Marketing is an ever evolving combination of art and science, and today marketing's role is growing in importance. The challenges of producing tangible growth and ROI are two trends that will continue to grow as the business climate becomes more competitive, and the opportunities more fragmented.
Market fragmentation is creating a new frontier in terms of techniques, strategies and reach. As niches become more focused, the concept of a “market-of-one” is becoming the new reality. We have to create a “unique” experience for each prospect to drive them to convert, build trust, and finally act.
Focusing On Customer Experience
These trends deserve your attention as you address the complexities and challenges of marketing in the coming year.
1. The Growing Role of B2B Marketing
This year will see marketing expand beyond its traditional role. Businesses are facing new and unique challenges today, like the shortage of talent, commoditization and increasing competition to name just a few. These are enterprise-wide challenges that will require cross-departmental collaboration to solve, and marketing is in the perfect position to take the lead.
Watch for greater alignment between marketing and HR, sales, and operations. Everything from addressing employer branding strategies to recruit talent, to business development will be calling on marketing to increase value and visibility.
2. Balancing The “Customer Experience”
Probably the biggest trend to watch in the coming year will be the task of focusing on customer experience while still driving growth. Marketers have been focusing on “customer-centric” methods, basing their approach on the lifetime value of a prospect.
This year, the focus will be on adding “customer-focused” techniques of providing relevant experiences across all touch points, to deliver what customers most value. Balancing these two approaches can deliver a more personalized approach that will generate higher revenue, while building stronger brand loyalty.
3. Executive Branding: Thought Leadership
In the past few years the focus of branding (thanks to the Internet, mobile, and social media) has shifted to the individual – both in terms of the customer, as well as the “voice” of the business.
As a result traditional branding and marketing efforts aren't enough. Especially when it comes to B2B marketing. Today, executive branding, or developing thought leadership is growing. Buyers want to know the “why” behind the business and put a face to the operation to build trust. In order to really stand out, executive branding will be the fastest growing trend in B2B marketing in the coming years.
4. Formats, Channels and Mix
As marketing refocuses on thought leadership, the need will arise to refine content and marketing mix as well. As more channels and delivery platforms become available, marketing teams will need to better leverage a broader mix of marketing choices and formats.
For example, video both pre-recorded and live is becoming much more prominent as is live streaming of events. Diversification of content delivery formats includes podcasts, interactive assessments (as in the managed print field) and mobile friendly content. Marketing firms will also see a shift from Twitter and LinkedIn to more non-traditional B2B formats like Facebook and Instagram. Along with this shift will come the reliance on paid opportunities to boost distribution away from organic-only approaches.
5. Artificial Intelligence/ Machine Learning
DRIP Marketing has grown in the past few years, and the "automation" trend will continue as the integration of artificial and machine learning in B2B marketing grows in importance.
According to Forrester Research, “AI will provide business users with access to information and insights before they're available.” By using cognitive interfaces, complex systems and advanced analytics combined with machine learning technology, business decisions in e-commerce, marketing, product management and other areas will be able to happen almost in real time.
6. Experiential Marketing
Imagine being able to give your customers and prospects the opportunity to experience your brand in “real life” or the virtual world. This trend will grow in the coming years, especially in the B2B space. As virtual reality begins to take a greater hold, it will be possible to immerse prospects or customers from anywhere in the world.
A great example in the B2C space is the growing use of virtual reality in luxury home sales. Prospects are able to take an "immersive" tour of properties that have not yet been built. When it comes to B2B, educate yourself about the latest experiential strategies and techniques and how you can integrate them into your marketing strategy so users can “touch," “taste” or “feel” your brand. Internally, experiential marketing is a great opportunity to engage, educate and energize employees.
These are 6 trends to be aware of in the coming year. As marketing continues to become more personalized, the techniques, strategies and channels will continue to evolve. Staying ahead of the trends and technologies that are changing our business will be the key to success moving forward!
Source: Adobe Hubspot Blueleadz Written By: Rob Steffen