Insights on Ideas and Trends that will Impact B-to-B Companies in 2017

Each quarter, Marketing Works explores trends impacting our clients and their ability to meet business goals. We also uncover potential opportunities that will help companies engage audiences to close sales faster. Here is a snapshot of the insights uncovered for this quarter and their implications for business-to-business (B-to-B) companies.An overwhelming majority of CEOs do not trust their marketing teams to deliver.

Insight #1: Brand is critical to a company’s growth strategy.

It’s always been important to have a strong and consistent brand, but it’s more critical than ever before for companies to align brand positioning with what’s most important to their customers.

What this means for you:

  • Take steps to understand the customer journey – what prospective and existing customers want and how you fill the gap.
  • Educate your sales team and equip them with tools that align with what customers need.
  • Increase awareness of your expertise in the marketplace to demonstrate how you fill the gap – leveraging media relations, social engagement, video and thought leadership.
  • Measure your share of voice as it compares to your competitors on an annual basis.

Insight #2: Mobile isn’t just for consumer brands anymore.

Mobile devices are becoming an increasingly integral part of daily business life. Think about how many times a day you check email or read a work-related article on a smart phone or tablet. You’re not alone.  If B-to-B companies want to capture their customers, then mobile must begin to play at least a small role in their marketing strategy.

What this means for you: 

  • Most websites are already optimized for mobile, but many are not tracking mobile search. It’s important to optimize your website for Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) by adding in the plug-in and then enabling AMP tracking in Google Analytics. This will give you a clearer picture of how your customers are interacting with your website on mobile devices.
  • Focus search engine optimization on search phrases versus keywords and how your customers describe the services your company offers (think voice search).
  • Incorporate video into your marketing mix. They don’t have to be high production. The more genuine the videos, the better. Remember to keep them short and sweet.
  • Leverage location-based mobile advertising to capture audiences at tradeshows and increase awareness of your booth and offerings.
  • Build mobile-friendly marketing materials – think fast downloads versus high resolution graphics, lots of images and headlines (less text) and scroll-friendly formats (think one column to eliminate resizing).

Insight #3: Measuring the right things is more critical than ever.

Measuring marketing’s impact on the bottom line is one of the most challenging things for marketers and the C-Suite. In fact, a recent survey found that an overwhelming majority of CEOs don’t trust their marketing teams to deliver.

What this means for you:

  • Train marketing teams to think like a CFO.
  • Determine your customer acquisition cost and how much of the total spend is owned by marketing (e.g., webinars, direct marketing campaigns).
  • B-to-B marketing departments should focus measurement on how they drive qualified leads and corresponding potential revenue for the customers, sales influenced by marketing activity and increase brand reputation/awareness.
  • Use a three-tier approach to understand your state of customer relationships and then build a corresponding action plan. Measure customer perceptions (engage in annual interviews or consistent focus groups to understand areas you excel, propensity to refer (conduct an annual Net Promoter Score® survey) and engagement levels (how much they open and interact with campaigns, participation in events).
  • Analyze employee satisfaction and engagement annually (at minimum).

What’s your business’ marketing focus in 2017? Our team of strategists and execution specialists can help you accelerate success this year. Contact us at .

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