Some of the most exciting campaigns happening right now are in the business-to-business world. Expect this to accelerate in 2016 as B2Bs become even more immersed in the digital realm – while tapping into the strength of some surprising platforms as well.
Here are my top 5 predictions for B2B marketing next year:
The first brands in each vertical industry to grab the golden ring by creating strong, focused programs will make a huge impact and own the biggest audiences for years to come.
- Social media will hit the tipping point and take off
Brands have long since discovered the power of social media to connect to their audiences and deliver value that helps meet a wide range of business objectives. While a few B2B brands have made strong inroads, for the most part they’ve been brands that were also well-known among consumers.
In 2016 a growing number of non-visual, commercial and industrial brands will begin to leverage this marketing strategy as well. In the beginning many will make the same mistakes consumer companies made early on, such as hiring interns to tweet press releases and neglecting to plan and build integrated programs. The first brands in each vertical industry to grab the golden ring by creating strong, focused programs will make a huge impact and own the biggest audiences for years to come.
- Speed dating conferences will multiply
Whether or not they deliver the value of trade shows is yet to be determined. However, these vendor-sponsored mini-conferences will continue to proliferate for three reasons: they put vendors directly in front of a curated group of live prospects, the prospects attend for free (boondoggle alert) and they’re insanely profitable for the people who run them. Expect to see the number of these events reach critical mass in 2016.
- LinkedIn will replace Google as the top business search platform
With its extraordinary (and growing) ability to laser-target potential prospects, partners and providers, LinkedIn is set to own the world of search for businesses. Expect their number and variety of advertising products and platforms to grow accordingly.
- Direct mail will continue to be strong
Email marketing continues to be extremely effective, but with all the digital messaging going on, our physical mailboxes have been kind of empty lately. Savvy marketers who’ve been riding that wave with smart snail mail campaigns will carry on, joined by others who are discovering the many reasons to keep post offices in business.
- Print will make a resurgence
For years magazines have been getting slimmer while pundits foretold the death of print. Thing is, it hasn’t died; in fact it’s remained one of the strongest channels for trade advertising. In 2016 many of the brands who pulled all their print ads only to find that digital often doesn’t pack the same punch for awareness campaigns will go back to print, and in doing so rediscover the power and beauty of great creative.
That’s it! How many of the predictions above line up with your plans for 2016? We’d love to get your feedback.