Predictions are always difficult. Most of the time our mind drifts toward the impractical and tries to find the next Facebook, Twitter, or Apple innovation. But as most of you know finding these gems and making those predictions are near impossible, and best left to the likes of Fred Wilson and John Doerr.
When it comes to B2B marketing, it’s best to focus on the practical as the B2B space typically lags a bit behind on the adoption curve. Here’s three predictions for how I see marketers taking advantage of what we already have:
1. Real Time Analytics – With the growing pervasiveness of marketing automation software and tools like Omniture’s SiteCatalyst, now more than ever marketers have access to meaningful information about how people are interacting with their websites and content. In the coming year, marketers will focus on interpreting that data and providing their sales force with actionable, real-time information that can accurately identify not only who to call, but also what to call them about.
2. Virtual Events – Marketers are constantly seeking new ways to generate demand, express their thought leadership, and cultivate relationships. In 2011, we’ll see more marketing dollars shifting to virtual events as the format itself has become mainstream and an effective way for B2B professionals to learn, interact, and share.
3. Corporate Blogging – The benefits of blogging are hard to ignore. To date the biggest challenge to adoption has been resources. In 2011, we’ll see B2B marketers solving this problem and developing their blogs into open dialogues with their prospects, customers, and partners.
Those are my predictions, nothing sensational, just practical. Marketing budgets will remain tight as we continue to slowly ease our way out of the malaise left by the recession. The smartest marketers will stay lean, hire and keep the best people, and build brands people want to be connected with.