2017 B2B Digital Marketing Trends You Need To Know About

By Kirsten Oelrich 6 min read

Top B2B Digital Marketing Trends for 2017

Efficiency is the name of the game in modern B2B digital marketing. With so many areas such as application development, content production and customer service expenses competing for your company’s resources, you’ve probably become accustomed to hearing that your marketing department needs to do more without a budget increase. When you need to accomplish great things with a tight marketing budget, you need to focus on the areas that’ll give you the best returns for your investment. What are the world’s leading digital marketers doing with their budgets? These are the top B2B digital marketing trends of 2017.

Content Marketing Remains a Priority

In a 2017 HubSpot marketing survey, 53 percent of respondents said that text article creation was the most important part of their inbound marketing efforts. Even if your company has published new blog content consistently for years, there is virtually no end to the amount of content that you can produce. Publishing informational content is still one the best ways to bring potential leads to your company’s website. Constructing punchy, shareable content for social media is a great way to keep your customers engaged and potentially generate viral traffic.

How should your company handle its content marketing strategy in 2017? For your website’s blog, you should focus on providing the information that your potential customers want to find online. Providing high-quality answers is a great way to capture search engine traffic and establish your company as a trusted authority in its field.

Social media should also be an important part of your content marketing strategy. Although the returns from social media marketing may not be quite as high as the returns that you’ll receive from publishing website content, social media content can help you reach existing customers who aren’t visiting your website. When creating social media content, try to focus on themes that’ll have an emotional impact. Social media users are most likely to share content that surprises, inspires or delights them. Your social media followers are some of your most devoted customers; give them a reason to share your content with their friends.

Influencer Marketing Beats Ad Blockers

With more people installing ad blockers every day, traditional paid adverting channels have become less effective. As of the end of 2016, 615 million devices around the world blocked ads. Many of your potential customers aren’t seeing your ads on search engines, social media websites or retargeting networks. How can you reach those people? You can go through the channel that has the undivided attention of millions: online influencers.

The most influential users on social networks such as Instagram have millions of followers who read every post in spite of the fact that much of the content is commercial. In 2016, for example, an Instagram post from Kylie Jenner advertising a clothing brand received 2.2 million likes. Millions of people knew that they were looking at an advertisement and helped to promote the content anyway.

How can influencer marketing work for a B2B company? Fashion isn’t the only niche with influencers. If you can find a thought leader in your niche with a follower base consisting of the types of people you’d like to gain as customers, it is worth the investment to pay for that exposure. The best online influencers know how to market companies like yours to their followers. They can create content that straddles the line between an offhand mention and an obviously paid endorsement.

Traditional Social Media Marketing ROI Will Decrease

So far, we’ve expressed the fact that you’ll need punchy content if you want to reach your company’s social media followers organically. Alternatively, you’ll need the assistance of online influencers with greater organic reach. The organic reach of brands on social media is continuing to decrease because people are following so many businesses, celebrities and other entities on social media that they don’t have enough time to read all of the content. Some social networks — such as Facebook — use filters to reduce the amount of irrelevant content that reaches users’ timelines. The filters mainly catch commercial content like yours.

Businesses have traditionally paid to boost their social media content and reach more users. With organic reach on social networks declining, though, your competitors are likely paying to boost their content as well. With more competition on social media, you’ll need to increase your bids in 2017 to get the same returns that you earned in 2016. You’ll probably find that you can get better results by spending your advertising budget elsewhere.

Automation Continues to Produce Great Results

Content marketing will remain the core of many businesses’ inbound marketing efforts in 2017, but increasing traffic is only one way to improve your website’s revenue generation. The other way is to earn more revenue from the traffic that your website already receives. If you can’t turn a website visitor into an immediate conversion, your next goal should be to capture the visitor’s contact information and begin an automated lead nurturing campaign.

A lead nurturing campaign is most likely to be successful if you tailor it specifically to the interests of the prospects who read it. Creating personalized lead nurturing campaigns requires extensive segmentation that accounts for prospects’ interests, interactions, and engagement levels. It also requires a marketing automation platform that watches how prospects react to campaigns and move them to different segments when needed.

The more your company personalizes the content in its nurturing campaigns, the better your results will become — which means that your company’s content creators may have quite a lot of writing to do. We believe that your content creators should spend at least as much time writing nurturing campaigns as they spend writing new website content.

Video Content Remains a Great Traffic Generator

The production of video content will continue to be a great investment in 2017 for B2B companies who conduct solid keyword research and have smooth production workflows. People who use websites such as YouTube as information sources expect to see high-quality videos with clear images and sound. To produce acceptable videos, your company will need a high-definition video camera, an external microphone and a well-lit shooting location. If you have those things, you’ll gain an advantage over competitors using inferior equipment.

To keep your video production costs as low as possible, try grouping similar topics together and filming several videos during the same session. Targeting as many keywords as possible gives your videos the best possible chance of attracting traffic, and filming several similar videos during the same session helps you use your screen talent more economically.

It’s likely that some of your competitors are also using video as a marketing vehicle. If YouTube already has plenty of videos targeting keywords that are important to your company, you’ll need to do a little extra to stand out. One way to encourage clicks on YouTube is by optimizing your video titles. Choosing a great video title isn’t just about targeting a specific keyword — it’s also about telling potential viewers about the benefit they’ll receive from watching your content. A great thumbnail image can also encourage clicks.

The next great frontiers for B2B marketing on YouTube are 3-D video and live streaming events. If your company can find a way to exploit those new video types in 2017, you’ll gain a major edge over your competitors.

Chatbots Can Be Great Marketing Tools

Does your company use chatbots to handle routine customer service inquiries? A chatbot gives customers an easy way to complete tasks such as checking the status of an order or adjusting the quantity of a recurring purchase. Machine learning has given chatbots the ability to process natural language and even discern the sentiment of customer communication. Although many companies now use chatbots as sales and customer service tools, only a few companies have exploited chatbots for their marketing potential.

Since a chatbot simply delivers algorithmic responses to text input, your creativity is the only thing that limits what a chatbot can do. These are just a few of the ways in which a chatbot can help your company meet its sales and marketing goals.

  • Delivering personalized product recommendations to website visitors
  • Guiding anonymous website visitors toward the next step in the conversion process
  • Sending marketing messages via social media and instant messaging apps

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TA Digital is an innovative digital transformation agency, specializing in delivering digital experience, commerce, and marketing solutions. For nearly two decades, we have been helping traditional businesses transform and create dynamic digital cultures through disruptive strategies and agile deployment of innovative solutions. We are known as a global leader in the digital technology industry for helping marketing leaders achieve their revenue targets, create profitable, omni-channel customer and commerce experiences. TA Digital has high-level strategic partnerships with digital technology companies AdobeMicrosoftSitecoreAcquiaMarketoSAP HybrisElastic Path, and Episerver. The company was named on 2013, 2014, 2015 Inc. 5000 list as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the United States.

Kirsten Oelrich

Written By

Kirsten Oelrich