There are two great thing about making predictions.
- If you get them right, you can tell everyone what a visionary you are.
- If you get them wrong, you can say it was only ever an educated guess in the first place.
In B2B marketing, many of these predictions are a combination of exciting new technologies, along with the realisation of trends from previous years.
Here are five of the most talked about expectations for the world of B2B marketing:
Using More Personalisation
Creating relevant experiences for customers has been long been a key goal for marketers. So what makes personalisation a new prediction?
For starters, I’m talking more than including a first name in your mass-produced outreach emails. That isn’t personalised, targeted marketing.
True personalised marketing – as in, custom marketing messages for individuals – demands the ability to understand exactly who your customers are. Not only that, but deliver consistent, relevant cross-channel communications at the appropriate stage of their customer journey.
I don’t just predict that the need for a Single Customer View is the future of B2B marketing – it’s something that you should be thinking about now.
Becoming GDPR Compliant
Many are comparing the arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation to the 'Millennium Bug'. However, as ICO’s Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham points out, your marketing database isn’t going to burst into flames as it strikes midnight on May 24th.
Therefore, it’s unfair to call this a prediction, as compliance with data protection laws is a requirement rather than something that is nice to have.
However, while I foresee many companies scrambling around to meet the implementation date, I also predict many businesses to start using GDPR to their advantage.
Businesses already prepared for the new laws will have a head start. Being transparent about their use of personal data and clear about how they plan to market to people, means they can be creating greater levels of trust and goodwill with their customers. This could set them apart from their competition, too.
Using Machine Learning
No list of predictions would be complete without claims that the robots are taking over. One opinion being that we'll see an increased use of machine learning within marketing analytics and automation. Particularly with the segmentation of audience lists.
Personally, I think many companies will have a long wait to get to this stage.
For example, a report published by Smart Insights found that 50% of companies do not perform even basic levels of segmentation, let alone predictively calculating targeted audiences and deploying rules-based personalisation and dynamic content.
So, any sort of full-scale adoption of these technologies could still be a way off.
Not that Gartner agrees. The researchers recently predicted that 20% of business content will be authored by machines before then end of 2018. Yes, robo-writers.
A study conducted by eMarketer found that CMOs believe Artificial Intelligence will have a significant effect on delivering timely messages, creating dynamic landing pages, and ‘hyper personalisation’ at scale. All this could be applicable to the authoring and placement of marketing content.
However, Gartner go one step further in its belief that natural language technology, drawing from content based on data and analytical information, will assist with the creation of reports, legal documents, press releases and white papers.
Business Development Using LinkedIn
Using LinkedIn to target and engage with prospects is nothing new. However, regular users will have noticed a significant increase in ‘influencer’ posts receiving incredible levels of engagement and comments.
You’ve no doubt seen the posts in question. Those controversial, one-line sentence, click-baiting articles that have been geared to generate lots of shares (because they are easy to read) and lots of comments (usually yes/no or agree/disagree) to promote the article’s visibility.
As these types of viral articles divide opinion, the approach is unlikely to be sustainable for too long.
However, as far as an approach for raising the profile of an individual and starting conversations with potential new business, expect to see a lot more of this before the bubble bursts.
When you think blockchain, immediate thoughts go to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
Blockchain marketing shares the same technology that underpins Bitcoin. It’s being billed as the next big thing to disrupt marketing.
According to ClickZ, the process of ‘tokenizing’ traditional elements of marketing is predicted to materialise in the following ways:
Advertising – Using blockchain for advertising aims to transform the exchange of value between users, publishers and advertisers. A company like papyrus, for example, promote a token-based system that sees audiences choosing which adverts they want to see, in exchange for payment.
Email – A similar model can be applied to email (for example using Earn), where the sender of an email can command the attention of a recipient by paying them (or a charity). Basically, compensating people for the time they give you. For example, a recruiter hoping to approach a star developer or a salesperson reaching out to a hot prospect outside of their network.
Market research – Blockchain can also be used as a way for brands to conduct marketing research, offering payments to respondents.
There are many other ways that blockchain could potentially be used for marketing. AdAge suggest 27 of them for starters.
Do you see a different future to these predictions? Do you think something is amiss? Don't blame me. Blame the robot I got to write this for me...
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- What is B2B customer insight?
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