The B2B marketing landscape is nothing if not fluid. Each year, established trends evolve and new strategies emerge. It’s essential to keep up with them to remain competitive.
What’s in store for 2016? As the Content Marketing Institute @cmicontent and Marketing Prof’s new Benchmarks, Budget, and Trends report leads us to believe, 2016 will usher in its fair share of change.
Here are five notable B2B trends that are likely to evolve or materialize this year:
Increasing Emphasis on Acquiring Customers Through Content Marketing Strategies
According to the CMI report, three out of four marketers (read: your competition) plan to produce even more highly-targeted content this year than they did last year. If you’re not already serving up quality content on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis (depending on your industry), it’s time to start.
Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as churning out more words. In the world of content marketing, quality definitely trumps quantity. And by “quality” we mean “relevance.” Humans are very good at tuning out irrelevant information. Our brains are trained to prioritize the content that matters most to helping us achieve our objective.
Humans are really good at tuning out irrrelevant information.
The importance of understanding where your target’s attention is focused
Nobel Prize winning, Harvard psychologist: Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, conducted a well known psychology experiment, The Invisible Gorilla, in which observers were asked to count the number of times that a basketball was passed between players while a person in a gorilla suit passes noticeably through the background. 50 percent of the observers fail to see or at least remember the gorilla, as she passes through the scene. In their own words, “people fail to notice unexpected events when their attention is otherwise engaged.”
Yeah, but how is this relevant to marketing? What are the implications for creating content? The key is understanding the explicit and implicit questions, objectives, and challenges that your target buyer might be asking or experiencing. In order to get the attention of your ideal buyer, you should create content that informs, assists, entertains, as well as answers specific questions at each stage of the buyer’s journey. For each persona, these questions are unique, thus the more effectively you utilize research to gather insights directly from your most important target customers, the more relevant and differentiated your content will be.
Sophistication is not required for relevance
There is no standard for well-written content unless you are a lawyer or you are in some other profession with an emperical set of standards that define the “quality” of your writing. Quality is determined by the requirements and expectations of your customer.
Measuring ROI is Now a Requirement, Rather Than a Benefit
If you’re still counting clicks to measure success, you’re in the minority. Monitoring web traffic still has its merits, giving you an idea of how well-optimized your website is, but “more clicks” does not necessarily translate to more sales. Eight of 10 marketers are now reporting on ROI-centric metrics like sales, leads, and conversion rates instead. Expect ROI to become even more dominant as a success marker in 2016. Check out this free Customer Lifetime Value calculator to begin properly measuring your ROI.
Online Ads Take a Hit
Expect online ads to take the biggest hit in 2016. According to Pagefair and Adobe, video ad blocking programs grew by nearly 50 percent in 2015, and the number is likely to increase even more this year.
Don’t expect online advertising to phase out completely, but the message should be loud and clear: Marketers should stop relying on it to drive sales. With 200 million people using ad block software already, it’s clear that consumers are annoyed rather than intrigued by online advertising videos.
Instead of investing your resources in online ads, focus instead on strategies that are on an upward trend, like advocate marketing, podcasting, and mobile-friendly email marketing.