Quarter four is coming to a close, so it’s time to start asking questions like: Did our brand meet or exceed our sales goals? How can we perform better in 2017?
If you’re a B2B brand, this question has another facet to it: How can we build better leads and healthier business relationships next year?
With President-elect Trump entering the White House just as the business world resets with new budgets, new metrics, and new expectations, you may feel that you're entering 2017 flying blind.
However, there are four upcoming B2B content marketing trends that we’d bet money on occurring - literally - in 2017. These trends can serve as marketing guide posts for the coming year.
Read on to see how you can use these trends to generate leads and boost sales:
Trend #1: Make A Move, Get Visual
If a television is on behind the person talking to you, do you find it hard to maintain consistent eye contact? Do you find yourself following idle movements around you for no specific reason?
As humans, we’re drawn to motion, so it’s almost impossible for us to control the urge to look at something that’s moving, even in the background. Moving images, from videos to GIFs, are now incredibly simple for the average person to create - which means they’re the new normal.
Never forget that when you’re building your B2B marketing plans, you’re still reaching out to humans. Grab their attention with compelling videos and entertaining GIFs. You’ll see an almost instantaneous increase in both organic leads and leads that make it all the way through your sales funnel.
Trend #2: Use Social Media Analytics
However, what is common in B2B is to find that marketing teams feel that social media marketing is, at best, an “inexact art,” and at worst, a shot into the dark.
This uncertainty shouldn’t be the case with any marketing strategy that you’re pouring human and financial resources into, and brands are realizing that.
Investing in social media marketing analytics platforms lets you know what works, A/B tests your theories, and grows the number of organic leads you attract through consistently high quality, timely content that interests your target audience.
Trend #3: Paying More Isn’t Always Better
The recent presidential election showed us that it’s possible to run an incredibly low cost campaign and generate results that exceed expectations. Does this also apply to B2B? You bet.
We’ve already drilled home the importance of high quality content, and here’s where all that effort to create the very best comes back to you: Great content can be distributed for free.
Have someone in mind who creates amazing social media content, and invest some of your PPC budget to allow them the time to exploit this channel. The investment will pay off.
Do it, especially if you like warm leads served up fresh. Have a blogger on staff who makes your story come to life, and causes the sales to roll in? Yep, they’re worth promoting instead of raising your ad spend.
Trend #4: Accept That AI Leads To Real Sales
While we could populate an endless list of other trends, such as personalization, data mining, and predictive marketing, they really all boil down to one core concept: artificial intelligence (AI).
While AI has been in the news recently for political reasons, it’s important that as a B2B marketer, you don’t shy away from employing this tool when reaching out to customers.
Using AI to generate more leads and increase sales won’t put you and your team out of a job - it’ll make it more interesting by removing the tedium involved.
What’s more, it will provide you the tools you need to increase your productivity and effectiveness, which boosts the esteem of your brand - and your department—with senior management.
Last Word—Providing a Solid Foundation
Keep these four trends in mind in 2017. They'll provide a sound foundation for next's year's marketing campaigns that will help boost lead generation and sales, so you won't be flying blind.
We’re looking forward to seeing what the brands we love have in store for us in marketing innovation and company growth. We’re here to help you every step of the way - all you have to do is ask. Check out this video to see what we can do for you.