Top 5 B2B Marketing Trends for 2018

As you gear up for 2018, it’s important to understand the B2B marketing trends that can benefit your company versus those that will utilize time and resources without generating results. Our industrial marketing experts have reviewed the latest B2B marketing trends, and compiled our “Top 5” list for 2018. With almost two decades of expertise in developing B2B marketing campaigns for our industrial, manufacturing and technology clients, we have developed this list to give you recommendations based on experience, not just popularity.

Here are the top five B2B marketing trends our team is monitoring for 2018. While these reflect only part of an integrated B2B marketing and advertising strategy, and our team is always available for a free consultation to evaluate your company’s needs and goals.

Industrial & B2B Marketing Trend #1: Content Marketing

While this B2B marketing trend name may be a bit “buzzy”, there is a whole lot of value in content marketing. But what is it? Content marketing can include everything from whitepapers to press releases to videos. But at its core content marketing is media with which your business can provide information, often informative or educational, to an audience. Content marketing is most effective when it is developed with a strategy, often the information your current or prospective customers want to learn about.

As your customers work to self-educated their way down your sales pipeline, content is a key component in enabling that process. Content marketing is also a multi-purpose activity, in that the content created can be used in a variety of applications to maximize return. Strategically-developed content can power your search engine optimization, improve your social media engagement, appear in advertising campaigns and more.

It’s number one on our 2018 B2B Marketing Trends list because it gives you the biggest bang for the buck, and is directly related to the changing customer buying cycle.

Industrial & B2B Marketing Trend #2: Facebook Advertising

Marketing experts in a variety of industries have expounded the value of Facebook advertising, and that value is no different for manufacturing, industry and technology companies. Nowadays there is no separation of personal and professional lives when using Facebook, and it’s one of the most used online platforms in the world. We connect with friends, family as well as co-workers. Work is on our mind at home and home is on our mind at work.

An additional perk of Facebook for your B2B marketing and advertising efforts right now is its price (its typically less expensive that other mediums) and its ability to target. Because it is the most popular social site worldwide, Facebook has been able to invest millions into collecting data, developing algorithms and monetizing profile information. With a complete understanding of how to maximize Facebook in your B2B marketing strategy, companies can reach a very specific audience.

It’s important to understand that Facebook advertising is not simply putting a credit card on file and “sponsoring” a few posts to increase visibility. Smart and effective Facebook advertising requires a strategic deployment based on audience profiles, leveraging like-for-like matching to your existing customer lists, and a carefully-crafted combination of ad imagery and text. With data analysis, website analytics performance reviews and retargeting using cookies, Facebook ads can deliver results within your B2B marketing plan.

Given its expanding benefits, trackable digital metrics and relatively low cost, Facebook Advertising is #2 on our 2018 B2B Marketing Trends List.

Industrial & B2B Marketing Trend #3: SSL Certification

When you think of B2B marketing trends, you might not be thinking of your IT Department. But when you look at your website URL, do you see a little lock icon on the browser bar with HTTPS:// alongside it? If not, you could have an issue with your website’s ability to appear in search results. This means when customers search for your products or services; your website won’t be found. Additionally, for users on some browsers, your website will appear with a “not secure” warning next to the listing in search results. This could prevent people from clicking on your site.

Google recently made changes to de-prioritize URLs that do not have HTTPS. The use of HTTPS (instead of HTTP) signifies that a website has an SSL certification – which stands for Secure Sockets Layer. With an SSL certificate, you are simply telling Google that you also take security seriously and that any sensitive information your visitors might submit is protected.

Setting up SSL certification is not free, but it certainly won’t break the bank, and it will prevent a steep drop in visitors to your site. To read more on HTTPS, please read our blog post.

While an SSL is a simple upgrade for your web site, its far-reaching impact has made it #3 on our B2B Marketing Trends List for 2018.

Industrial & B2B Marketing Trend #4: Focus on Inbound Leads

As we mentioned in our first 2018 B2B Marketing Trend List item, Content Marketing, today’s customers work to educate themselves as they move through your sales funnels. With the creation of content, you create visibility and can highlight your value, capabilities, and expertise while also promoting your products and services. Inbound marketing strategies utilize that content to generate leads.

Think of the value of search engine optimization for a moment. If a prospective customer is searching for information related to a product or service you offer, it is likely they are more valuable to your business than a customer who wasn’t looking for you, but happened to stumble across an advertisement. While both efforts can be powerful as part of a larger B2B marketing plan, the customer that conducted a specific search is likely further along in a sales funnel. That “inbound lead” comes to you with greater value, having engaged with a piece of content you have offered.

Compare this to a click on a trade publication digital ad. While this lead may be good, it is likely that this person is earlier in the sales funnel. Perhaps they know they will need your product later, or it is something else to research on their to-do list, but at that moment, they are not actively looking for your company’s solutions.

Inbound leads are often a more qualified lead for your sales team to work through, as they arrive naturally pre-vetted by their interest in your product or service, and they are actively engaged in efforts that have led them to your company. A focus on inbound leads can alleviate the added time and resources it takes to conduct cold calls or follow up on leads that are early in the sales funnel.

As customer sales funnel and buying patterns change, we view a focus on inbound lead generation as critically important, and it’s why it is #4 in our B2B Marketing Trends List.

Industrial & B2B Marketing Trend #5: Capture Decreasing Customer Attention

Our technology-driven society has made consumers (ourselves included) have a much shorter on attention span. On average, brands and businesses have 7 seconds to make an impact. Couple this with the fact that people only read, on average, 28% of words on a website page, crafting marketing materials that capture decreasing attention spans is critical.

No pressure.

When developing marketing and advertising campaigns for our clients, we develop ways to capture attention spans and actively drive their interest in your sales pipeline. A few ways we achieve that include:

  • Revising the user experience (UX) of your website.
  • Injecting relevant, graphic interest on marketing materials – from websites to social media to print.
  • Directing the eye with impactful messaging, concise layouts, bullets and lists.

Different marketing efforts require different analytics of the user experience and user expectations, and its critical to consider a customer’s decreasing attention span.

If you’ve made it to our #5 item on our 2018 B2B Marketing Trends List, we’re happy that we got your attention.

Ready to Take on 2018?

So, there it is – a short but sweet list of B2B marketing trends for 2018 from our industrial marketing experts. These are, of course, not the ONLY activities you should conduct this coming year, and a careful and strategically developed campaign is based on a combination of many efforts. However, our experts have complied this list of B2B marketing trends to help make 2018 your most successful year yet.

If you’re interested in speaking with one of our industrial marketing experts to determine how to leverage these B2B marketing trends for your business, please reach out! Simply complete the quick form at the bottom of this page, or contact us, and someone from the team will give you a call!