Have you ever gone to the gym in January and noticed how crowded the place is? The one piece of equipment that you always use is now occupied by, gulp, a newcomer. Flash forward to February and you feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie where the Earth’s population has disappeared and you’re one of only a handful of people left on the planet.
No, it’s not your imagination. Eighty percent of New Year’s resolutions—like going to gym—fail by February. And an even more sobering statistic is that only 9 percent of the people who make New Year’s resolutions are actually successful in achieving them. However, on a brighter note, people who make resolutions are 10X more likely to achieve their goals then people who do not make resolutions.
Fortunately for us (and the Earth), nothing dire occurs when people decide to ditch their goals for the year. But as marketers, your company’s survival is indelibly linked to your marketing success, and a 91% fail rate is not a viable option.
While setting your marketing goals for the year, a good place to start is taking a look at what other similar businesses are prioritizing. In 2018, B2B businesses are focused on content and digital marketing effectiveness, lead generation, customer understanding, and differentiating their brands in the marketplace.
How do these priorities match up with your company’s goals?
Priority #5: Designing a Differentiated Value Proposition
Designing a value proposition for B2B companies is always a challenge. This is an essential step in developing effective B2B marketing strategies. Your value proposition must be able to show that you prioritize the needs of your target B2B client. In this way, you can get their buy-in. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and effort. For businesses, the decision to purchase can involve multiple stakeholders, with each person having a different idea on what is most important to the company’s business objectives.
How can B2B companies differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace?
By creating a Qualified Value Proposition (QVP), which is a value proposition based on verifiable facts. A QVP may be more effective when pursuing a business customer. Instead of listing features and benefits, a QVP will contain compelling facts and figures to clearly communicate how a solution will solve known problems and drive business results. And, identifying your target audience in order to better your messaging will make your QVP stronger.
Priority #4: Improving Customer Understanding
Due to increased expectations and experiences in the B2C space, B2B marketers have had to raise their standards to adhere to their customers’ growing expectations. Some solutions to improving customer experience and understanding might include:
- Creating an omnichannel experience, allowing customers to seamlessly interact with your company across online and offline channels
- Employing the use of artificial intelligence like chatbots to increase customer self-service
- Engaging in proactive customer service in order to determine and solve a customer problem before they reach out to you
Priority #3: Managing Lead Generation Activities Effectively
B2B leads often have a longer lifecycle than B2C consumers. That means B2B companies have to work hard to make sure their leads are engaged and nurtured through the entire process. On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site:
Are you catering to your customers’ needs and expectations at every step of the process? Do your marketing goals reflect how customers interact with your brand? This leads us to the next marketing priority.
Priority #2: Designing and Executing Digital Marketing Tactics
When digital marketing tactics are executed successfully, your lead generation tactics will be more effective. The current trends in digital marketing for B2B companies—like marketing automation, content marketing, content personalization, and LinkedIn marketing—should help you prioritize your efforts.
In order to set your goals, it’s best to look at analytics from your own company’s marketing performance, but these industry standards can provide some guidelines to get you started. How are people finding your company? This B2B study shows most customers are researching using search, website referrals, customer reviews and case studies, whereas those researching through blog posts, social, and mobile are much smaller. Smart B2Bs will adjust their goals and priorities accordingly.
Priority #1: Improving Content Marketing Effectiveness
For 77 percent of marketers, improving content marketing effectiveness is their top 2018 B2B priority. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88% of B2B Marketers believe content marketing is an essential part of their organizations marketing strategy. Based on the following statistics, one can see why:
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
- 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (Demand Gen Report, 2016) (Source: https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
How can you improve content marketing effectiveness? Make sure you’re prioritizing your content efforts on the types of offers that are most successful in your markets – at the right time, to the right persona, in their buy cycle.
Know your content audience. Who is the content intended for?
- 81% of non-C-suiters have a say in purchase decisions.
Are you measuring your content success? Make sure you’re tracking the metrics that matter.
Remember, in order to win in B2B Marketing you need to have the right Story, the right Strategy, and the right Systems in place – the 3S’s. Learn more with our 3S Playbook and bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your marketing efforts. Download our latest eBook Transformational Marketing: Moving to the TopRight.