It was a crazy year, full of ups and down, and big changes. We recently highlighted the history of the biggest B2B marketing disruptions. But we wanted to narrow down the field. So we asked 6 experts to sound off on what they thought the biggest B2B marketing disruptions of 2011. Do you agree with their picks? What would you add?
Google+ – Stephanie Tilton, Savvy B2B Marketing
Google+ was a major disruption in 2011, but not only because of the platform itself. Google+ caused a disturbance because it presented a potentially major new social networking channel that gave marketers pause about how to determine when it makes sense to adopt a new channel. The good news is that many marketers realized they can’t – and shouldn’t – blindly adopt every new social platform that comes along. In fact, we covered this topic on our group blog where we shared our approaches to Google+.
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Uncertainty – Joel Harrison, Editor of B2B Marketing
I would say that “uncertainty” has been the biggest disruptor for B2B marketers in 2011. The certainties that marketers understood about their roles, what is expected of them, how they work with others in the organisation, and the future, were shattered by the perfect storm of the credit crunch and the digital marketing revolution. Some sense of confidence and coherence began to return to the market in 2010, as practitioners started to acclimatise to the new world, embracing things like social media and marketing automation, but the Euro zone crisis of the autumn has once more thrown things into doubt.
The only thing constant in the world of B2B marketing right now is change – that certainly creates challenges but it also creates opportunities. Although uncertainly will diminish in time, things will never return to the ‘normal’ that we knew before the credit crunch, and in the meantime, it’s those marketers that are prepared to embrace change and challenge both themselves and their organisations that will thrive.
Google and SEO – Phil Lauterjung, Duct Tape Marketing Consultant
Google. But, not Google in general; rather Google as it relates to SEO. Over the past 12 months there have been significant changes in Google’s search algorithm. So much so that even long-time SEO experts have struggled to keep up. The December Roundup from Search Engine Roundtable had no fewer than 25 articles referencing changes…and that was just for November! When you factor in the tighter and tighter integration of all the Google properties it becomes imperative for every business to know the landscape and adapt their web tactics. Also we all need to be on the lookout for how Google+ with interact and influence Google search in 2012.
Content Marketing Grows Up – Michael Brenner, B2B Marketing Insider
People have been talking about content marketing for at least a couple of years. But in 2011, it really seemed to hit its stride. How else do you explain the recent survey of b2b marketers that found a rise in the popularity of blogs — blogs! — as a content marketing tactic, even as social media dropped a few points. It’s because marketers are realizing content is the backbone for their entire marketing strategy whether it be social media, email marketing, webinars, the list goes on. Content marketing is finally moving from buzz term to long-term strategy.
Voluminous Data – Ardath Albee, Marketing Interactions
As more and more buying activity is taking place online across more channels, the data that can be gathered about that behavior has exploded. When visibility to buyers is limited to analyzing data about their digital activities we need high-quality, accurate insights to help us make better decisions about our online programs. Basic analytics are simply not enough. This growing inability to gauge our prospects’ and customers’ preferences and needs is disrupting company intentions to rise above the noise caused by online publishing. Although most companies admit to using free analytics tools, there is a considerable uptake and growing wish list from marketers to gain access to richer metrics across channels. As they master data analysis, integrating marketing programs will become more efficient and relevance and engagement will increase.
Social Flash Mobs – Christopher Hosford, BtoB Magazine
The power of social media never was demonstrated more powerfully than in its ability this year to mobilize groups toward a common good (or ill). In the purely social sphere, Facebook in particular was given credit for helping organize real revolution in the Middle East.
The flash mob phenomenon, first cited back in 2003, not only helped spur social change this year (not to mention “flash mob riots” in certain cities), but also was used for business purposes. Video marketing company Pixability Inc.organized a social marketing flash mob as part of the weeklong FutureM marketing conference in Boston in September. In March, as part of the Interphex 2011 pharmaceutical convention in New York, life sciences company EMD Millipore had customers meet their sales people in front of the exhibit hall, at which time a flash mob of choreographed dancers sporting EMD Millipore costumes went into their routine. To promote the Direct Marketing Association’s annual conference in October, DMA stayed flash mob-like events on the streets of New York in the form of free outdoor marketing seminars. The seminars, featuring “celebrity CMOs,” were announced on the day, and resultant videos had a significant impact on event registration.