All marketers must look for insights that speak to the future, and the B2B marketer has a tougher job than most. Because sales are to scale, mistakes look bigger than they actually are. A lack of vision hurts immensely because there are fewer sales to be had. It is very important for the B2B marketer to keep up – if they are not setting trends, then they must be aware of them.
What can B2B marketers expect from the business landscape in 2018? Let’s take a look:
An Expansion of Responsibilities
Marketers now sit at the head decision-making table in most companies. The role of the B2B marketer has already expanded far beyond the marketing department into interdepartmental IT. However, 2018 will bring even further expansion as data and tech become more important to company operations in all industries. Here are just a few examples.
- Marketers may be able to help HR recruiting strategies by branding the recruitment efforts.
- Marketers can help to streamline internal communications by controlling the flow of data.
- Marketers have always played a big role in sales, but in 2018, the proliferation of account-based marketing will ensure this role expands even more:
Not Everything Can Be Quantified
A return to qualitative research means that the human skills of B2B marketers will be in high demand in 2018. An overload of big data from social media, email campaigns, etc. can sometimes be difficult to convert into actionable insights. Marketing ROI is also difficult to define using only these metrics. B2B marketers will be responsible for translating the “soft data” of customer feedback reports, anecdotes, interviews, and surveys into hard data that can be used to further marketing and measurement efforts.
Social media is no longer a cutting-edge marketing tool – it is more of a standard. Any company that does not have its social media content together is falling desperately behind. However, this new level of strategic utility for social media requires a new level of strategy. Namely, there is no need for a company to put up pages on all of the major social media sites just because.
All relevant social media sites now have demographic information from Pew Research readily available. Companies can easily see who is frequenting which site and sites are streamlining their own efforts and catering to specific niches to differentiate themselves from each other. For instance, it is now well known that LinkedIn is the site to go to for business connections, while Twitter is seen as much more casual. Many companies will focus efforts on a single site rather than using the traditional wide net strategy of simply putting pages up everywhere.
B2B marketers have enjoyed perhaps the largest proliferation of disruptive tech the business world has seen in the past five years. The Internet of Things, chatbots, AI, and virtual reality are just a few of the many technologies that are driving new marketing strategies. What’s more, most of these technologies have not even scratched the surface of their potential.
The marketing landscape is changing drastically, but especially for the B2B marketing crowd. Stay abreast of the latest and greatest changes if you hope to build and maintain market share in the modern business generation.