It's been a tough couple of years and marketers have felt it
We’ve all heard it, we’ve all said it, we all know it – the last couple of years put everyone under incredible pressure, and the effects continue to be felt today. Within the marketing industry, a clear example is the lowering of marketing budgets this past year to just 6.4% of company revenue – a reduction of over 5% in one year.
Despite this, 71% of CMOs say they feel optimistic. And a big reason for their positivity has to be the many opportunities that have been created by the greater acceptance of digital communications among buyers, businesses, and the world at large.
Only 20% of B2B buyers say they want to return to sales conducted in-person. They also expect the businesses they deal with to behave more like consumer companies. With buyers now using even more channels, getting your message heard is more challenging than ever.
The insights below will help you make your business really stand out by balancing impactful short-term tactics with effective long-term brand-building strategies in the Age of the Adaptable Marketer.
How can I adapt to meet these expectations and help my business be heard above the digital noise?
Driving revenue with impactful short-term tactics
Content is still king when it comes to making an impression: almost half of all B2B buyers will view 3-5 pieces of content before they consider talking to anyone on your sales teams. So putting the time and effort into producing and promoting relevant and engaging content is still extremely worthwhile. But what content?
Gartner predicts that, by 2023, the volume of impressions delivered through TV or streaming channels will soar by 60%. Video may have killed the whitepaper for good.
44% of senior decision-makers now listen to podcasts regularly, and almost 80% of people are doing their podcast listening on their smartphones when they’re on the move.
People really do love to listen, and we’ve written about audio marketing in more detail to help you work out the best way to get started.
44% of people are now using social media more than they were before the pandemic. Why does this matter to you? Because business people are people too – they just happen to be at work, and hop straight onto social media whenever they have downtime.
It’s encouraging, then, that LinkedIn is the organic content-sharing platform of choice for 93% of B2B marketers, and that there’s been a 30% year-on-year increase in B2B companies using Instagram to reach buyers.
It’s important that you remember the 80:20 rule in your company’s social channel output. 80% of what you share should be content that relates to or reflects on your customers interests, while only 20% is for directly promoting what your company does. Because anyone who’s always talking about themselves and how great they are is quickly going to tune everyone out.
Navigating the digital blur between B2B and B2C
of B2B organisations think they should act more like B2C brands
of B2B organisations think they should act more like B2C brands
B2B buyers increasingly expect the businesses they deal with to behave more like B2C companies. Fortunately, 82% of b2b organisations agree.
To deliver on these expectations, you need to start by ensuring your business is digitally agile and alert – you’re 21 times more likely to close a lead if you respond to their initial contact with you within 30 minutes. This likelihood skyrockets to 391% if you manage to respond within one minute.
Which is why it’s disappointing to learn that one in three sales reps choose to wait until the next day before responding. This is where a well-calibrated chatbot could be helpful – 57% of executives say chatbots deliver significant ROI from minimal effort.
Measuring long-term brand-building effectiveness
On average, it takes 5-7 impressions for someone to remember your brand. How do you strengthen that recognition? Music has been proven to help increase brand favourability by up to 46% so perhaps some sonic branding should be on your hit list. Logo colour can also improve brand recognition by up to 80% (it’s worth considering that a third of the world’s top 100 brands feature blue as their primary colour).
With 70% of people stating that brand trust is more important than ever, and 95% of CMOs worry about establishing trust, marketers have a real opportunity to move away from the ‘product delusion’ of talking about the features and benefits of their product and services and emphasising the qualities that inspire real trust.
People are more environmentally and socially conscious, and the reputation of your brand needs to speak to those concerns. 99% of business leaders consider Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) efforts when making buying decisions, and 95% of CMOs agree that brands should lead the way in finding solutions to environmental or societal issues.
Put simply: doing good is good for business.
Leading with purpose works: 71% of consumers would buy from a purpose-driven company over an alternative of the same price. When it comes to businesses that lead with purpose, buyers are:
- 4x more likely to buy from you
- 4.1x more likely to trust you
- 4.5x more likely to recommend you
- 6x more likely to defend you from criticism
Getting more people singing your song
If you still think B2B marketing means ‘serious and boring’ you’re missing a real opportunity: people want brands to make them smile!
A smiling, happy customer is a loyal customer, and they can generate more customers for you – more than 75% of B2B buyers will consult with 3 or more sources of advocacy before making up their minds who to approach. But currently, as few as 11% of salespeople actively ask for referrals.
The other faces you want to be putting smiles on are those of your employees.
Over the next year, Gartner predicts that 90% of B2B social media marketing strategies will incorporate scaled employee advocacy programmes.
When employees share company-created content online, it achieves an impressive 200% higher click-through-rate than the content shared on the company’s own channels. Despite this, 57% of sales teams still aren’t making good use of the content marketing teams create.
Be the change you want to see in the world of B2B
Traditional, linear marketing models no longer have the power they once had, and your success now relies on how effectively you are able to adapt to changes in the buyer journey.
When you consider that 62% of Gen-Z and Millennial buyers believe brands have the power to create communities based on passions, common interests, and key social trends, the opportunity for the adaptable marketer becomes about helping your business to stand out by making a real difference.
Bringing your customers into your journey and involving them in the future of your business is what will make you stand out against the competition and build a loyal and long-lasting customer community.
The B2B landscape is changing fast and opportunity awaits in The Age of the Adaptable Marketer…
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