.com/study-20-cmo-using-social-media-customer-engagment-77291
For the last 30 years, Hoffman Marketing Communications has created white papers, collateral, and more recently video and multimedia, on complex business issues and technologies.