Note: Visit our more recent blog for 2015 B2B Marketing Trends.
Anyone in B2B marketing these days HAS to be able to adapt quickly to grand changes in tactics and strategy. Early adopters define the playing field, and the rest get to step out there and fine tune the processes.
Ten years ago, internet marketing was barely an embryo - although now we're still toddlers. Those were the days when your "facebook" was the dusty old family photo album and "twitter" was just a silly, made-up word. You were using the internet to download music from Napster and the Nigerian scam may have just worked back then. All you need to do to see how things have changed is take a look at the top 10 websites in 1997 and 2010.
So onward we forge into the second decade of the new millenium. Here I give you some smack-you-in-the-face predictions for 2011. I say that because, really I'm not reinventing the wheel; I'm merely stating what all of us pretty much grasp in one way or another.
#1 Social media, which became a must-have in 2010, becomes a must-use-correctly in 2011.
The internet is just chattering away. Minute-by-minute the web spews content at us endlessly through feeds, and profiles. You can literally share an article on 500 different sites. The wiser companies have figured out ways to actually interact with customers/prospects meaningfully, and incorporate social media analytics into their overall snapshot of marketing metrics. But use social media with precaution, because one wrong move can be a giant blunder. (See these Social-Media-Gone-Awry blunders from BNET's 75 Business Bluders of 2010 from AT&T, Verizon, and Nestle)
#2 Online marketing will get a much larger budget than in past years.
Customers and prospects are interacting with companies' brands on the internet more often and earlier in the buying cycle. It used to be you'd call a sales prospect and send him to your website to get more information; now, many prospects are ON your website/blog looking at information and downloading things before you've ever even breathed their name. This shift will be reflected in marketing budgets across the globe.
#3 Video marketing is primed to take off.
Videos can go viral. Videos are easy and cheap to distribute. If done well, video tells an impactful story with a visualization of brands and messaging. Webinars and slidedeck presentations are becoming video-ized more. All of this adds up to increased use of internet video as a content vehicle.
#4 SEO sees an ever-increasing level complexity.
Geo-location, mobile search, Google Instant. The list goes on-and-on. Add the fact that Google is not the only game in town anymore, either locally (China's Baidu and Russia's Yandex), or laterally (Bing). There are always SEO nuances popping up monthly that someone on your corporate web marketing team better know about.
#5 Telemarketing surges with the advent of the more savvy "hybrid" lead generation rep.
The Bridge Group states in their 2010 Lead Generation Report that 83% of marketing departments list inbound lead follow-up as a primary function of the lead generation group. Today's B2B lead generation rep is far different than that of eight years ago, when Vendere Partners came on the scene. Then, it was all about the cold call. We've come a long way since then with lead generation reps now qualifying inbound marketing leads, nurturing leads, registering event attendees, and cold calling on top of all that.