Keep these four trends in mind when planning out your marketing efforts in 2017.
Marketo recently revealed its predictions for upcoming marketing trends for 2017. It’s a list of technologies, strategies, and tactics that the marketing software automation company believes will be important to focus on over the next year.
We culled through these predictions to highlight what the supply chain industry needs to know. Below are four trends marketers should have on their radars.
4 marketing predictions to watch out for
1. Customer-Centric Marketing
For B2B companies, customer-centric marketing means buyer-centric marketing. Because the cost of switching vendors is increasingly low, and the buyer is faced with endless choices, it’s likely that 2017 will see “an aggressive shift in attention toward increasing customer spend.”
This means increasing your focus on building and cultivating relationships. Marketo suggests that companies balance their marketing spend to “invest in building engagement, brand loyalty, and advocacy with current customers rather than just finding new ones.”
It’s likely that technology will play a big role in this 2017 trend. Your company needs marketing team members who are tech-savvy and who know how to analyze and respond to customers’ digital signals.
Focusing on the customer also means building authentic connections and a move toward “giving as much as you get, if not more.” We’ll see more and more customer advocacy, which means that marketers need to focus on taking relationships beyond the transactional. Marketo recommends “providing them with opportunities to showcase their expertise and be recognized by their peers as leaders and innovators.”
The key takeaway: 2017 is the year of building quality relationships.
2. A New Generation of Marketers
We used to live in a marketing climate where specialization was the key to success — no longer is that the case. Your business needs leaders who are “full-brain marketers,” multi-talented generalists who are comfortable handling challenges from the creative design to demand generation — and beyond.
It’s time to abandon thinking in silos. Marketo recommends that your marketing team be in constant connection with other teams within the company. “B2B marketers can now use technology to ensure their sales team have visibility and participation in programs — versus being isolated from critical activities.”
This kind of structural shift requires openness and humility. Marketers need to be willing to take questions and ask them, and to be open to making changes based on increased intra-business collaboration.
Marketo predicts that 2017 will see the perfect storm hit the marketing world, bringing an intersection between fulfilling customer needs, storytelling, and digital interactions. Your company needs to look at its organization and build deep expertise across these three functions. “Any marketing organization that’s missing one of these three functions is destined for failure,” warns Marketo.
This new generation of marketers means that top-performing B2B companies will be making optimal use of technology and data. You need to be investing in resources and technology to drive data enrichment and data governance activities to set a good foundation for your account-based marketing strategy. This also means working closely with sales to understand their thought process for lead prioritization and acceptance.
Here, the key to success is open communication within your organization.
Marketo has laid out a new equation for how marketers will incorporate techniques to engage buyers at every stage of the cycle:
Inbound + Broad-based lead generation + Account-based marketing + Paid media personalization + Direct marketing = Successful customer engagement
What does this mean for the supply chain? Your company can use a combination of these strategies to engage prospects. For example, combining account-based marketing (ABM) strategies with broad-based strategies will allow marketers to build long-term customer relationships, while bridging their advertising and marketing technologies to demonstrate ROI.
All this focus on ABM solutions will allow marketers to become more efficient, taking advantage of cutting-edge technologies. Marketo suggests creating a detailed ABM plan for all departments, which includes creative marketing ideas to test, as well as new technologies.
It’s time to harness the technology at your fingertips.
4. Content & Channels
2017 is likely to usher in a return to value over volume, both in content assets and in content distribution channels. It’s time to stop creating content for the sake of creating content and to shift toward “deeply listening to and understanding the customer.” This will allow you to cull some of the content and channels that aren’t benefitting your business.
It’s easier than you might think to put this trend into practice. Marketo suggests starting by “deeply understanding the content you already have, and taking the time to evaluate what resonates and what doesn’t.” Next, you can create a plan to keep your content strategy going forward in a meaningful way.
As far as channels go, user experience, particularly for mobile, is going to be increasingly important. You can prepare for this by adding structured data to your site, and by providing valuable content. It’s important to keep a watch on the changing user behavior and expectations, as it will be the biggest driver of change in SEO.
As algorithms continually change, and chronological timeline updates increasingly being phased out, social media channels will put more focus on individuals over brands — this means an absence in brands showing up in feeds organically. You can rise to this challenge by making real-time engagement a priority.
We’ll also see ad inventory becoming tighter and more expensive across social platforms. This means you’ll need to become more specific about the audiences you target, and make your offers increasingly personalized and relevant. Marketo adds the hopeful prediction that “advertisers will benefit from more ways to track offline conversions and non-immediate revenue.”
As email technology advances, email campaigns will begin to predict the content you want and really need. The end result here is “targeted, personalized communications optimized for each person, based on their online and email behaviors.”
The takeaway for content in 2017 is: quality over quantity.
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