15 Feb The 2016 B2B marketing landscape
2016 is officially underway. With marketing strategies in place and plans and budgets (for the most part) locked down, we thought it apt to share our top six predictions for B2B marketing in the year that lies ahead.
- Talent: To succeed in B2B marketing, you need to have the right combination of a commercial and creative skills set. Finding candidates that possess both remains a challenge in our business. The industry will continue to play a critical role in developing talent – be it through formal initiatives such as internship programmes, ongoing mentorship or partnerships with academia.
- Creativity: In a recent media interview I was asked to define B2B marketing, to which I replied: “B2B marketing is marketing”. The fundamentals are the same – just because it’s B2B-focused does not mean it should lack creativity! We believe that B2B marketers who want to thrive need to work tirelessly to challenge the “poor cousin” perception and infuse creativity into everything they do.
- Alignment: Sales and marketing will become more aligned than ever. B2B buyers are empowered and their journeys, self-service driven. This, according to Forester Research, will expand marketing’s role into domains previously owned by sales or service organisations. Our involvement does not stop when leads are handed over.
- Account-based marketing: Unlike B2C marketing, our audience is largely known to us. We expect to see more brands embracing the concept of account-based marketing – ultra-focused, targeted 1:1 marketing. In contrast to broader-based campaigns, the return on investment derived from account-based marketing is generally much greater (which offsets the additional investment it requires).
- Collaboration: An emerging trend that will start gaining traction is agency collaboration. The principle is that agencies from different disciplines work together to achieve a (big) brand’s goals. Above the line, below the line, through line… All working together to drive a singular agenda. The theory makes sense, however, time will tell the practicality of such arrangements.
- Content: No surprise is that content’s regal status will continue. B2B brands will continue investing in content marketing in 2016. Powerful, conversational and locally relevant content will be key.
We are in the midst of a disruptive century. Marketers who embrace, rather than fight, disruption will be those who win in 2016 and beyond.