If you’re hoping that 2019 will be the year digital competition cools down and it becomes easier – and cheaper – to reach your target customers, think again. According to a report by Wpromote, “Less than 4% of B2B marketers surveyed plan to reduce their digital budgets in 2019.”
In a competitive environment like the one we’re seeing now, getting the maximum value out of your budget isn’t always easy. If your results have been stagnant – or even declining – it may be time to shake up your marketing mix.
Consider adding the following six data-driven tactics to your arsenal in 2019 for B2B marketing success:
Tactic #1: Data-Driven Personalization
Data from SmarterHQ suggests that “72% of consumers in 2019 only engage with marketing messages that are customized to their specific interests.”
That shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s easy to understand why consumers respond best to messaging that’s targeted to their needs. But what might surprise many B2B marketers is how easy it’s become to craft and deliver these messages.
Thanks to the widespread availability of data tools, delivering personalized messages across channels – including social, email, web and more – is easier than ever before, making it a clear win to add in 2019. Just be sure to do your due diligence. Every time you add a new tool – for personalization or any other tactic – measure your results to ensure it’s producing a positive ROI for your business.
Tactic #2: Account-Based Marketing and Sales
Account-based marketing and sales – through which key accounts are targeted on a one-to-one basis – isn’t new. But consider that, in 2017, only 36% of companies had an established practice of account-based marketing. Data reported on Martech Advisor suggests that “that figure nearly doubled in 2018,” and that “61% now have an established practice.”
Depending on the length of your sales cycle and your average customer LTV, it can make sense to shift your sales and marketing focus to a few target companies, rather than taking a broader approach. Consider adding it this year, as the practice shows no signs of slowing down.
Keep in mind, though, that you don’t necessarily have to put all of your resources in the ABM basket. You can always test the approach with a few of the key accounts you likely already have in mind. If the results are positive, consider making a greater investment in account-specific activities for the remainder of 2019.
Tactic #3: Strategic Content Creation
It’s safe to say that content marketing – once the new strategy on the block – is maturing. Roughly 74% of B2C content marketers say their organization’s content marketing is much/somewhat more successful than one year ago, while 70% of B2B marketers say the same thing.
Because adoption of content marketing has become so widespread, the practice is growing more competitive. As a result, brands need to be more strategic with the kind of content they create and how they deploy it.
Rather than taking an “if we build it, they will come” approach, consider honing in on the content needs of your specific buyer personas, building content that can support multiple funnel stages and investing more than ever before in content promotion.
Tactic #4: Social Media Advocacy
People trust referrals from other people. In fact, “92% of consumers trust recommendations from others, even people they don’t know, over branded content.”
That means you’ve got a powerful sales force at your disposal for acquiring new customers that you’re probably overlooking: your employees.
Having employees share your marketing content and sales messages can be powerful, but employees aren’t often motivated to find content on their own (and content production may be siloed from employees who would share more naturally). Tools like PostBeyond can help, as can creating internal social sharing guidelines and issuing regular reminders.
Tactic #5: Email Marketing
Roughly 81% of businesses look to email as their primary customer acquisition channel. And although there are statistics out there that talk about the huge ROI that can come from email marketing, you aren’t going to see those kinds of returns if you aren’t savvy about how you run your campaigns.
Rather than blasting out generic campaigns, segment your lists and send messages based on triggers when possible. Use A/B testing on everything from your email copy to your sending workflow to further improve your results.
Keep the new GDPR restrictions in mind as well, and make sure you’re sending to the right people. Clearly, state why you’re sending each message, and verify your email list regularly to ensure high deliverability and your email doesn’t end up in the spam folder.
Tactic #6: In-Person Events
This tactic isn’t for everyone, but according to Gary Vaynerchuk, “Leveraging Facebook ads, Instagram ads, and LinkedIn to create and promote in-person events is an unbelievable opportunity.”
If you have an active, engaged audience, hosting in-person events allows you to further cement your status as a leader in your industry, while expanding your reach to new audiences. Depending on how you structure your event, it could even be a powerful money-making opportunity for your company via ticket sales, corporate sponsorship, VIP experiences, on-site product sales or even selling your event outright.
Expanding Your B2B Marketing Tactics in 2019
If your B2B marketing campaigns are performing as expected and delivering strong results, you may not need to make changes in 2019. But if you’re struggling to keep up in today’s competitive environment, these and other tactics may mean the difference between closing the year ahead of projections – or closing up shop entirely.
What other B2B marketing tactics are on your radar this year? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below: