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From the Trenches

5 MORE Marketing Trends for Your 2015 B2B Marketing Plan

Mike Sweeney | December 18, 2014
2015 B2B Marketing Trends Part II

If you read my last post, which spurred this follow-up post, then you know that you have nine business days to get your B2B marketing plan done for 2015. Get on it, slow guy. Like now.

While the discussion of the five content marketing trends that should fuel your B2B marketing plan was an active one, it was limited to content-driven marketing. Yes, content should be a major part of your 2015 marketing plan, but it’s not the be-all and end-all for many organizations.

So let’s go broader. Here are the five somewhat-misunderstood B2B marketing trends that everyone ought to be paying attention to in the planning process.

1. Truly Integrated Marketing: Not Social. Not Content. Not Search. All of Them. Together.

For a while there, companies were disproportionately focused on search marketing. And then, they were focused on social media marketing. Next, content marketing. All with a little mobile mixed in.

What in the hell ever happened to the old marketing mix, where everything was supposed to fit together? It’s as if the Internet bubble (all eight of them) turned marketers and business strategists into sheep. Follow the proven formula, and you will be safe, Mister or Miss Marketeer.

Fortunately, it seems that brands, both mainstream and independent (a nicer way of saying “small”), have finally recognized the power of truly integrated, online-meets-offline, digital-meets-print, let’s-make-it-all-hum-together “campaigns.”

It’s about f-ing time.

My suggestion: Go old school. One message. Multiple mediums and formats.

If you’re at a loss for how to do this, take a look at what Airbnb is doing with integrated campaigns. This is not JUST content marketing, people.

2. Mobile: Think Mobile Doesn’t Matter for Your Business? Check Your Numbers, Hotshot.

Are you targeting a 60+ audience?

No? Then get your act together on mobile.

If you’re reading this and you don’t understand why you should be paying more attention to mobile, then maybe you should find yourself a new profession. If you’re still willing to learn, consider the following:

  • Analytics firm BIA/Kelsey has predicted that mobile search queries will overtake desktop queries by 2015.
  • Mobile broadband will continue to grow rapidly and by 2015, one billion people will use it as their only form of Internet access, which is 28 percent of all users globally or 13 percent of the world’s population.
  • According to Google’s Mobile Search Moments Study, three out of four mobile searches trigger follow-up actions, whether that is further research, a store visit, a phone call, a purchase, or word-of-mouth sharing.

While you may not be able to act on all of my trend suggestions, this is not an area you can choose to ignore if you want to consider yourself a true — and hopefully successful — marketer for 2015.

3. Sales/Marketing Alignment: Stop the Nonsense.

There’s no denying it — while most business leaders know the right thing to do is to get their sales and marketing teams aligned, few are successful in that endeavor. One would think that with the increased visibility into marketing’s impact on revenue, along with the rise in sales-enhancing technology platforms such as marketing automation, this situation would be rapidly improving. In most cases, though, it’s not.

Sadly, the cause of the lack of alignment can usually be traced to old-school leadership at both the C-level and sales executive levels — the gray-haired, closed-minded types who can’t get out of their own way. Because they don’t trust their marketing leadership, or understand marketing technology, they view both as pointless.

And yet the data confirms that these types ought to just get out of the game. MarketingProfs tell us that organizations with tightly aligned sales and marketing have 36 percent higher customer retention rates and achieved 38 percent higher sales win rates.

Make this the year that marketing gets out from under the thumb of sales to form a harmonious, equal marriage.

4. Responsive Design: Just How Important Is It?

If you don’t really know what responsive design is, don’t feel too bad. It’s one of those terms the techies made up to frighten the average business person into statements like “Oh shit. Someone just told me that our website isn’t based on responsive design. They called it RD. We’re screwed.”

You are kind of screwed if you don’t address this sooner than later, but don’t let the techies scare you. Responsive design is a simple concept. People use desktops, smartphones, and tablets to view your website and emails. You want these websites and emails to adjust elegantly to the browser on each of these devices, so that your users go through a similar, but device-tailored experience.

My advice on this is basic. If you’re building a website in 2015, make sure your scope of work includes details on what is included in responsive design and review some live samples from the person or company that will be doing the work—to ensure you’re getting the real deal.

5. Print: Fine, Maybe It’s Not Dead, Yvonne.

Don’t call it a comeback. Print’s been here for years. Rockin its peers and putting suckas in fear.

Thank you, LL Cool J. You just made my job a lot easier.

Print is not dead. It has just changed. Just ask my colleague, Yvonne Lyons, who has been busy over the past year helping our B2B clients conceptualize, design, and publish everything from new-school brochures to full-blown books.

Use print to enhance that integrated marketing campaign. It requires a clear understanding of your audience, but if you have that, print allows you to dive deeper into your subject matter with those folks, attract higher-profile contributors, offer enhanced design and visuals, and more.

No, print is not dead, friends. It’s a new opportunity for you.

Conclusion: Dive In.

If you feel like you’re lagging behind on these five trends, rest assured that you are not alone. Most B2B organizations are already addressing some — but certainly not all — of these trends in a comprehensive manner.

I remind you again — you have nine business days. The clock is ticking.

Need more planning help? Start by identifying where you currently stand with marketing via a marketing assessment. Contact us to learn more.

Related Resources

About Mike Sweeney:

As Right Source’s co-founder and CEO, Mike Sweeney creates, plans, and implements our vision, mission, culture, and strategic direction as well as serving as an advisor to our clients. Mike received a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in marketing from the University of Notre Dame and has more than 20 years of experience in B2B marketing strategy, including digital, content, and marketing technology. You can find Mike on LinkedIn.