Seven Trends Not to Worry about in 2014
the Ambassador of Fun and a B2B marketer at Brookfield, Wis.-based Johnson Direct LLC.
Here's the intro to Johnson's piece: "It’s almost tragic how so many B2B marketers still just rely on the old formula of trade shows, advertising in industry publications, catalogs/direct mail and a captive sales force or distributor network to market in today’s digital communication age. In case you haven’t noticed, the times are changing.
More progressive B2B marketers have added regular email blasts and enewsletters, as well as SEO/SEM, digital banner ads and landing pages/microsites, but they are still in the vast minority.
In 2014, we will likely see a large shift in the way B2B marketing is conducted and those who adopt and test will see big gains while those who cling tight to the model of days gone by will be left standing and watching as the competition runs by."
Johnson goes on to outline seven trends to watch. We agree on a number of key points, but we also see it a bit differently. For one, industrial marketing evolves slowly. It's a conservative business done with a handshake and eye contact.
Modern industrial marketers have exceptional websites that speak directly to their buyer personas. The best of them offer valuable educational information and polite assistance day or night. Digital banner ads on industry sites are like advertising on the moon. That's why the best journals don't deal with them. Sponsoring informative email newsletters is the proper way to push your message if you need more than adwords. Most advanced industrial brands use these tools: industry association meetings, technical journals, industrial directories, sales representative organizations and distributors. Sure they use email and every other form of instant communication but it's private.
We also agree with Johnson that, in 2014, there will be a continuing shift in techniques. However we think it will be slow. And right, there is no magic bullet.
1.) Continue to reflect on what you have to say of value to your industry
Everyone can contribute to the success of their industry. From educating students through internships to participating in industry associations, the successful industrial marketer will generate good content and publish it to their audience. Publishing isn't the hard part today!
2.) There are only a few important places your customers hang out
Contrary to popular belief, the engineer that is purchasing a $2 million mining truck doesn't start his search on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. He goes to the last person he purchased that type of equipment from, or he asks his associates in the industry.
3.) Traditional PR is still good, dust off that ancient handbook
There are new buzz words for PR like "Native Advertising," but it's still common sense. Leaders in industry are leaders in communication. You can't run a multi-national conglomeration without enjoying herding the hundreds of medium size "cats" that are your divisions. Which means you answer all of their questions and concerns. You hired the best and the brightest and you provide them the resources they need to succeed.
4.) When will customer databases ever catch up?
Smart databases that mine the internet for information on your prospects and follows their every move on your website are great to a point. But how do you integrate their trade show appearances, personal visits and phone calls? Now that's available to the big boys but still in the dark ages for medium size companies. We recommend that you do the best that you can keeping track of your customers' and prospects' communications, but teach your employees how to use their smart phones. They are wonderful tools, but no good if you think you don't have to learn how to text. $10,000 orders for wear parts are being texted. Text is one of the most reliable communications. Have you noticed that you don't get the call or the voice mail until the next day but the text always comes instantly?
5.) Social Media is an uncomfortable media
Facebook is great for a company newsletter. LinkedIn is even better for a broad circle of sales reps, association management and folks looking for a job. Top flight industry forums are one of the most valuable marketing tools but never talked about in the public media. News groups are still used in some industries. It's your job to find out if you're missing out by not knowing about these important resources. Many times they won't show up in a search engine.
6.) Video keeps coming
You can't say anything in 10 seconds, but shorter videos are a great trend. Wistia.com will give you the tools to improve your video but understanding how it is being viewed. Sort of like Google's In-Page Analytics for video. The best recommendation is the get a good quality remote mic for your smart phone. Most smart phones take great video for web speeds, you need to be sure you have great quality audio.
7.) Media Mix is changing
You're just going to have to weed out the publications that haven't kept up their internet reflections. Search on the publication's name and see how many pages the search engine has indexed. Compare those numbers among your media. Some will be tens times more than others. The underperforming ones may suffer form the "Emperor's New Clothes" fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. But for really accurate media selection you need to survey the customers and prospects that email you from your website for technical information. Most will let you know what directories they visit, publications they read and shows they go to. You should go to them, as well.
Thanks Grant, for the inspiring post.
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Chuck Lohre's AdVenture Presentation of examples and descriptions from Ed Lawler's book of the same title - 10 Rules On Creating Business-To-Business Ads