Before we dive into our B2B marketing trends for 2019, let’s get one thing clear – the only constant in marketing is change. This statement means that the business-to-business (B2B) marketing landscape in this New Year is going to be different from what you’ve been doing successfully in the past. Things are going to be more competitive. You will need to go the extra mile. Owing to the continuously evolving technological advancements within the B2B marketing sphere, you will have to be a step ahead.
While this means that you might face some challenges, it also doubles up as a fantastic new opportunity to learn, explore and grow your business. With so many B2B marketing trends and predictions flying at you from all direction, where should you put your time-pressed, limited-funded resources? You can’t possibly waste your time and resources into experimenting. Strategies that don’t guarantee results are no good.
In this article, I’ve tried to make a comprehensive list of B2B marketing trends. I believe that these will help you enhance your B2B marketing and sales efforts in 2019.
B2B Marketing Trends That Will Dominate in 2019
In simple words, intent data activities help track online behaviour and predict what the user intends on doing next. Intent data has been used successfully in the B2C sector for a long time, and now it’s B2B’s time.
The basic principle of gathering data stems from information. One of the most significant B2B marketing trends in 2019, intent data is collected differently. In B2C spheres intent data is primarily extracted from online searches and online shopping carts. In B2B, mainly the website pages visited by the user and their content preferences come into play.
Intent data results for B2B marketers can help guide you. It pinpoints you to the people in a specific company you should connect with, for successful sales. It helps identify gatekeepers and the people actively involved in decision making. You could quickly identify the purchase makers with intent data.
This year, we will see more and more B2B organizations subscribing to intent data. Matching the results with internal databases and CRMs is the first step. The focus then shifts to marketing to decision makers, accounts or stakeholder groups. Combined with the right messaging communication, these practices can help boost campaign results. However, the timing of your communication is vital.
While acting on intent data results, you must be quick. After all, you might search for something today that can’t wait till two weeks from now. An offer call must be prompt. Increase your relevancy with appropriate, smooth processes to connect with prospects in 2019. Intent data is set to be one of the most significant B2B marketing trends of 2019, and you shouldn’t miss out on its benefits.
Just like consumers in any other industry, the buyers within the B2B sector also have unique tastes and requirements. B2B customers come from a wide variety of industries. These customers naturally have different expectations from your brand at each stage of their buying journey. Providing these customers with generic messaging and content will only get you so far. You’re going to have more misses than hits with an approach like this in 2019.
An important one of our B2B marketing trends in 2019, real-time personalisation is the future. What this means is that you will benefit by focusing on understanding prospects at the individual (account) level. This understanding will help you produce the most relevant content for your prospective customers and audiences.
After some comprehensive research and statistics, I’ve come to believe that regardless of the channel, personalization will bring in returns this year. Numbers don’t lie. Statistics show that buyers have come to expect a certain degree of customization while interacting with brands. Even B2B brands. Omnichannel or multichannel, it doesn’t matter. You have to be prepared to create one-to-one personalization opportunities at scale.
What Does Personalization Do For You?
An Infosys report found that almost 74% of customers like personalization. They feel frustrated with website content without personalization in its messaging. Another survey by Evergage and Researchscape International found something equally impressive. Nearly 88% of marketers operate under the assumption that their customers and prospects expect a highly personalized experience.
Today’s B2B data mining trends utilize the power of data to deliver personalization. In this technologically integrated world, the easy availability of data and intel about customers work to your advantage. Not using this in your marketing efforts is a faux pas of the highest order. This is where manual data mining services can help you.
By unearthing data about your prospective customer pool, you can generate appropriate solutions. From advertisements that you pay for to the content recommendations, everything counts. Even by vetting email communication and website landing pages, manually mined data can help you personalize communication and offer a better experience.
Tailoring your message and segmenting communication lets audiences feel acknowledged, recognized and valued. I don’t need to tell you how that translates positively to the company’s bottom line.
Podcasts were undoubtedly a big hit a few years ago, before vanishing for a while. However, they’re making a comeback since the last couple of years. Numbers don’t lie. If we were to go by statistics alone, the importance of podcasts to your marketing efforts are predicted to be huge! Reports show that almost 73 million podcast listeners exist in the U.S. alone! This already significant number is set to rise in the coming years.
Podcasts are available on different platforms and include many things. Everything from scripted audio plays, panel discussions, monologues-style talks and even live interviews are podcasts. However, two things are common to all of them. First of all, there are always multiple recordings in each title. Secondly, there are organized together in an RSS feed. Any files that check these two conditions are podcasts.
Unlike readable content, infographics or video format content, podcasts don’t require any effort on the audience’s part. You can listen to a podcast while driving, cooking, exercise, on your daily commute and maybe even in the shower. This ease of access makes podcasts a great way to dispense high-quality content.
