Dare to Succeed in 2019: Embrace These B2B Marketing Trends and Forge Ahead Bravely
December 14, 2018
To be brave is to show mental or moral strength in the face of danger, fear, or difficulty.
As marketers, we routinely stare down each of these menaces: the danger of unfulfilling campaigns and initiatives; the fear of lackluster results and dissatisfied stakeholders; the difficulty of avoiding negative outcomes in a world of rapid change and ever-growing demands.
We’re not running into burning buildings or anything, but ours is a profession that requires tenacity, resilience, and mental fortitude — now more than ever.
Over the past week here on the blog, we’ve been highlighting some of the B2B marketing trends we believe will rise to the forefront in 2019. In particular, our focus is on ideas that may run counter to conventional thinking, but will prove rewarding for those brave enough to embrace them.
Today, we’ll look back on this series with a rundown of the most important takeaways to guide your B2B marketing strategies in the year to come.
These Trends Can Help Shape Proactive B2B Marketing Strategies in 2019
If we could summarize the direction of audience trends in one word, it would be specificity.
The time has come to leave behind overly-generalized audience personas, with their loosely assigned attributes often based on assumptions. In 2019, marketers should take a page from the Netflix model, leveraging first-party data to the fullest to make buyer personas more dynamic and specific to the people we are actually trying to reach.
Many of us have been conditioned to look at creation as an art form, which it is in many ways. But in marketing, branding creative is much more scientific than many of us realize. It’s not about “throw something against the walls and see what sticks” any more. Through data and insight, we can devise well-informed creative campaigns that entail far less risk.
One hurdle for content marketers to overcome is The Originality Delusion, which is the notion that every new campaign must be groundbreaking in its novelty. The reality is that audiences value familiarity and extensibility. Rather than guessing what will resonate with your audience, don’t be reluctant to repurpose or reiterate something that already has. This is not only more reliable but more efficient; we can further improve that efficiency by embracing effective templates and becoming bionic marketers.
“Price is what you pay; value is what you get. Whether we’re talking about socks or stocks, I like buying quality merchandise when it is marked down.” How can your distribution methods adhere to this sage wisdom from Warren Buffett, one of the world’s most successful investors? It’s all about zeroing in on undervalued audiences with media value investing.
C-level executives and senior managers are targeted by B2B marketing strategies everywhere, and it’s not hard to see why. But too many of us are failing to account for individual contributors — professionals who execute much of the buying research and increasingly influence decision-making. This represents a perfect opportunity to apply Buffett’s advice with your targeting strategy.
The other primary imperatives for brave marketers in 2019 when it comes to distribution are matters of perception. How can your B2B advertising campaigns create the perception of quality in your audience’s eyes, knowing what we know about cost signaling? And how can you alter the perception of an executive who sees vastly more impact in lead generation than branding? (Our war on brand video may offer some helpful perspective.)
It’s time to stop doing what’s easy, simply for the fact that it’s easy. Nowhere is this need more evident than measuring ROI in B2B marketing. Click-through rate remains a central metric for many campaigns, even though it doesn’t correlate all that strongly with business impact (in fact, it may have a negative correlation due to false indicators!). We’ve been harping on the importance of measuring what matters and will only continue to do so in 2019. Deriving meaningful conclusions from your analytics, and letting them dictate your approach, requires measuring fast and slow — taking the time to arrive at deeper insights (like Revenue Per Lead) and doing so relentlessly.
Investing in real-time marketing campaigns can also seem like an easy call, mainly because many of us are accustomed to doing so. But do these types of efforts really make sense in the scope of long-term ROI? In most cases, we’d do well to heed Hollywood’s example by focusing on all-time marketing and its evergreen appeal.
Here’s to Fearless B2B Marketing in 2019
Marketers are often told to “be different” or “think outside the box,” and usually these urgings are rather vague. Above, we have provided some specific ways for innovative minds to adjust B2B marketing strategies in the coming year. Bucking conventional wisdom can be a scary thing, but those who are brave enough to depart from the beaten path (based on good, solid data and evidence) will likely be rewarded.