Top B2B Lead Generation Trends for 2015
Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s “State of Marketing” report has revealed marketers’ top priorities for B2B lead generation in 2015 – with social and mobile leading the way!
While these trends and channels are not new, the ways in which they are being used are continuously evolving. Things have shifted rapidly over the last year and these are some of the ways you can keep up to date as they continue to do so.
We have even included some top tips for each trend so you can see exactly how you might incorporate them into your own B2B marketing strategy.
Last year, a Forbes article declared 2014 “the third annual year of mobile” – and it’s here to stay! 46% of marketers surveyed are using mobile marketing compared to only 23% in Salesforce’s 2014 report.
Smartphones and tablets are increasingly responsible for a bigger portion of all time spent online so every touch point along the customer journey must offer a fully optimized mobile experience.
This may be old news, but it’s something that many B2B marketers are ignoring. Your messaging is still geared towards people, and these people communicate, consume content and make purchases on their mobile devices.
Top tips for mobile in 2015
Don’t wait to test out location-based services
With 67% of marketers planning increase spending in this category in 2015, you risk falling behind if you ignore it. You just need to consider how your business can use customer locations to create a more cohesive journey for your prospects.
For example, during lead nurturing, you could use location based services data to better understand your contacts’ interests and use that to your advantage – perhaps you could pair them up with a sales rep that shares similar interests.
Track mobile analytics
If you’re part of the 23% of marketers who aren’t tracking mobile analytics its time to get involved. Mobile analytics will help you pinpoint exactly how mobile fits into your overall customer journey.
2. Social media
64% of marketers see social as a critical enabler of products and services – that’s up 39% from last year! As such, marketers are increasing their 2015 budgets for social more than any other digital marketing channel.
While Facebook continues to be popular with marketers to engage with customers across the globe, they are also seeing great success with newer social channels such as Tagged, a social discovery website with 300 million members, and Viadeo, a social network geared toward professionals with 65 million members. In fact, Tagged was ranked the most effective channel in Salesforce’s survey — even above big names.
Top tips for social media in 2015
Find channels that resonate best with your audience
Engage in some social listening to see if topics relevant to your brand or competitors are taking place on lesser known social networks.
Don’t schedule ahead with no one available to reply
You can schedule messages on Facebook and Twitter in advance, but avoid this if there’s no one available to reply. Messages posted to social channels should incite customer engagement and ignoring them will only leave them frustrated, especially if the brand posted moments earlier.
Test what works for your own social audience
Track social engagement for a few months, then see what times engagement was highest and lowest. Focus your social efforts around these findings.
3. Online advertising
Surveyed marketers said they planned to shift 38% of their marketing spend from traditional advertising to digital advertising in 2015.
Until not long ago these digital adverts came in the form of the irrelevant banner ads that pop up in unwanted places. Now we are seeing more relevant and targeted campaigns with publishers and social media networks are shifting from earned to paid media. It started with Facebook and now other platforms are starting to move in that direction.
Top tips for online advertising 2015
Invest in remarketing campaigns
Remarketing lets you show ads to people who have visited your website/app before. When people leave your site without purchasing anything remarketing helps you reconnect with them by showing relevant ads as they browse the web, as they use mobile apps, or as they search on Google.
Facebook Ads are not just for B2C
Facebook “sidebar” ads are highly targeted to our online activity and the great thing about them is that you can use them in the same manner as Google retargeting campaigns. You can serve ads to your subscribers, offering whitepapers or even products and services that might interest them.
Invest in advertising strategically
Realise that spending more money on social media won’t work if your social presence is negligent or too self-promotional, so advertising and organic content must work in tandem.
4. Using technology to craft the customer journey
A growing number of marketers today are view their entire marketing strategy as a cohesive customer journey, which we define as all of the interactions a customer has with that company across all channels.
According to recent research, 86% of senior-level marketers say that it’s absolutely critical or very important to create a cohesive customer journey. Another 11% view the customer journey as moderately important.