What Will Podcasts Do For You?
Almost 24% of people between the ages of 18 to 54 listen to podcasts monthly. These listeners were statistically more educated and affluent customers. They are also split almost evenly between women and men. Long story short, in the B2B context demographic that’s listening to podcasts regularly probably has a significant overlap with your target audience.
Well-planned, high-quality, informational podcasts can help position your B2B business as an industry expert. Such podcasts can assist in building credibility and trust in the long run. Since podcasts are not very expensive to churn out, you can create a collection of them and use these are informative giveaways or resources on your website.
You could also rope in influencers for tie-ups and collaborate with other experts. This investment in establishing a network goes a long way in strengthening your relationship with strategic accounts. In 2019, if you had to pick just one out of the B2B marketing trends we speak of, let it be your brand’s podcasts.
Agile processes in the software context are popular. However, agile marketing is one of the B2B marketing trends that are sure to gain traction this year.
In simple words, agile marketing is a principle that focuses on effective project management. Doing more with limited resources and having to respond quickly to changing events is what it’s all about. By setting short-term, achievable goals, agile marketing principles focus on proactive approaches. Prioritizing your team’s schedule and activities is the first place to start. This planning helps you understand where you’re steering. A common goal for a short time helps keep you on your toes and provides for excellent customer experience.
This trend values rapid and prompt actions as opposed to big, resource-heavy campaigns. Traditional B2B marketing campaigns run for anywhere between three to six months on an average. Agile marketing takes a more iterative approach instead. Here, the time taken to chalk out a plan is limited. The focus is on testing out ideas, measuring the returns and continuing this learning process. Experimentation is encouraged. However, instead of just one significant experiment that demands your all, agile marketing encourages various, smaller sized experiments.
In this bargain, you find out what works for your goals through a trial-and-error process. Since your team is continually trying new things and implementing new strategies, you prevent burnout. Key deadlines become less painful to hit with a unified approach. The overall work quality will improve, and higher visibility will get incorporated into team outputs and other processes.
According to Google, 72 per cent of people with voice-operated speakers use them daily. That’s a significant number in any case and not one that B2B marketing trends of 2019 won’t include. Even with a basic SEO understanding, you know that voice search has a huge potential in making your organization grow. This innovation has significantly transformed the way we seek information and communicate.
Let’s consider some statistics before we understand why this is set to be one of the most significant B2B marketing trends this year.
- An estimated one billion voice searches get conducted every month on the global scale.
- 41% of US adults use voice search features on their devices at least once a day. This figure is steadily on the rise.
- One-third of smartphone owners agree to regularly using voice-activated personal assistants (Siri, Cortana, Amazon Alexa etc.)
- Voice recognition technology has seen dramatic improvement, and big players like Google are known to be almost 95% accurate.
- 90% of executives conduct purchase research from their mobile devices before making a purchase decision. Factoring in how popular voice assistance is, we can assume that at least some of this research include VA.
What Does the Future of Voice Search Look Like?
Voice search is an obvious choice when you understand how helpful it is to users. With VA, you don’t need to navigate tricky website. It’s certainly a lot faster than using text to search. While you can type about 40 words a minute, at least 150 words can be spoken within the same time. Throw in 100% accuracy with this speed, and you’ll understand why more people prefer this technology.
By 2020, 50% of online searches are set to be voice searches, mostly done without a screen. In such a scenario, sticking to strategically placed keywords to boost SEO ratings won’t be enough. Marketers will shift their focus to creating well-formatted, easily-understood conversational content for machine reading. It may look like voice search is still in its infancy. However, given how rapidly changes occur, laying the foundation right from now will give you an edge among the competition.
Holistic Approach to Customer Experience
The B2B and B2C industries might be different in many ways, but the importance of customer experience is constant. According to some reports, customer experience is instrumental in creating differentiation and offering a sustained competitive advantage in the “customer age of today.”
The rise of digital marketing has certainly helped the B2C industry as marketers quickly adapted to new technologies. On the other hand, B2B marketers have been slower on the uptake. It took us longer to switch to mobile and web-based apps for transactions and communication. However, according to a recent survey by Accenture Interactive, by 2020, digital commerce will account for almost half of all B2B revenues generated.
When the survey asked marketers how they plan to keep up with this change, there were some concrete strategies involved. 42% of the participants intended on implementing loyalty programs that were exclusively online. 35% of participants spoke of offering online training for customers as well as internal teams. A significant 32% talked of providing incentives against sales via digital channels.
