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Top Trends in B2B Social Marketing 2015

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  • THE 2015 TOP B2B

    INSIGHTS AND TRENDS REPORT

    SOCIAL MARKETING TRENDS

    1

  • INTRODUCTION

    Social media has been a powerful B2C marketing channel for nearly a decade, but only in the past several years have B2B marketers started to truly adopt platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, Quora, and others, and incorporate these social channels into their digital marketing mix.

    Businesses across all verticals, from Insurance to Telecom, Manufacturing to Oil & Gas, Chemicals to Information Technology, are seeing how these social channels can build trust between customers and brands in an increasingly self-guided buying journey and, more importantly, drive leads through to sales.

    In this Insights Report, well explore the top ve trends in social marketing for B2B brands. These trends are actionable and meant for immediate integration into a marketers digital strategy.

    Without delay, dive in and explore the rich insights contained within this Insights Report, then please feel comfortable reaching out to the team at Socialight Media Marketing with any questions.

    EXPLORE THE REPORT

    2

  • 1. STRATEGY

    With the evolution of social channels, buyers expectations, and trends in online

    purchasing habits, how are B2B brands redesigning their social marketing strategy?

    3

  • EVOLUTION OF B2B SOCIAL STRATEGY

    Social media marketing has been climbing the priority list for B2B marketers for over 6 years now, since Facebook rst launched business pages back in 2009. Before that, any eort put toward traditional social platforms, such as corporate forums and blogs, was usually the pet project of an innovator in the marketing, IT, or communications department. Little in the way of marketing strategy was applied at this early stage.

    These past six years, however, have seen visionary B2B organizations adopt far-reaching social strategies that incorporate the businesss goals at the highest level, and which involve integration and communication between an array of dierent departments, from marketing, to communications, to human resources, and, most importantly, sales.

    Which of the following digital channels does your organization tap into for marketing its product?

    Website

    Email

    Webinars

    Social Media

    SEO

    Blogging

    SEM

    Display

    Mobile Apps

    91%

    89%

    77%

    76%

    64%

    62%

    59%

    57%

    28%State of B2B Product Marketing 2015 - Regalia Research

    4

  • SOCIAL + SALES

    In 2015, we will begin to see the early majority begin to invest time and resources in designing a social marketing strategy one that isnt built on supercial KPIs (like comments, retweets, and likes) but is, instead, driven by real business metrics, from inbound leads, to content downloads, and, ultimately, sales.

    5

  • 2. TARGETING

    What types of content are buyers looking for online? Targeted, relevant, engaging

    content that is related to their current stage within the B2B buying journey.

    6

  • HYPER TARGETED SOCIAL CONTENT

    The convergence of several maturing marketing trends will make targeted, relevant content now mission critical for B2B marketers. First, buyers are hit with nearly 3,000 marketing messages per day in our saturated, digitally connected and mobile-rst world; from TV, to banners, to social media message blindness starts to occur. This means that content must be hyper-relevant to your buyers mindset; not your generic top-of-mind content. That generic content is out the window; no one is seeing it, clicking it, or acting on it.

    Second, the evolution of marketing automation platforms means that you can know more about your audience, their patterns, and their buying stage than ever before. This means that you can segment your audiences more granularly than you could in the past. With these new micro-segments, your business should be able to create and distribute content that is inherently more relevant to those buyers because you understand them and their stage in the buyer journey at a deeper level.

    7

  • RELEVANCE

    Third, these same automation tools make it possible for you to test messages, content, and sequences, and when used in tandem with your new micro-segments, you will be able to optimize your entire lead nurturing process. With these three trends converging, B2B marketers can deliver the most relevant content, at exactly the right time, on exactly the right platform. Now youre cooking with gasoline.

    8

  • 3. PROCESS+TECH

    How will new technology and its adoption within the marketing and sales

    departments change the way that brands interact, and measure that interaction, with

    their buyers and inuencers?

