4 Big Trends in B2B Marketing Right Now
It's not news that marketing is in a state of flux right now. Everything is. I've been reading (a lot), watching (a lot), listening (a lot), talking to peers and network (a lot), and thinking (more than a lot!).
After distilling everything down, I've settled on these four B2B marketing trends that are here and now. Tomorrow will be a different day and trends will shift and evolve. Marketers are challenged to shape-shift if they are develop high performance, agile marketing teams. These
Clearly this existential crisis is driving a shift to digital channels, especially for companies lagging in their digital capabilities. Think of all the new tech available since the 2008 financial crisis! The key is to get the digital experience and workflow right so it's seamless and drives conversion --> Digital and marketing ops experts are in hot demand!
Really a subset of the first trend but worth a mention in its own right is the sudden transition of physical events to digital platforms. However, no longer with the cookie cutter style webinar cut it. People are already bored with the standard style of a presenter or two talking at you, a few slides of often self-serving content and a generally uninspired delivery. Marketers need to think about the digital experience end-to-end to transform the "webinar" to a "digital event" that facilitates dialogue, audience engagement, has multiple call-to-action (CTA) opportunities, and has actionable take aways so that guests walk away feeling that was a good use of their time. There is some great digital event tech out there and this is shaping a whole new category of MarTech--> Digital events are a must in your marketing mix but must use new tech tools and digital event management thinking to be effective.
But, if digital adoption and digital events are not coupled with authentic, relevant messaging and compelling design, they won't grab or keep attention. At worst, customers and prospects may even disconnect with a brand if they can't relate or feel it is out of synch with the way the business is moving. This "rule" applies to new content of course but marketers need to consider whether existing content is now obsolete. There are quick decisions to make - refresh, retire or curate? --> Savvy content strategists/writers/communicators are busier and in more demand than ever.
Many companies have heavily invested into net-new demand generation especially with all the cool MarTech tools now available to drive inbound. Now, there is the added scramble to retain customers. Products and services seen as a nice-to-have will struggle as they've underestimated and underinvested in finding a market fit, a compelling reason to buy, value creation and, most importantly, lasting customer relationships --> Product and customer marketing are making a comeback, and rightly so!
As marketers deal with these core needs today, I truly hope that the lessons learnt will drive new thinking to deliver an "always relevant" customer experience and marketing efficiencies. This will need a quick shift to long term design thinking if marketing is to be agile and responsive to adapt to changes in market conditions.
These events may be sudden such as when an unexpected crisis hits. Or, there may be a succession of events that mark the gradual evolution of systemic changes (climate change, digital transformation, privacy and security, etc).
I now put this out to you. What are the immediate trends you are seeing right now in B2B marketing that need urgent attention?