The average B2B customer today initiates transactions online, and the research usually begins via social media. As customers move along the sales funnel and towards a purchase, they fully utilize online as well as offline channels. This makes it clear that as marketers, providing an omnichannel customer experience is integral to growth. Combining the benefits of personalizing communication can take you a long way in 2019.
Where to Start For Better Customer Experience?
While customer experience will be one of the important B2B marketing trends this year, you won’t be able to reap benefits without a strong database backing. Smart B2B companies understand that data is the critical element to ensuring excellent customer experiences. Investing in manual data mining solutions for customized data lists is a smart choice.
More and more B2B companies now understand that excellent customer experience is not a standalone thing. Without a good brand experience and employee experience, you won’t see a marked improvement in the overall customer experience. These three factors may seem unrelated, but they are responsible for delivering on your brand promise.
One of the most significant B2B marketing trends in 2019 will see more organizations working on improving all facets of customer communications and operations. This holistic approach promises to bring in big returns.
Focusing on Branding and Brand Initiatives
One urban legend that many marketers seem to believe is that branding has no place when it comes to the B2B sector. Naysayers can back their claim by saying that B2B purchases are not made impulsively, rely less on emotional factors and that the products are too complex to be broken down to taglines or jingles. However, with all the changes around us, it is unwise to dismiss branding’s importance to the B2B context.
While the B2C sector has smartly understood the importance of branding and brand initiatives long ago, this is the year that B2B will catch up. Good old-fashioned branding will be a central focus in 2019. Historically speaking, our sector has not thought of themselves as brands, but as companies. Think of the big players- Intel, IBM, Google or Microsoft. Do you think of them as companies or brands?
We’re now understanding that relying solely on product and service differentiation tactics won’t cut it anymore. Buyers even in the B2B context have become more sophisticated and conscious while evaluating or tying up with partners. They connect with brands through interactive as well as passive touch points. There is greater transparency today which allows customers to consider a brand’s operations, procedures and approaches like never before.
The social and ethical claims of a B2B company hold more value in our highly-exposed world than ever before. Buyer perception is a factor that is influencing B2B purchases today. In this scenario, exposing customers to your company’s mission, vision, philosophy and culture can help you have the edge over the competition. By controlling the narrative, you’re making your company the more desirable candidate.
Is Rebranding the answer?
Successful B2B companies have undergone extensive rebranding changes in the last few years. Some prominent names include Philips, MailChimp and Adobe. Although rebranding is a tedious, time-consuming, resource-consuming and all-encompassing effort, the returns are positive. Even successful B2B companies with a strong foothold in the industry are taking the trouble to brand themselves in a relevant way to today’s customers’ needs.
By creating brand stories that connect with buyers, you will benefit in the long run. You can start by first perfecting core branding concepts like purpose and promise. The focus on these ensures better client perception and definite relativity to the brand. A sophisticated brand experience starts with the right branding. Yes, colours, logos, websites and content are essential. But so are your brand’s culture, values, missions and allied activities.
With a robust branding approach, you’ll see sales cycles become shorter. With a unique brand positioning, you’ll cut through the clutter and gain more eyeballs. Trust-building among stakeholders like employees, customers, partners, distributors etc. are sure to improve. A strong brand presence has the power to lower sensitivity towards price. You’ll see yourself attracting and retaining excellent employee talent.
Undoubtedly, going back to basics and focusing on branding in 2019 will be one of the more impactful B2B marketing trends.
The Common Denominator for 2019’s 7 Best B2B Marketing Trends
The seven trends I spoke about in this article may seem unrelated to each other, but they aren’t. Just think about it. Can you successfully incorporate agile marketing without considering personalization? What about branding without attention to customer experience? It just wouldn’t be possible, right?
The bottom line here is that implementing the most significant B2B data mining trends of 2019 will be impossible without access to good-quality data. Marketing activities revolve around databases. This makes your efforts only as good as your database. A good quality database is one that is appended regularly, updated frequently and contains verified information.
In a rapidly moving world, keeping up with dynamic database changes are the last thing on your mind. You’re not even well-trained to keep your CRM systems and databases clean with the accuracy and skill of a professional. So, what are you going to do?
BizProspex is a saviour for B2B businesses struggling to see ROI on their efforts, With our manual data cleaning, CRM cleaning, tech append and on-demand data mining services, we’rethe partner you need to grow in 2019. Our skilled team is qualified to help you with data that can propel your marketing efforts onto the next level.
We’re skilled at understanding our clients and their unique requirements. Our team has successfully helped over 400 B2B companies in enhancing their operations. Our clients have enjoyed higher ROIs, increased revenues, bigger profits and more streamlined operation after partnering with us.
If you’re serious about growing in 2019, it may we wise to drop us an email. We’re ready to take on any challenge to deliver data solutions that make a tangible impact!