For most of us, planning for the end of the year marketing campaigns is well underway. In fact, a lot of you may have it all buttoned up.
Many of you are already drafting your 2018 marketing plans. You’re mapping out the year, if only at the 10,000-foot level.
So we thought it would be helpful to round up the likely major trends of B2B marketing for next year. Whatever you’re planning, it should probably include at least a few elements from this list.
1. Customer-centric marketing
This may be the over-arching B2B marketing trend of the year.
This one idea – that the customer’s experience is the first, last, and primary consideration, and that all strategy and tactics serve their (the customer’s) priorities – is the premise of most of the trends we’ll mention here.
Take mobile, for instance. A major trend, for sure. But it’s vitally important because people simply use mobile devices more than they use desktops now. Making your messaging and services mobile-friendly (if not mobile first) is smart because it serves customers’ needs better.
Then there’s the trend of personalization – again, another symptom of customer-centric marketing. Personalization, clearly, puts the customer’s needs and preferences first.
Same goes with account-based marketing, too. It’s just another aspect of customer-centric, aka “customer first” marketing.
This applies again to video. That’s a trend because – you guessed it – people like to watch videos.
We’ll look at each of these trends individually of course, but this might be the one question you have to ask yourself if you want to be cutting-edge in 2018:
Does this tactic/channel/campaign serve the customer’s needs first?
Of course, while we want to put the customer’s needs first, we also have to stay in business. But often, business initiatives or practices have been set up for the benefit of the company, while keeping the customers “happy enough.” We may all have to flip that around in this coming year, and the years to come. It may become necessary to do things that delight customers, while we keep the business needs (profit, mainly) “happy enough.”
This reminds me a bit of Amazon in earlier years … like around 2000. Remember when people were joking about “Amazon.org” because Bezos kept investing in making Amazon better and better and better, profits be damned? Most of his investors were pulling their hair out, but Bezos kept building his platform … kept building for the customer.
Well, who’s laughing now?
For more ideas on implementing a truly customer-centric marketing strategy, including ideas for customer retention, satisfaction, and revenue, see our .
2. Marketing is increasingly data-driven
As customer-centric marketing takes over, we obviously need to know everything we can about our customers. Knowledge of them becomes the ultimate business asset. Turns out, marketing functions are particularly dependent on and sensitive to the quality and accuracy of our data.