5 B2B marketing trends for 2017

We know the feeling. You’ve barely recovered from Dry January, but the end of Q1 is already staring you in the face. For those of you who are feeling a little behind the times, we’ve put together a list of the big trends we think you should have your eye on.

1. Virtual Insanity
As anyone who visited the Mobile World Congress this year knows, VR has finally reached a state where we can stop talking about it – and start doing something with it. And B2B marketers aren’t about to let their consumer cousins have all the fun. As the cost of harnessing this technology starts to fall, many B2B marketers are recognising an opportunity to stand out from their competitors by being the first to deliver a truly immersive virtual experience.

2. Cognitive
2016’s trend towards personalisation has transformed into something even more sophisticated as brands explore how cognitive technology can help them not just match – but anticipate – customer needs. With much of the technology focusing around entertainment, we see a key area for B2B being tailoring demos and experiences to very specific customer scenarios with ease and fluidity.

3. Putting the customer first
Only 12% of B2B marketers rate themselves as “very effective” at delivering a great customer experience. While B2C marketers clocked onto this years ago, B2Bs are only just catching up. It’s important to understand that customer experience is the sum of all your interactions, not just based on one-off instances of engagement, so you have to be your best all the time. We’re seeing more and more businesses taking customer needs as their starting point and repositioning themselves to offer a consultative ‘pull’ approach based on building a partnership, rather than the old product ‘push’ one.

4. Mobile video
96% of B2B organisations already use video in some capacity in their marketing campaigns – no surprise since video is the most thoroughly consumed content. But much of this is long-form aimed at desktop users. Mobile video views increasing by more than 6x in 2016, so optimising your latest explainer video for mobile is a no-brainer. This year is also the time to stop just whacking them on your website: Facebook live-streaming, instagram live video, livestream, Ustream are where you should be putting your brand videos, client testimonials and video blogs.

5. Short, snappy content
We’re a time poor society, so the best way to grab attention – and dollars – is to be quick about it. It’s very unlikely that your target audience has time to read lengthy collateral. In fact, according to IDG, technology and service buyers think even white papers should be a maximum seven pages or less. This is another area where mobile is driving the trend – most of your content is going to be consumed on a smartphone rather than a laptop these days so you need to think in digestible chunks. Think Vimeo on speed!

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