The amount of data and technology available to us is now at a point where we can tailor our marketing messages to an individual level. From analytics that help marketers create personalized interactions, to mobile applications that create personal brand experiences for every interaction, to CRM tools that let marketers track the span of a customer relationship, the customer journey relies completely on its technological elements.
Top tips for crafting the customer journey in 2015
Use analytics to read buyers’ online body language. A prospect’s browsing and search activity relate directly to his intent; his social sharing activity can indicate future purchase possibilities; and emails opened, links clicked, and content consumed all indicate interest – or a lack of it.
Step away from personas
Personas can be useful when trying to imagine how common types of customers may respond to your marketing, but aim for a single view of each customer instead of thinking too broadly.
Stay on top of social media
Mix up the types of messages that appear on social channels so that customers in various stages of the journey receive content that’s relevant to them. Above all, always reply to individual customers’ messages on social media. At no point in your customers’ journeys do they wish to be ignored.
5. High quality content marketing
Content marketing is a strategy that many brands are already taking part in, but as more get involved the amount of noise only increases. It’s time to start making your content cut through the clutter.
It’s about creating higher quality content that truly solves the challenges that your buyer personas are facing.
Right now we have plenty enough technology to do amazing things. What’s lacking are good ideas and the interactive design craft needed to apply what is already possible to create content which is not only technically enlightened but actually engages creatively, emotionally and commercially.
Top tips for content marketing 2015
Create longer forms of content
eBooks, video courses and emails are great ways to educate your audience. Many marketers are wising up to delivering long form content as a means to deliver tremendous amounts of value and create a connection with their audiences. Dive deep into your buyer personas, talk to your customers and find out what challenges can be solved with content.
Take a look at how Stampwood have created longer content by downloading our 8 Steps to Marketing Automation Success white paper.
Side projects as marketing
Many brands are now building tools and side projects as a means of serving their audience. This includes long form content such as courses, as we discussed above, but you can also create apps and software that truly serves your audience.
6. Better metrics
With an ever-greater number of channels and tactics to test, and immense pressure to deliver results and justify significant program and headcount investment, marketers must keep a tight focus on the metrics that not only matter to their business, but also can truly be influenced.
Salesforce’s survey asked respondents to identify their top metrics for success in the new year.
Revenue growth will continue be the primary success metric that marketers use in 2015, while customer satisfaction is a close second with 30% of the vote. The third most important metric was a tie between ROI, customer retention rates, and customer acquisition, demonstrating that 2015 focus will largely center on attracting customers and engaging them long-term.
Top tips for better metrics in 2015
With so many technologies demanding substantial time and effort, marketers must evaluate which tools will be most effective for their unique business goals.
In a time when customers have more information than ever before available at their fingertips, and when corporate secrets can be revealed with a few clicks of the mouse, brands that are transparent win.
Transparency desire is a result of an over marketed and now skeptical consumer base. Buyers want information they can trust before they are willing to take the next step of talking to a sales person.
This transparency requires a relationship with your community of customers and engaging in ongoing dialogue. You can reduce negativity by directly addressing it through transparency in the information you share.
Top tips for transparency in 2015
Don’t hide your customer complaints on social media networks
Don’t hide your customer complaints – address them very publicly and show how you are using their feedback to improve your product. We all make mistakes and most customers are very forgiving if they feel their problems are being considered.
Let customers help themselves
Help your customers make product tradeoffs to the betterment of themselves by showing the positives and negatives of the different products/services you offer.
It is unsurprising that marketers have chosen to increase social and mobile spends for 2015. Doing so will enable them to extend and optimize the customer journey in a powerful new way inside apps and across devices, creating personal experiences for every interaction with every customer.
No matter which tactics, channels, and strategies you adopt in 2015, remember that every touch point is an opportunity to improve and influence the digital customer journey.