As we close out 2018, we’ve been thinking about what’s ahead next year in our market, and how we need to adjust our focus areas for our clients. Here’s what we’re watching.
Must Have the Basics Covered (Sounds Simple, Right?)
The first thing that is striking in B2B digital marketing is how vital it is to have all the basics in place. Companies that don’t are in the same shape that companies without a website faced in 2008. The basics are:
- Strategy that aligns with your overall marketing and growth strategy
- Interactive, modern website
- Actively driving traffic to your website with SEO, PPC, or Social Media
- Coordination between sales & marketing
- Actively working conversion of visitors to leads
- Nurturing leads until ready to buy – email and more information online
- Formal sales processes and tools
Invest More, but Invest Smarter
Next for companies is answering the question “How much should we be investing in marketing, sales, and digital marketing”? The trend to more investment in digital marketing continues.
- Budgets vary a lot by industry. Emergency response companies, like Heating and Air Conditioning companies, are used to advertising – might spend 30%
- Normal for most B2B companies should be 5% to 10% of sales
- Of that, at least half should be digital marketing
- Growing companies invest more in digital marketing
Use your own sales data to understand what campaigns and strategies are currently working to extend and scale that performance. A solid digital media strategy based on whatever “big data” you can discover can give you direct access to YOUR exact buyer.
More data is available all the time and acquisition tracking is growing increasingly sophisticated. Use it to invest more in what is delivering proven ROI.
It’s harder, but you still Need SEO
SEO continues to be a staple of digital marketing but continues to change every year.
- Content marketing continues to be the main focus of SEO. Adding a lot of new, relevant content is still the main ingredient in high Google rankings
- Writing your content for Voice Search will grow every year. It’s estimated that over 50% of searches will be by voice by 2020. The main focus of this is to answer the expected questions people will ask by voice; what, where, when, how, and why.
- Voice to text search—Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, FB Portal will all change how we interact with the web. Longer keyword searches and question style queries will continue to explode
Get Beyond The Basics
If a company wants to be “ahead of their competition” in digital marketing, these are some of the things companies should be looking at:
- Aggressive content marketing campaigns
- Video and more interactive messaging
- Marketing automation
- Engaging social media
- Invest some in “many or all” multiple areas of digital marketing; video, social media, email marketing. It’s not enough anymore to just do the basic things.
Pick your Tools & Partners Wisely and Integrate Everything
Enterprise and aggressive growth companies already have this figured out. In 2019, they will build on their previous investments to dramatically increase their online presence and top line.
- Technology is quick adapting, and there are marketing tools and systems available for specific needs and any size company
- The right “Martech Stack” of software should enhance the customer experience and improve your internal efficiency. It should be a CEO level decision for most small and medium-sized businesses
- Affordable marketing automation with CRM integrated is very powerful. It provides deep insight into website interactions, social media, and email with CRM
- eCommerce for B2B is now mainstream
The B2B Experience Will Evolve Dramatically
In the past B2B companies could get the phone to ring with a brochure website and a sales slick. Mobile apps and same day delivery is changing that.
- B2B customers are becoming accustomed to the experiences they get with B2C retailers and brands
- B2B Customers are expecting live phone support, eCommerce, lots of sales information, PRICING, and more on your website. Just like if you went to the Garmin or Lexus websites
- Make it easier to differentiate why you are unique. If this isn’t clear, you are just another same-old company in your market selling on price
Make it About THEM
Personalization of your marketing messages becomes more vital in B2B. Customers are expecting Amazon-level of personalization in all their online dealings.
- Marketing automation is a huge step in this direction
- Using more sophisticated eCommerce platforms in B2B. Customers are expecting good related products, shipping updates, details on products, reviews, and more
- Websites need to talk to “customer personas” in a more direct way. Your website can’t be a “one message for everyone” any longer
These are the Droids You’re Looking For
Artificial Intelligence in sales and marketing processes is coming on strong in 2019. Some examples include:
- Chatbots that have AI level of expertise allowing a natural and informative discussion with website or social site visitors
- Creating and generating content for sites. This is already in use extensively in the major news networks and papers
- Email marketing, building on the manual creation of nurture tracks in marketing automation to automate major parts of the process
- Digital advertising with products that provide Audience Management as a Service (AMaaS) using AI to automate your ad optimization on Google and Facebook
People Like Videos, Still
Importance of Video in all forms, particularly on mobile.
- It’s proven that people are far more likely to get your message in a video
- It’s becoming the prime way people are getting information, particularly on mobile
- Voice recognition is going to mean that videos are going to be indexed by Google more often and shown in the search results even more
- Web pages without a video on them are going to be second-rate
Are You Ready for 2019?
Ready to review your digital marketing and see what can be improved in 2019? Contact us for a digital marketing review of your current site, online marketing efforts, and competitors. We’re looking for growth-focused companies to partner for success in 2019.