It’s the time of year to prepare budgets for next year’s marketing outreach and marketing communications programs. Here are three major areas to consider as you work to make your organization a top performer in customer and prospect engagement.

There are many creative strategies and tactics spawned by the shift to mobile and other tech trends which you should consider incorporating into your B2B marketing mix. Let’s jump right in.

I.  Mobile Technology for B2B

  • Website:  If you haven’t upgraded your site to be mobile-friendly, then 2018 is the year to do it. WordPress sites are relatively low cost and the new themes have very good responsive layouts for mobile. You can edit content yourself and some functionality is easy to add.
  • Wearable Devices: By the end of 2017, one in four people will have wearable devices. This is a screen that’s even smaller than smart phone screens. How will this highly emerging technology affect behavior? This is a comprehensive article on the changes coming from wearable devices:  Someone with a wearable device is able to just “glance” at their watch to see their email; eliminating the need to take an iPhone out of their pocket. One service that has cropped up to take advantage of this is Wearably, which offers subscription services to deliver “your news to any wearable device.” Also, consider that email subject lines might be viewed on a wearable – so make them concise.
  • AdWords for Mobile: According to an August 2017 report from eMarketer, 73% of marketers plan to increase AdWords budgets. And 34% plan to increase LinkedIn Advertising. Over the next 5 years, mobile advertising budgets will grow from 10% to 32% of the total ad budgets.

II.  Dynamic Email Content:

Email is still considered the best marketing investment for B2B companies. Twenty-five percent of CMOs surveyed (see the attached chart from Econsultancy) said their results from email marketing were excellent, and 68% said they were excellent to good. Now it is possible to gather, store, and utilize information about your audience in a Marketing Automation System. You can use this information to create customized, automatic, dynamic emails. We aren’t just talking about using the person’s name, but also changing images, text, headlines, subject lines, and the from address. What can you customize? Anything you can collect and categorize, from geographic location to demographics (age, sex) to past transactions or areas of interest. In addition to using dynamic content in your emails, you can increase ROI by adding in incentives. This might seem like a B2C tactic, but your business audiences are people too. And they love a deal. Offers can include coupons, maybe an invitation to a special event, a giveaway at a trade show, gift cards, a white paper offer or a free consultation. Please note that the wrong kind of incentive could be damaging to your brand, doing more harm than good. Make sure the offer is relevant and attracts the right kind of people.Ten of the right responses is better than 100 responses that can’t buy.

III.  Content Marketing Update

Content marketing is sighted by 61% of marketers in the chart above to have brought good and excellent results. And according to Content Marketing Institute research, 85% of B2B marketers cited one of their success factors as doing a better job with content creation. What does doing a better job mean?

  1. Communicate the right messages: We think that content marketing is an effective way to communicate your key differentiators. These are the one-to-two things that you or your product do better than your competitors. If you can’t tell the difference between you and your competitors, your prospects won’t be able to either. So, effective content marketing needs to be relevant to your key messages.
  2. Planning: We are seeing that the top performing firms are all using a documented content marketing strategy. A written strategy will help you stay on track, feel less challenged by, and recover more quickly from any setbacks and justify a higher percentage of your marketing budget for content marketing.
  3. Calendar: Develop a calendar that is realistic and follow it. Make sure to add video, slide share, images and infographics to your content calendar.
  4. Measurement: A large percentage of the top performing firms are doing a good job measuring their ROI for content marketing. Measurement will feed into next year’s planning. One of the best ways to measure ROI is using a Marketing Automation platform. Marketing Automation pulls together email marketing, social, content and response to help you determine what is working and what needs retooling.

When budgeting for content marketing, we recommend making sure you have an adequate budget for all three top activities: strategic planning, content development, and measurement. We didn’t mention social media in this review of budgeting priorities. Although most marketers are expected to continue to increase spending in social media, overall 30% of marketers said they were getting poor results from social media. As a whole, B2B marketers need to learn how to better engage using social media to increase results before increasing budgeting. With Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, and YouTube being the top four social outlets for B2B, your content strategy should include sharing in these venues. How much should you budget for marketing? In a CMO survey of B2B product and service firms, the average budget is 7.4% – 8% of sales revenue. Need help with your strategy and planning?  Connect with us here.

Post by Barbara Irias