4 B2B Marketing Trends You Can't Afford to Miss in 2018

Lack of strategy is the primary reasons why content initiatives fail.

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By Syed Balkhi • Dec 8, 2017

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The new year is coming fast, and the best way to prepare -- and stay ahead of your competitors -- is to anticipate upcoming trends in B2B marketing. Just like the previous years, marketers will have to continue to deal with tangible growth and ROI pressures in 2018 as well.

Here are four emerging marketing trends you need to integrate into your 2018 marketing plan.

1. Marketing automation.

Wouldn't it be great if you could automate your everyday B2B marketing tasks to save time? With marketing automation, not only will you be able to automate repetitive tasks, you can also nurture prospects with highly personalized, useful content along the journey to purchase.

Although the technology is in its early stage of maturity, marketers are pushing themselves to exploit the possibilities to deliver relevant and timely communications to prospects to nurture leads.

Related: Bringing Intelligence, Science and Automation Into the Marketing World

Marketing automation is more about nurturing your prospects than selling to them. It helps you streamline your inbound marketing strategy and enhance the communication by delivering content at the exact time your prospects need it.

2. Content marketing.

For many years, content marketing has been a popular technique to nurture and acquire leads in the B2B industry. As the customer journey becomes longer, businesses will need to deploy plenty of research on different stages of the customer lifecycle. Content marketing is highly effective for B2B marketers to educate potential customers about best practices for their industry.

Although nearly 90 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing as a core component of their online marketing strategy, only 37 percent of them have a documented content strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute's 2017 benchmarks. According to those same benchmarks, lack of strategy is the primary reasons why content initiatives fail.

To make your content initiative effective, aside from having a documented content strategy, it is vital to measure content marketing ROI as well.

Set the goals you want to achieve through content marketing and measure them through KPIs. Although content marketing is cheaper, it's not certainly free. To measure ROI, you need to calculate the cost of content production and editing. You'll also need to measure various factors like traffic, brand awareness and customer engagement that you acquired through content marketing along with sales and revenue.

Related: 5 Trends Shaping the Future of Content Marketing

3. Content personalization.

While web content personalization is a well-established marketing tactic among B2C websites, B2B businesses are still slow to adopt it. That's quite surprising because personalization of emails is a common tactic across all industries.

A study by Seismic and Demand Metric looked at the reasons why B2B business were not implementing personalization and found that a lack of resources, technology and data were cited more often than not. They also found that effectiveness of content personalization strategy is resoundingly high for those who have adopted it.

With automation tools like Evergage, real time 1:1 personalization becomes more affordable for small companies. It helps you to supercharge your account-based marketing initiatives and provide personalized experience based on various customer demographics including company name, industry and other data.

It goes without saying, in order to make your content initiative enticing in 2018, you need to provide dynamic content on your website.

4. LinkedIn marketing.

Traditionally, social media was considered as a lead generation channel for B2C marketing, but more and more marketers shift their focus towards social media to educate and communicate with potential prospects.

Just like the previous years, LinkedIn is expected to outperform other social channels for B2B businesses.

After being acquired by Microsoft in 2016, LinkedIn has released tons of features that are geared towards making LinkedIn the most efficient and cost-effective platform for reaching B2B audience. For example, the recently released InMail Analytics features help you get more response and improve your entire team's performance. B2B marketers are making more data driven decisions with LinkedIn than ever before, and the trend is expected to continue in 2018 as well.

Related: 18 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018

If you haven't invested in LinkedIn marketing, you're already falling behind. Social selling is no longer an experimental strategy. It's the new industry standards for B2B sales.

With technology on the rise, the possibilities for B2B businesses to engage with their potential prospects are endless. If you haven't incorporated the new trends in your strategic planning for 2018, now is the right time. By getting well-prepared beforehand and embracing changes early, you'll be the first to reap the benefits of the new trends.

Syed Balkhi

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Entrepreneur, Growth Hacker and Marketer

Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur and the co-founder of WPBeginnerOptinMonster and WPForms

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