B2B Marketers: What to Leave Behind in 2019 & What To Adopt in 2020

(According to Your Peers)

January 22, 2020

(According to Your Peers)

Out with the old, and in with the new.

The arrival of a fresh year is a perfect time to clean house. As B2B marketers, it’s an opportunity to take a step back from the daily hustle and review our strategies to determine what’s worth keeping, what’s worth adding, and what needs to go. 

By simply swapping out one ineffective habit or tactic, and replacing it with something more efficient and productive, think about the gains you stand to make over the course of an entire year. 

To help proactively pinpoint practices that are best left behind, along with new ones worth adopting, we asked four marketing leaders with a knack for staying ahead of the trends. 

Marketing Leaders on What to Leave Behind in 2019, and What to Adopt in 2020

Michael Brenner — CEO, Marketing Insider Group 

What to leave behind? Random acts of content. Too many brands are creating content that either isn't used, is too costly for any single piece of content, or isn't effective.

What to start in 2020? Commit to content consistency. Brands that move from random content frequency to consistent content see increases of 50-200% increases in traffic and leads. Buyers are searching for answers every single day. My advice to marketers in 2020 is to push back on one-off content requests and focus on building a consistent content strategy to drive results.

“Too many brands are creating content that either isn't used, is too costly for any single piece of content, or isn't effective.”

David Beebe — CEO, Storified

For 2019, marketers need to leave behind and escape the “sea of sameness” problem on social media — especially experiential brands in travel, tourism, and hospitality. All of the content looks the same. If you remove the brand name, you can’t tell the difference. It’s just laziness at this point. 

For 2020, marketers need to adopt two things. The first is independent third-party measurement for influencer marketing campaigns. Today, platforms, creators, and agencies all self-report. It’s like grading your own homework. Every other form of legitimate media has third party validation. Influencer fraud was a $1.3 billion problem in 2019 alone. 

The second is to transform marketing from a cost-center to a revenue center with premium story-driven content. If you’re going to invest in long-form storytelling, you should own the IP and control the distribution. Stop renting audiences from third parties.

“Today, platforms, creators, and agencies all self-report. It’s like grading your own homework. Every other form of legitimate media has third party validation."

Katie Martell — Speaker and Marketing Consultant

We are marketing in an age of value-signalling and woke-washing, where brands signal support for movements like LGBTQ+ equality, women's rights, or other hot-button issues. 

Why? Three reasons:

  1. Brands are commoditized and seeking new ways of differentiation.

  2. Trust in marketing is low. Forty-two percent of Americans find brands and companies less truthful today than 20 years ago. Brands seek to earn trust through signalling they share the same values as target buyers.1

  3. This is the new normal. Employees (and customers) now look to businesses to have a voice in previously untouchable conversations - 71% of employees agree it's critically important for their CEO to respond to challenging times (industry events, political events, national crisis, employee-driven issues.) 2

But what happens when these organizations fail to live up to the ideals in their marketing? For example, many that are awash in rainbows in-store and on social media during LGBTQ pride month don't have workplace protections for LGBTQ employees, or do nothing to influence the laws in their states that still allow these employees to be fired for their identity. 

What is the impact on equality in the workplace when organizations signal support for women during International Women's Day or Women's History Month with clever, feminist advertising (femvertising) or by highlighting diverse employees on-staff, but also fail to offer workplace protections, ample family leave, transparent equal pay for comparable work, bias training, or a number of other meaningful actions?

When companies don't live up to the values in their marketing this creates an illusion of progress where consumers believe the world to be more fair and equitable than it truly is, threatening to undermine the very movements the brand hopes to align itself with. 

It also presents untenable risks to the brand itself, which, in a time of accountability through social media, can't afford to be "cancelled" or called out for hypocrisy. 

In 2020, choose to take a stand on social or political movements and issues based on what is genuine within your own organization, your employees, your policies, and your supply chain. Marketing that is able to reflect the authentic core of a business wins. 

Anything else is simply pandering. 

1 AdAge, via McCann study

2 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer

“When companies don't live up to the values in their marketing, this creates an illusion of progress where consumers believe the world to be more fair and equitable than it truly is, threatening to undermine the very movements the brand hopes to align itself with.”

Mandy McEwen — CEO, Mod Girl Marketing

Marketers should leave behind broad content that doesn’t speak to a specific target market. 

On that note, marketers should also focus on quality over quantity. Gone are the days of posting on social media for the sake of posting. 2020 is the year of personalization and meaningful content. It’s also time to ditch the negative posts and focus on content that’s positive and provides value to specific target markets. 

“Gone are the days of posting on social media for the sake of posting. 2020 is the year of personalization and meaningful content.”

Get the Most Out of Your Marketing This Year

Simple changes, seen through fully, can make a big difference. By heeding the advice of these successful marketers and entrepreneurs, you’ll be on track to level-up your strategy and results in 2020. To recap:

DO: 

  • Commit to content consistency

  • Measure influencer programs independently and rely on story-driven content

  • Live your values as a brand

  • Prioritize quality over quantity

DON’T:

  • Get caught up in random acts of content

  • Tread water in the sea of social media sameness

  • Pander with empty advocacy and inauthentic stances

  • Create broad content without a specific target audience

It’s gonna be a good year. Subscribe the LinkedIn Marketing Blog to stay informed and inspired throughout.

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