Digital marketing in the form of content marketing, marketing automation, paid advertising and mobile optimization will all continue to grow in the coming years. Some of the new marketing trends that’ll see the light of the day in 2016 are:
#1. Digital Marketing is not a niche channel anymore
Digital has become so mainstream and central to marketing, that it does not requires niche treatment. Findings released by Gartner about their study concerning digital marketing clearly proves the above point. Marketers have stopped making a distinction between offline and online marketing disciplines. Today marketing is a mixed effort of both the platforms as people opt for digitally led experiences and traditional advertising. B2B firms, like their B2C counterparts, have begun to realize that they have numerous tools, tactics and channels to reach and engage their target audience.
#2. Advocate Marketing
Until now B2B marketers were focusing a lot of time and effort on the pre-purchase part of the customer journey. But increasingly, firms are realizing success by also concentrating their efforts and energy on providing value beyond the sale, with the aim that the client will turn into a promoter- an advocate who wilfully refers your business to others and provides references. Referrals have long been considered a valuable form of marketing, and are popular for delivering qualified leads that tend to become clients and are loyal to the business for a long period of time. While loyalty programs have become staple in retail marketing, we are seeing a new version of them being adopted by B2B businesses.
Advocate marketing software platforms such as Influitive and CustomerAdvocacy help marketers in building advocacy relationships with clients by increasing social media engagement, generating reviews for their products and capturing referrals. These platforms make the use of customized portals and allow firms to invite their best customers to participate in challenges and provide feedback to earn gifts like badges, special event invitations and award ceremonies.
#3. Search Budgets Shift to Content
A report released by PulsePoint and Digiday found that by 2017 budget allocations for content marketing are bound to increase by 59 percent, far outpacing search and social budgets. Search engines are rewarding websites with high quality and relevant content much more than companies who have merely invested in the technical aspects of SEO.
Today rankings are more independent of technical SEO and more about creating content that people are searching for in order to earn rankings. Rankings are also affected by providing content for long-tail keywords that now contribute to 70% of the search traffic. So while SEO and SEM will still have a role in a B2B marketer’s budget, the trend will be more about providing content that entices the target audience.
#4. Online Advertising Disruption
Even though Google is moving towards promoting display video ads in search engine result pages , the year ahead should make for some major disruption in the online advertising space. A recent report published by Pagefair and Adobe found that ad blocking in US grew by 48% from last year and there are now almost 198 million active ad-block users around the world. Another major trouble to the B2B marketers was that click-through-rates were massively declining across all ad formats and placements is only 0.06%. So this clearly reinforces that users are annoyed with content that is not relevant to them or that they don’t seek in the online space.
Another trouble to the advertisers is caused by the Bot-frauds that have estimatedly caused a loss of $6.3 billion dollars to the industry globally. The research conducted by WhiteOps and the Association of national Advertisers recently analyzed over 3 million websites and found that bots accounted for 23 percent of video ad impressions, 11 percent of all display impressions and 19 percent of all retargeted ads.
Even after all this, online advertising is not going to disappear anytime soon, but ad-blockers, bot-frauds and excessively low click-through-rates are still going to haunt many B2B marketers.
#5. Email Marketing is Alive!
Many people predicted the death of Email marketing, but the research data shows quite the contrary. According to the research conducted by Gigaom Research, marketers still rank email as the most effective tactic for conversions, awareness, acquisition and retention. While many B2B firms have stepped up their email marketing campaigns , others have not leveraged email marketing to its full potential. In 2016, we’re going to see a trend towards a more effective use of email marketing by B2B companies.
There are many reasons to support the above statement such as better ROI, effectiveness and measurability, but one noteworthy reason of them all is mobile. As B2B businesses have been wondering all the way long how to leverage mobile, the answer has been under their noses all this while. A study conducted by Moveable Ink found that in the first quarter of 2015, 67% of all US email opens occurred on a mobile device- and 75% of those were smartphones. While, the data is variable in many studies, the growth in mobile email opens is staggering and the shift towards mobile opens is undeniable.
While there are certainly other trends likely to appear in the B2B space in 2016, these five ought to stand out and for sure to happen. If we missed out on any of the happening trend around, let us know in the comments section.