    9

  • When it comes to the process of managing a brands social media channels and aligning their marketing strategy, no two are alike because no two businesses are identical. The overarching construct for how marketing and sales interact is fairly generic; however, in practice, it is incredibly diverse.

    Add that to the fact that the sheer number of channels that both marketing and sales actively use across their disparate activities has exploded over the past ten years.

    B2B marketing isnt just websites and email campaigns, and sales isnt just a phone and an email list. How does content on the brand or targets LinkedIn page inuence the way that sales approaches a lead? How do the interactions on Twitter impact the way that marketing qualies a lead for sales? Whats the process for routing engaged prospects from Quora into the CRM?

    The channels have grown exponentially, yet there is nothing connecting these activities so as to ensure measurability and ROI.

    PROCESS & TECH TAKE CENTER STAGE

    10

  • AGENT OF CHANGE

    This is where process and technology come to the rescue. The right processes must be strategically put in place that enable the marketing team to pull key insights from their social channels and disseminate to the rest of the organization, from sales to human resources to public relations to research & development and even executive leadership. Swim lanes, checklists, insights templates, and, yes, intranets and instant messaging tools are critical for an organization to stay agile and connected. And these tools enable marketing to become the agent of change.

    MARKETING PROCESSES

    Listening & Monitoring

    Tool

    Presence Management

    Tool

    Reporting & Analytics

    Tool

    11

  • CLOSED LOOP MEASUREMENT

    Then, the technology serves as the glue for the system. The intranets and instant messaging tools are connected to social management platforms, which are connected to social CRMs or marketing automation systems. This ensures not only consistent and perpetual tracking of activities, but also measurability across activities and departments. Once in place, the number of disputes between marketing and sales about the quality of leads plummets because the teams have collaborated on the criteria and the systems are in place to automate the hando.

    The marketing team can get real-time feedback on messaging, product, features, and more to send to R&D. B2B community managers can assess, triage, and route product/service issues to the right customer service people to x the problem or address the challenge, and KPIs are consistent and measurable because the teams are using tools that integrate with one another and track activities across the organization. Its no surprise that the marketing automation industry is at $2B this year. Look for all mid-market and enterprise B2B organizations to take a long look at process and technology this year as it relates to marketing and sales.

    12

  • 4. MOBILE

    Smartphone and tablet market penetration numbers are attening, and mobile devices

    have reached ubiquity. How are you interacting with your B2B customers across all touchpoints during the buying journey?

    13

  • THE RISE OF MOBILE DECISION MAKERS

    The year of mobile that marketers had been touting for nearly 5 years truly came in 2014. Web and search trac from mobile devices outpaced desktop for the rst time in history; marketers knew this was bound to happen, it was just a matter of when. In the past 24-36 months, most B2C marketers have been steadily preparing by optimizing their web presence, shifting media budgets to mobile, building apps, and generally taking a more mobile-rst approach to their content strategy.

    That being said, we have not seen the same urgency from B2B marketers during this span, and this is not totally unreasonable. As a B2C marketer, say Coca-Cola, I need to be top-of-mind more often, and I need to be present earlier, and more frequently, in the buyer journey. I could, of course, purchase a can of Coke at any point of the day, on any day of the week, throughout the year. So a B2C marketer who understands that most of their customers time is being spent on the web will naturally begin to shift their digital presence to be more mobile centric.

    14

  • BUYING CYCLES

    B2B purchasing decisions are long. Theyre big investments. They demand lots of research. They require demos, and trials, and case studies, and negotiations, and bulk order processes, and custom manufacturing. That kind of intensive buying decision doesnt happen while your customer is commuting (i.e. also on their phone), kicking back in front of the TV after a long day (i.e. also on their tablet), or in any other not-at-their-desk situation, of which there are an innite number where they decide to interact with their mobile device.

    Or does it

    15

  • B2B marketers must understand t

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