To drive leads, make sure your content hits home with specific audiences. It’s definitely worth considering a video for getting your message across. And when it comes to technology, don’t overlook some potentially very useful innovations in areas such as advanced CRM and AI.
These are just a few of the trends our B2B marketing consultants have picked out as being especially important in 2022. Discover what’s happening in the post-pandemic marketplace, and what it means for your business…
B2B marketing in a post-pandemic world
What’s on the mind of your potential leads? What problems generally need to be solved before your lead commits?
You probably noticed that customer priorities changed significantly when the pandemic first arrived. And in a lot of cases, they’ve shifted again over recent months. However, don’t assume that it’s a case of ‘back to normal’ just yet! Update your research on buyer sentiment, including your buyer personas if you use them. Understanding the buyer is crucial to B2B marketing strategies. Supplement this information with our top tips when selling B2B to take your strategy to the next level.
Deloitte’s quarterly CFO survey is a useful snapshot of what’s on the minds of UK decision-makers. The latest one raised a few points of particular interest to B2B marketers:
The appetite for expansion is strong. This includes not just exploring new markets, but also things like investments in new technology. However, for your customers, it’s clear that this is no time for expensive mistakes. To allay concerns, it’s more important than ever to give leads information that’s both audience-specific, and also reflects where they are in the buyer journey (more on both of these below).
Risks remain significant. Inflation and supply chain disruption are particular pain points right now. Inflation tends to throw budgets askew. So you might want to underline benefits such as ‘simple, predictable monthly payments’. On the supply chain point, think about highlighting things like near-shore production and your order fulfillment record: i.e. elements that illustrate your reliability.
Here is our selection of upcoming B2B marketing trends for 2022...
Trend 1: Customer-focused content marketing
The software platform you’ve just developed has the potential to be used across lots of different industry sectors.
That’s great news. But remember that the specific requirements of different buyers will likely vary between sectors. The business manager within a clinical practice might need lots of reassurance on data protection. The engineering partnership wants to know about the ease of collaboration. And the accountancy firms you intend to target will have questions about systems compatibility.
Within those businesses, there may also be multiple people who have a say in the buying decision - all of whom have subtly different priorities.
And if that wasn’t enough, the type of content you provide to leads should reflect where they are in the buying process: informational ‘non-salesy’ content when they’re in general fact-finding mode, through to more product-specific details later on.
This is what we mean by customer-focused content marketing. It’s a lot to think about, but with a little bit of expert input, it’s definitely something you can get right in 2022.
Trend 2: Customer experience
When you imagine a business buyer doing their research, chances are they’re scrolling through info on a desktop monitor. But did you know that 80% of B2B buyers use mobile devices to make purchases?
If you haven’t done so already, 2022 is definitely the year for redesigning your website to make it more mobile-friendly (tip: for more information on the value of mobile, take a look at our mcommerce guide). More generally, one of the most satisfying things about user experience optimisation is that small, inexpensive changes can actually make a big difference; (check out our guide on this). Examples include removing stale content from your website to make it easier to navigate or repurposing older items to make them more relevant.
Trend 3: Advanced CRM
CRM (customer relationship management) software enables you to keep track of leads throughout the entire customer journey. This technology also makes it a lot easier to provide the right information to the right people at the right time: an all-important aspect of B2B sales and marketing.
If you are not yet using CRM, it could be worth taking a fresh look at the market. The technology is becoming cheaper, easier to implement, and easier to use; worth bearing in mind if you are still grappling with spreadsheets for managing your leads.
The main platforms (e.g. Salesforce and Hubspot) are constantly adding new features. So if you are an existing user, look at what’s been added recently to make sure you are getting the most out of your tech.
A couple of especially useful recent developments include social CRM - i.e. integration of social media channels into CRM platforms. If a business customer leaves a query on Twitter or Linkedin, social CRM makes it easier to respond, while also linking these exchanges to other information you have on the lead. We’re also seeing more chatbot CRM integration: a useful way of providing leads and customers with instant answers to queries.
Trend 4: New heights of brand personalisation
We’ve already looked at the importance of providing leads with the right information at the right time. Personalisation actually goes one step beyond this. It’s about creating a custom experience for visitors. It’s all based on data (i.e. things like website browsing behaviour, email click-throughs, and demographic information).
The videos and e-brochures you spotlight, the reviews that appear on your product pages, the wording of your calls-to-action - even the display images: with personalisation, different leads get a subtly different view of your company when they visit your website.
Is this approach worth it? The evidence suggests so. Research from Epsilon suggests 80% of customers are more likely to buy after being offered a personalised experience.
Trend 5: Video as the dominant medium
Video isn’t just for consumer campaigns. In fact, more than 70% of B2B marketers use it already. There are some very good reasons for this. Not least; your leads’ time is precious, and this medium happens to be ideal at getting your point across quickly and memorably.
Especially if you want to build long-term relationships with clients, a video can be an excellent way of highlighting your company culture. Animated videos are worth considering too: particularly for explaining complex technical products and concepts.
Trend 6: AI-powered marketing
We expect that a lot more businesses will realise the potential both of AI (artificial intelligence) and IoT (Internet of things) when it comes to marketing.
In sectors such as construction, retail, IT infrastructure, and logistics, smart devices have the potential to let you harvest huge volumes of granular data about how business customers are using your products.
Once you start combining this with technologies such as machine learning and advanced analytics, you become better able to predict usage patterns. This puts you in a much stronger position to anticipate future behaviour. In turn, you can roll out things like push notifications and special deals on stock replenishment - right at the point of need.
Ready to get going with your B2B marketing plan? Check out more of our articles about content marketing on our blog. Or are you looking for help to reinvigorate your marketing efforts? To discover how Curated Digital helps B2B brands, get in touch today.