In 1965, an Intel scientist by the name of Gordon Moore made an astonishing observation – that the number of transistors that were able to fit on a single processor would double every 12-18 months.
And thus “Moore’s Law” was born.
Moore’s law, however, has been proven true not only for chips and processors but nearly every aspect of innovation in the last half-century.
B2B marketing is no exception.
From the technological innovation of the tools we use every day to the amazing new tactics being developed, B2B marketers have been the beneficiaries of Moore’s Law more than most.
Just think about the fact that the Internet, as we know it, is barely 20 years old!
As we move into 2019, B2B marketers can look back at the last 2 decades in awe – how far we have come!
Looking forward, there are 10 trends that B2B marketers must begin to embrace if they want to remain relevant in an ever-changing space.
1. Context is Everything
Everyone, your potential customers included, is getting their inboxes bombarded with email outreach these days.
Luckily for you, most of it is poorly executed. However, it does mean that people are less likely to read an outreach email and even less likely to take any action as a result.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though.
In 2019, the name of the game for email outreach will be context. That is, connecting with a person in a way that makes them feel like this is a 1:1 communication, rather than a large-scale campaign to thousands of people.
But how can an outreach be contextual to each person, even if you are sending it to a large group of people?
It’s actually not as complicated as it seems, though it may require a small investment in some marketing tools.
This concept is best shown in our recent post This Cold Email Hack Increased Conversion Rate by 100%.
You can also check out this amazing video by Alex Berman of Experiment 27:
2. Content is Still King
Yes, it’s a cliche’ but that doesn’t mean it’s not true – content is and will continue to be king for a long time to come.
While “content” comes in a variety of forms these days, the tried and true form of content – blog writing – will continue to be a powerful force in the coming year.
However, we no longer live in the golden age in which you could write a 350-word blog post and stand any sort of chance of ranking on page 1 of Google.
You have to work much harder now.
In order to generate a lot of valuable content, you need to first understand what it is that your target market is most interested in.
One way to measure this is to decide on a baseline topic, let’s say “B2B Marketing” – take that over to BuzzSumo.com and do a search.
You will then be able to see which post around this basic topic had the most social shares.
Now you know that improving brand authority is extremely interesting to B2B marketers and therefore might be a topic to pursue.
With this information in mind, you can deploy the so-called “Skyscraper Technique” in which you find one piece of high-performing content and make a similar piece that is 10x better.
3. Account Based Marketing
Up until very recently, we all worked with a very similar looking marketing and sales funnel. It started out large on top and got smaller the further down you went.
However, with the explosion of “Account Based Marketing,” the marketing funnel has been turned upside down.
Account Based Marketing essentially means you first identify the prospects, or “accounts,” you want to go after and then begin to engage them. Whereas “traditional” marketing involves attracting people and then filtering out those that are most relevant and interested.
This is not necessarily a new tactic, however, its codification as “Account-Based Marketing” has brought it front and center in a big way.
We will continue to see a greater shift towards this targeted type of outreach in 2019 and beyond. While traditional B2B marketing will still take the lead, ABM will take on a bigger and bigger role in the overall mix.
4. Diversified Distribution Channels
We are seeing an ever-growing list of distribution channels for content right now.
While places like Facebook and LinkedIn still work, and E-mail isn’t going anywhere, there are a variety of new venues for marketers to get their content out.
In the coming year, we’re going to see a further diversification of channels used by B2B marketers to distribute their content.
5. eLearning as a Marketing Channel
eLearning has exploded in growth over the last few years.
2018, in particular, was a massive year for eLearning – nearly $50 billion generated in revenue from self-paced online courses!
While this trajectory is likely to be unsustainable, it does show how eager people are to learn new skills.
B2B marketers should look to 2019 as the year in which they leverage eLearning to help drive more leads. Offering free courses is a fantastic way to capture an engaged audience and direct them to take the actions that you want them too.
Namely, become a customer.
6. Omnichannel Messaging
With the increased proliferation of channels in which prospective customers can now be found, B2B marketers will need to put even more emphasis on omnichannel messaging.
If you are unfamiliar, omnichannel messaging refers to the idea that a brands positioning and messaging should be constant across all channels in which it promotes itself.
That means that there must be consistency in messaging whether you are posting a tweet or putting out a podcast episode.
As we move through 2019, this will increasingly become a challenge, given the vast amount of channels at our disposal.
There were over half a million podcasts featured on Apple’s platform by mid-2018.
Podcasts have become incredibly popular, and marketers are taking notice. We’ll certainly be seeing many more podcasts from B2B marketers in 2019.
Why should B2B marketers be podcasting?
It comes down to the nature of B2B marketing.
That is, the fact that the period of time between when a prospect first becomes aware of your company and the time they become a customer can be quite long.
A weekly podcast is a perfect way to stay on the top of your prospect’s mind, even if they are not yet ready to make a purchase.
Along with podcasting, YouTube has exploded as a channel for marketing over the last year. Though it has “traditionally” been a channel that was mostly used for B2C purposes, more and more B2B marketers are finding that creating engaged audiences on YouTube is incredibly valuable.
In fact, the YouTube landscape is starting to look the way blogs did a few years ago.
Many content creators who were known for their blog content are now focusing very heavily on YouTube as their main marketing channel.
And, just because they are doing that, doesn’t mean they have to give up on their blog writing either!
That’s because it’s incredibly easy (and cheap) to have all your YouTube content transcribed and turned into blog content.
From one YouTube video, you can get 3-5 blog posts.
9. Pinterest, Even for B2B
There’s a ton of action happening on Pinterest lately.
Here are some interesting stats about the current state of Pinterest
- Monthly Active Users: 250,000,000 (Source)
- Total “Pins”: 175,00,000,000
- Total Pinterest “Boards”: 3,000,0000
Demographically, it’s long been known that the vast majority of Pinterest users are Female. However, 40% of all new sign-ups are men.
While Pinterest remains a strong marketing channel for B2C, especially eCommerce, it is wide open for B2B marketers.
10. Voice Search Comes into its Own
Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant – they are just the beginning.
Voice search is poised to become a powerful force in content marketing in the years to come.
As it stands now, 40% of adults are already using voice search daily.
While it’s still in the early stages, 2019 is the year that B2B marketers should begin optimizing for voice search.
Why should B2B marketers be focusing on voice?
Because it’s clearly the future, and it’s a white space in the world of marketing right now – other people aren’t doing.
In fact, one study found that only 3% of CMOs are currently optimizing for voice search.
This is sure to change in the coming year.
As we beat on, boats against the wind, born ceaselessly into the future, we should keep in mind how amazing the time in which we live is.
The amount of innovation, both technological and tactical, is truly mind-blowing.
As we go through this year, keep your finger on the pulse of the B2B marketer zeitgeist – challenge yourself to test and then test even more!
What kind of tactics and strategies will you be looking to test in 2019? Comment below!