You should pay attention to the hottest B2B marketing trends of 2018, but not for the reasons you might expect. You should be wary of them.
We B2B marketers ruin everything. We jump on the bandwagon of new channels, tactics and tools, following the herd under the auspice of "marketing best practices." Then, everyone is using the hottest new marketing "hack," and it stops working due to over-saturation.
For 20% of B2B marketers, social media is one of the top three sources for qualified leads, according to the Chief Marketer B2B Lead Gen Outlook report.
The role of social media in demand generation has evolved to encompass targeted lead generation, influencer outreach, lead nurturing, social listening and research. B2B marketers who want to successfully build an engaged following on social media must master new skills as well as embrace the uniqueness of social media marketing.
A version of this post was originally published on CMSWire.
B2B marketing teams are increasingly being evaluated on their contributions to the sales pipeline or even revenue. Understandably, demand-generation marketers have as a result focused more on optimizing down-funnel efforts rather than first fixing more problematic top-funnel inefficiencies.
Shifting focus to down-funnel efforts is based on false logic. The failure to scale marketing-influenced pipeline is rarely just a consequence of bottom-funnel roadblocks. In fact, assessment of numerous marketing teams has shown top-funnel inefficiencies are more likely the cause of pipeline scale challenges, which trigger significant impacts all the way down the marketing funnel.
In this article, we’ll look at several ways top-funnel inefficiencies may be leaving a lot of money on the table by:
Though the idea sounds nice, B2B marketers simply can't rely on a single piece of software to capture end-to-end marketing processes. The marketing technology (MarTech) landscape is exploding with options, none of which fill every use case in the B2B marketing organization. Such use cases are only expanding. This is why Chief MarTec reports that within the last year, the landscape grew approximately 40%, to a total of 5,381 solutions (from 4,891 unique companies).
Anand Thaker is the CEO of IntelliPhi, an R&D and advisory firm working to evolve go-to-market decision making for growth leaders. He’s also a long-time MarTech industry and digital engagement expert, who’s accelerated firms in variety of operational, leadership and advisory roles among enterprises, growth startups and investors.
"Last quarters results were excellent, but can we get better results from the same budget this quarter?"
B2B marketers are experiencing increasing pressure to squeeze more performance from their marketing budgets. But, trying to get more and more mileage from the same spend can feel like a practice in futility. At some point, you have to turn to efficiencies as a source of savings.
I know far from everything about B2B marketing. However, over the past decade of yielding to the latest demand-gen “hacks,” content marketing trends and cutting-edge marketing tech, I’ve discovered a few rather basic activities will always deliver meaningful results in a big way if you approach them correctly.
While some might see these as stating the obvious, it's amazing how many times marketers forget these tried-and-true techniques in pursuit of the latest shiny object.
Increasingly, demand generation program success is determined by sales-pipeline or revenue contribution. In fact, according to DemandGen Report’s 2018 Benchmark Survey Report, 28% of B2B marketing organizations have specific revenue-based quotas, a 5% year-over-year increase.
Dialing up success was much easier just five years ago when B2B marketing programs were largely measured against lead volume goals. Today, according to the Benchmark Survey, total leads and inquiries is a primary success metric for just 14% of programs.
Today's need to show greater down-funnel return on marketing investments is pushing marketers to identify the top-funnel efficiencies that will enable them to focus more on converting leads into pipeline opportunities, customers and revenue.
Let's be honest, the B2B marketing industry (and we marketers in general) are pretty bad at defining our terms and sticking to that terminology. Rather than being driven by clarity, our messaging, content and general communications is far more often a haphazard mix of trending buzzwords. This helps neither our marketing teams nor our prospects and customers.
This post is far too small in scope to address this problem – a proper solution would be book-length and require a full-time effort to keep it updated. Instead, I'm hoping to bring clarity to two specific terms that seem to confuse some B2B marketers new to the discipline: inbound marketing and demand generation.
Publishing B2B thought leadership content can have a significant impact on your demand generation strategy. It's a powerful tool for generating awareness, credibility, brand value and quality traffic.
Over 80% of business decision-makers say thought leadership increased their trust in a vendor organization, according to an Edelman & LinkedIn survey. In contrast, the same survey revealed more than half of the c-suite lost respect for brands who published poor-quality content.
At the same time, data reveals that search also remains valuable in 2018, especially at the top of the marketing funnel. According to DemandGen Report’s 2018 Benchmark Survey Report, search marketing is a top lead generation channel for 50% of B2B marketing organizations.
B2B marketers find themselves wondering whether they should prioritize thought leadership content over SEO-optimized content, or vice versa.
Content marketing is getting harder.
A massive amount of branded content is being published to the web every day. Every piece makes it more difficult to capture and keep the attention of your target audience.
Joe Pulizzi, Content Marketing Institute Founder, attributes this to the increasing difficulty of “content tilt.” Tilt, according to Pulizzi, is the differentiating factor that makes your brand’s content unique. When your industry is saturated with blogs, eBooks, webinars and podcasts, “tilt” can be nearly impossible to achieve.
Research clearly shows that a well-executed ABM strategy can generate significant lift for B2B marketing efforts. A study from the Altera Group found that 97% of B2B marketers report that ABM drives higher ROI than other marketing activities. By adopting a mindset of “account awareness,” where you target customer accounts as markets of one, your organization will make better use of resources, leading to greater gains in sales pipeline and revenue generation.
The benefits of ABM aren’t limited to just ROI, though.
While measurable return is a definite goal of B2B marketing, demand generation teams who adopt ABM often achieve other benefits. Some benefits are expected while others are quite surprising.
The other week, I was asked to lead a discussion with the Houston Marketo User Group on how GDPR will affect B2B marketing. …well, to be honest, two other people were asked first, but they couldn’t make it, so the user group was stuck with me.
In any case, I thought a post on the most poignant points of the discussion would be useful to Integrate’s blog audience. So here they are.
Are you prepared to demonstrate compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by May 25, 2018?
If your organization stores or processes data about European Union (EU) citizens, you’ll need to prove compliance or face steep fines up to €20 million. That’s about $24.81 million in USD.
Well, you’re definitely not alone.
A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCooper revealed
There are a lot of moving parts in today's comprehensive demand generation strategies. And all signs indicate that as B2B marketing teams garner greater responsibilities within organizations, demand gen requirements will only expand.
This complexity has created a need for demand orchestration frameworks and infrastructures that enable top-of-funnel efficiency and lead to bottom-funnel results. To help make sense of the chaos, here’s a simple three-tier framework of the essential parts of a comprehensive demand generation plan.
Demand marketers are drowning in options, including an ever-increasing list of demand generation channels.
With all these options vying for a piece of your marketing budget in 2018, it's critical to remember that not all marketing tactics and channels perform equally. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
Some channels are great at generating high-quality leads (the No. 1 priority among 77% of B2B marketers surveyed in Demand Gen Report's 2017 Benchmark Survey). Other channels may not be great at those initial touches to generate leads, but perform well when it comes to converting those leads down the funnel (a top priority for 75% of marketers surveyed). Still, some marketing teams are more concerned with database size and need to focus on channels that will pump out a high volume of new contacts (a priority for 58% of B2B marketers).
Every B2B marketer faces challenges. However, the individual struggles of one B2B demand generation marketer can look very different from another – even if they’re on the same team.
Demand marketers come from a diverse variety of backgrounds, which can range from marketing to journalism; technology to public relations; web design to sales and much more. While some excel at writing, others would rather face a thousand spreadsheets than author a thought leadership blog post.