What’s Hot and what’s Not in B2B Marketing right now
Our guide to the ideas, technologies and tactics setting the B2B agenda
August 3, 2018
B2B marketing is a fast-moving space – and it can be tricky staying on top of which ideas, technologies and tactics are flavour of the month. That’s why we developed the B2B Marketing Hot or Not gauge, as part of our Sophisticated Marketer Quarterly magazine. In each issue, we pick out the ideas, technologies and marketing tactics that are setting the agenda in B2B – and also those sliding out of the spotlight or being called out for the damage they do.
Scroll down for your regular guide to the cutting edge of B2B, plus our explanation for what made our two lists:
The Hot List:
A quick glance at your LinkedIn feed is all you need to confirm why B2B video is on the hot list. It’s being used in more marketers, in more versatile and creative ways, than ever before. My colleague Jennifer Bunting posted recently about the techniques that are proving most effective as B2B pivots to video.
As more new technologies arrive in the B2B space, the more value you get from taking the time to teach yourself how to use them. Punk Marketing is the idea of giving yourself a basic working knowledge of new platforms so that you’re less dependent on external support, can react more nimbly to opportunities, and can get more creative with what you do.
If you’re punking B2B video marketing then you’ll need some accessible, easy-to-learn video editing software. That’s why Camtasia is on our B2B hot list.
Storytelling has been a buzzy concept in marketing for the last five years – but there’s a big difference between storytelling as a buzzword and storytelling as a serious marketing discipline. Keith Browning wrote a great post recently on what’s required to apply the seven plots of stories to your content.
The latest Demand Gen Report survey of B2B Buyers’ content preferences found that 48% regard webinars as the most valuable form of content they can encounter in the consideration phase. They spend longer with them than any other content format as well.
Podcasts were another big winner in the Demand Gen Report survey: 64% of B2B buyers regard them as a valuable form of content in the early stages of the buyer journey.
As Oath’s Digital Prophet Dave Shing pointed out on The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast, a voice search world means a hugely increased role for audio branding. It’s time to start planning what your brand sounds like.
Responsibly collected and relevant data is more valuable than ever – not least because of the options you now have to use it for targeting on LinkedIn.
It was one of the most talked-about issues at Advertising Week Europe this year, and it’s been gaining momentum since as marketers become more aware of the need to integrate different ways of experiencing the world.
Side-hustles are no longer a secret sideline: they’re increasingly part of B2B marketers’ personal brands, and valued for the different perspectives they can bring to the day job.
Just because it’s always cool – so much so we’ve designed entire B2B content assets around the sleeve covers.
The Not List:
Automated social media responses
As Scott Stratten explained on The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast, these are becoming a sure-fire shortcut to torpedoing your brand credibility.
Do the benefits in terms of short-term attention really outweigh the risks of leveraging events in poor taste – or being seen to be a bandwagon-jumper?
Sure there have been some creative uses of these, but according to Microsoft’s Axel Steinman, virtual assistants aren’t the biggest voice search opportunity for marketers. We think he has a point.
The buzz around brand purpose has resulted in lots of brand positioning statements that are virtually indistinguishable from one another and say nothing about the businesses behind them. Mark Ritson is one of many marketing commentators running out of patience with fake brand purpose.
Sue Unerman of MediaCom is fed up with businesses tolerating sexist and discriminatory behaviour by sweeping it under this term. Banter deserves to be on the way out. We just hope it is.
Viral content strategies
Planning on content going viral is one of the biggest red herrings in B2B marketing: it’s impossible to predict, rarely fits with B2B marketing objectives and can actively undermine your strategy.
We’re not saying there will never be a relevant B2B marketing application for VR – but we haven’t seen it yet. And let’s face it, everyone’s been talking about this for a while.
There’s nothing wrong with it – but it’s certainly not the essential content format that everybody told you it would be. As Jared Polin puts it, there are many more things to worry about than which way you hold the video camera.
They’re damaging, offensive, a serious barrier to effective sales and marketing alignment, and it’s about time we moved on from them.