With the New Year now here in full swing, it’s time to start preparing for what lies ahead. To help you know what to watch for in 2019, we’ve gathered the hottest trends across several facets of B2B marketing, wrapped them up in one package and tied them with a big bow. This “gift” of insight will hopefully lift your marketing spirits as you embrace what’s to come.
Here are our key takeaways:
- Content marketing is here to stay, as 65% of the most successful content marketers now have a documented strategy. The marketing funnel is changing shape and morphing into an ongoing cycle that prioritizes continuous engagement and nurturing post-sale vs. one-time purchasing transactions. Content featuring customer successes demonstrating how a product or service can be optimized long-term builds lasting loyalty and converts your company from vendor to partner.
- The PR pendulum is swinging back to earned media and a return to authentic and unbiased content, which provides the third-party validation that customers trust. Organizations that do active social listening to understand their audience’s concerns, readily offer viewpoints on current news trends, and engage in corporate social responsibility programs more successfully promote their brand message by displaying relevancy to their customers and to the larger world.
- Social media that personalizes the customer experience and puts the buyer in charge is changing the game, especially among Generation Zers entering the workforce. Use of augmented reality (i.e. Snapchat facial and geofilters), video (i.e. Instagram Stories), live streaming, messenger apps, chatbots, influencer marketing (YouTubers) and unpaid, user-generated endorsements will be the biggest trends to watch in 2019.
- Audio content and online ads are on the rise. As smart speakers like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod become household norms, more publications will leverage voice and push audio content to these devices. The Internet is also catching up to TV in terms of hours spent (around 2.6 per day for each) and, as a result, companies will invest less in TV ads and more in web video, web ads and social media in the New Year.
- Influencer marketing is becoming the rage, with greater focus on micro-influencers (family, friends, neighbors) vs. just mainstream social influencers. Twitter parties are making a comeback in 2019, Twitter threads to promote social content like blogs are going more viral than ever, and podcasts are the new black. Influencers with built-in followers make the perfect podcast hosts for gathering and growing targeted audiences, and paid advertising that tags the influencer can further boost listenership.
- Email marketing has an ROI potential of 4400 percent, with each dollar invested bringing an average return of $44. In 2019, marketers will be opting for emails consisting of plain text and interactive calls to action over HTML and detailed graphics, which are often confused with advertising and spam. Optimization of email for mobile devices (53% of emails are opened via such devices) is also trending up. Targeting specific buyer personas through personalization (use of readers’ names, buying patterns and information unique to their account) and storytelling are also hot email content trends.
Want to learn more? Check out Spiceworks’ 2019 B2B marketing trend barometer infographic!
Author: Kristin R. Fayer, Senior Vice President, Outlook Marketing Services
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