At McBru, we pride ourselves on staying on the cutting edge of tech B2B marketing trends and breaking new ground in strategy and execution approaches to drive impactful business results for our clients. Part of that means keeping our eyes and ears tuned to underlying shifts in the technology market and marketing worlds. The other part is simply being creative, forward-thinking and trying new things to see how they may work.
As we get ready to give 2014 a hearty pat on the back and bid it adieu, we asked our team of expert marketers what they see taking on increased importance or prominence in 2015:
Tech B2B adoption of marketing automation platforms such as Eloqua, Marketo and our personal favorite, HubSpot, is on the rise. We think 2015 will be a crossover year in which it will become more common than not to include marketing automation in the mix. Why is this so? Marketing automation tools provide insights that help optimize marketing program performance and they help maximize budgets in a couple of ways: They introduce efficiencies into deployment of marketing programs, which can mean fewer resources are needed, and they provide closed-loop intelligence to inform allocation of budget into the programs and channels that are driving revenue. What smart tech B2B marketer wouldn’t want that tool in their arsenal?
As social media and content marketing become more and more extricably linked, building and executing a comprehensive content strategy will become increasingly critical for tech B2B marketers. Developing a pipeline of relevant, useful and entertaining content will become a vital part of every tech company’s marketing agenda. Some companies will try to develop this content strategy expertise in-house; others will rely on the pros—such as McBru—for help in developing the content itself, distributing it through appropriate social channels, and delivering metrics and reporting to measure the ROI of content strategy campaigns.
With the increasingly shrinking earned editorial landscape, we believe 2015 will be the year “Go Direct” truly takes off with companies embracing the 360 degree world of:
- PR relationship nurturing, plus
- Direct content publishing on their owned platforms (website, forums, blogs), plus
- Direct content distribution and influencer engagement (social media, e-newsletters, etc).
Mastering all three is the way forward for B2Bs who want to continue to stand out and influence current and prospect customers.
Since going public in 2013, Twitter’s business advertising platform has added several ways to grow followers and drive engagement, clicks or conversions by promoting high-value content. We ran a test campaign for our enterprise storage client this fall to see what the ROI would offer. We were impressed by the variable targeting and performance-based payment options Twitter allows, but the best part of the test was seeing the impressions and clicks blow our goals out of the water! Due to our campaigns amazing results, we predict Twitter’s advertising platform will grow in popularity for B2B brands in the coming year.
It seems like the word of the year in the marketing world was mobile. And in 2015 we will continue to see mobile devices proliferate. As this happens, marketers must optimize content for mobile. This means incorporating mobile ads, responsive websites and emails formatted specifically for mobile viewing. At McBru, we’ve already jumped on the mobile-friendly trend by making our very own website mobile optimized.
Visual content continues to drive exceptional results online. Social media channels are constantly evolving visual content capabilities to provide the most value to their audiences. Twitter is at the top of the list with recent changes—users can now upload native video as well as multiple photos in one post. Looking forward, visual content won’t be slowing down any time soon. Social media channels will have to constantly adapt to keep up, which is great news for consumers looking for new ways to absorb visual content.
If you want to rise above the noise on social media, be prepared to allocate strategic advertising spend into your business plans for 2015. Forrester reported earlier this year that brand interaction on six of seven top social networks achieved an engagement rate of less than 0.1%. Organic Facebook posts are now down to 0.073 percent; Twitter posts at 0.03%. As noise increases, content is seen by fewer and fewer followers, so social advertising will continue to play an integral role for brands to capture mindshare. Dominating the social ad sphere is Facebook, whose ad products continue to improve in sophistication. As other platforms evolve their ad offerings, including Twitter and LinkedIn, spending there will increase, too.