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Preparing for the Future of B2B Marketing

There was once a time where outbound sales, email marketing, and having a website were enough for B2B companies to attract customers. Furthermore, salespeople are no longer the go-to resource when a company needs to make a purchase. Thanks to the introduction of social media and content publishing sites, B2B companies have been forced to redefine how they communicate with potential customers.

According to the latest report from Hubspot, there are three key disruptors B2B companies start preparing for: video, virtual reality & artificial intelligence, and social media. So how are B2B marketers and leaders planning to address these significant changes in business?

Main Disruptor: Video

Yeah, we saw this one coming about a year ago, right? But few B2B companies have embraced the idea of video. As of now, marketers and leaders alike have scattered perceptions on the role of video in their organizations. Some deem it as a crucial component to their marketing success. One survey respondent says, “We’re moving towards more live videos and video content on social media and adapting our approach to be less ‘in-your-face’ and more subtle to acquire conversions.” Another respondent does not dispute its importance, but is rather concerned with the ability to scale.

So what does this mean for your precious blog articles? Will written content become obsolete? Not likely. Blog content is still very important, especially when it comes to SEO, but content writers may also need to expand their skillset to video. Whether we like it or not, we’ll need to integrate video into our strategy. Think about how your B2B company can address pain points, challenges, or provide helpful insights or other value through live video and video content.

Potential Disrupter: AI and Virtual Reality

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and virtual reality are technologies just barely scratching the surface of their potential. We’ve seen it slowly creep into digital marketing – with chatbots, and automating monotonous tasks. It’s also likely we’ll see AI technologies take off to help create a hyper personalized experience.

Augmented reality is definitely a trend right now. Look at the popularity of Snapchat, and Instagram’s determination to overtake them with these interactive filters and features. It provides an entirely new way to interact with brands and companies.

Virtual reality allows people to be immersed into a digital world. While we may be a while from virtual reality technologies becoming easily accessible for business, we can expect to see more VR experiences taking over this year.

Constant Disruptor: Social Media

Ah, the necessary evil of social media. There are constantly new features and content types to test, shifting algorithms, ad types, or completely new platforms to grow your presence on. With having very little control over the platforms themselves, it can be difficult to prove the ROI of social media.

With the growth of messaging apps such as WeChat and Whatsapp, many marketers feel as though email marketing may become obsolete from their jobs. Our email boxes get filled quickly – and Google intelligently sifts through each email to categorize it into the appropriate folder. The emails you’re sending out are already being organized into folders based on the type of content and the interactions of the intended reader. In other words, the email program determines whether or not the user will read it.

How Can I Prepare?

First and foremost, it’s important not to panic. As marketers and business leaders in today’s world, we have to be flexible to adapt to rapid change in order to succeed. Revisit your strategy – you do have a strategy, right? Identify ways to integrate live video and video content. Even though you’re a B2B company, it’s critical to get creative and think how you can connect with potential customers.

Next, you must understand that you need social media. Your customers are using it – and tons of B2B companies have seen massive successes on LinkedIn and Facebook. However, you must have a strategy, defined goals, and be flexible to adapt. If you can’t focus on social media, hire someone who can help you – it’s a vital piece to your sales funnel.

Start with harnessing the power of video and mastering social media. Both these pieces will be critical to your company’s marketing success.

Chalease is the Marketing Manager of Iron Springs Design. A creative juggernaut with a knack for creating mind-blowing digital strategies, social media campaigns, and branding initiatives, she's helped small businesses produce powerful results and attract not just customers, but loyal fans.