So it’s that time of year again. We start thinking about what will be the next big thing in 2015. Back in December I delivered a webinar covering my predictions for the b2b digital trends to watch out for. For those of you who missed it here’s a summary of the highlights.
One of the characteristics of the modern marketer outlined in E-Consultancy’s recent Modern Marketing Manifesto is agility; the ability to be responsive and adaptive, to be flexible and embrace change.
The concept of agile marketing has grown from the need to try and deal with a more fluid marketing environment, driven largely by digital, and has borrowed from the principles of agile software development. Agile marketing is increasingly being used and discussed in B2C circles but less so in b2b. The goals of Agile marketing are to improve the speed, predictability, transparency, and adaptability to change of the marketing function.
We already work with many clients in this way and always emphasise the importance of continual evaluation of any activities to ensure adaptions are made based on results and efforts are focused on the highest pay-off areas – ensuring the best possible ROI. A specific example was a recent product campaign. This involved carrying out 4 waves of activity over 12 months but after each tactic e.g. emails, we reviewed the stats seeing what worked and what didn’t and then adjusted the approach accordingly.
Today, being flexible and adapting your comms activities based on engagement and results is the only way to go. It’s almost impossible to guess anymore exactly how well any activity will go in advance, especially with trends and customer needs changing rapidly in many b2b industries.
Death of the homepage?
Could 2015 spell the end of the homepage?
In a multi-device world the generic Top Level Domain (gTLD) architecture opens up further opportunities to engage with digital content.
As you can see at the very end of this URL example traditional top level domains are those such as .com .net and . org. Though since 2013 the global body for managing domains Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has drawn up a new list of more than 600 variations of the traditional TLDs. These include .store / .tech / .corp and also locations such as .London .Berlin .Africa and Chinese and Arabic character specific variations are now available.
There is also the use of sub domains to alter traditional website page structures. In the webinar I cite the example of Microsoft where you can see how each of the subdomains creates a specific hub where content can be housed. This again shows how the pages can be more campaign-able and how you can create dedicated areas that customers can revisit. Implementing a combination of these approaches could make a real impact to the online customer experience.
So mobile isn’t new but in the technical b2b world, there are still very few mobile optimised websites or emails. We find a large proportion of b2b buyers are increasingly using mobile, especially those who travel a lot or are field based. This is reflected in the email browser stats, so one thing to look at next time you’re reading an email report is to see how many of your emails are opened on mobiles and tablets.
In b2c it’s becoming common place for emails to be designed responsively to scale to the size of your mobile device. In b2b less so. As we’ve all deleted emails on our mobiles that we simply can’t be bothered to try and read as it’s not fit for mobile. When developing email campaigns for clients, we always recommend they go with a responsive newsletter template to ensure they get the maximum exposure from their campaigns.
Though mobile doesn’t just extend to email. As for the International clientele we work with there are a wealth of opportunities with mobile to use geo-targeting. These tactics can support advertising campaigns and yield targeted results for location orientated businesses. For example you can run dedicated mobile PPC campaigns and also on LinkedIn and Twitter target users who are on mobile.
And of course it wouldn’t be right to talk about mobile and not discuss apps!
Though apps don’t just have to be for mobile. There are now get desktop, tablet and even TV specific apps.
Trellaborg is a good b2b example in that they work across a broad range of industrial sectors. The end users will typically be working in the field whether that is on an oil rig or on a construction site and therefore rely on mobile technology. Trellaborg have created a suite of apps such as helpful calculators and installation instructions to help their customers get the job done.
However in 2015 I think we’ll see better integrated apps that connect with internal systems such as CRM. As in the last few years many businesses have been burned by developing apps for the sake of having one. The most successful apps are those that fulfil a genuine customer or business need.
Delivering customer value is paramount – and an organisation’s behaviour, personality and culture is often seen as important as the products and services it provides, which is reflected in the rise in social media.
In particular social can play a key role in good content marketing strategies and the top platforms for b2b in Europe continue to be LinkedIn and Twitter. Though not forgetting YouTube which again in b2b can be a really powerful way to get across complex product propositions. For any form of social media marketing or sharing, the most important thing to get right is your content. If you have a content plan that takes into account the key topics most relevant to your target audiences and your business, and build activity around those topics, then you will begin to grow your following, increase interaction on the platforms and, over time, generate more business.
Thinking of the young up-and-coming marketers and future clients and prospects who are already using social media – if your business is to appeal to these target audiences in the next few years then it’s going to be crucial to be visible to these groups in the places where they congregate and go for information online.
I also covered my top marketing tools for 2015 in the webinar so if this post has sparked your interest you can listen to the webinar on demand via our BrightTalk channel or download the presentation from SlideShare.
This blog was originally posted on BDB.co.uk where I was a Digital Project Manager working with international b2b clients.