It’s the end of the year, and this is arguably the busiest time of the year. However, while wrapping up end-of-the-year campaigns, company owners forget one very important aspect; planning for 2018!

It is a common misconception that a strategy that worked in 2017 would result be successful in 2018 as well. While the possibility of it is not entirely impossible, the risk of relying on last year’s plan is way too high.  Moreover, your growth can’t depend solely on beating 2017’s performance numbers and ROI. Yes, you can still keep certain aspects that worked for you in 2017, however, before creating your plan for 2018, you need to take a step back and examine what’s trending currently in the industry.

Before indulging in the top 5 B2B marketing trends, here are some important facts about B2B marketing

Cool Facts about B2B marketing

  • 14% of businesses fail due to poor marketing
  • 88% of B2B organizations use content marketing
  • 52% of B2B buyers say they expect half of their purchases to be made online by 2018
  • Just 34% of B2B organizations say they touch leads with lead nurturing on a monthly basis
  • Six of the ten busiest websites are based in the U.S. – but 86% of their visitors come from outside America

While these statistics prove the importance of efficient B2B marketing, there is no strategy which will work if not executed properly. Below are the top 5 B2B marketing trends you should definitely include in your marketing plan for 2018:

1. Influencer Marketing

When a business uses a third-party to promote their brand to boost credibility, it’s called influence marketing. Influencers come in many forms, who generally publish content is various forms like reviews, testimonials, commercials, blogs, etc that advertise your brand. These influencers could be experts in your field, indirect competitors and sometimes even celebrities. More often than not, they are just ordinary online users. It doesn’t matter if your influencer is average online user or an extremely popular celebrity, if your audience trusts them, they’ll be more inclined to try your service or product.

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2. Marketing Automation

Wouldn’t it be ideal if you could automate all those monotonous marketing tasks to save time? Though marketing automation is already widely accepted in the industry, it is predicted that automation tool paired with AI will expand the use of these tools. Now with these tools, marketers are not only able to automate processes, but also nurture prospects with useful content along with guiding them through the purchase. Marketing automation also helps streamline inbound marketing strategies and enhancing communication by delivering content at the exact time the prospects need it.

3. Content Marketing

Experts claim that almost 90% if B2B marketers use content marketing as a core component of their online marketing strategy. And, 2018 will be no different, as content will still be king. For many years, content marketing has been a popular technique to nurture and acquire leads in the B2B industry. As the customer journey becomes longer, businesses will need to deploy plenty of research on different stages of the customer lifecycle. Content marketing is highly effective for B2B marketers to educate potential customers about best practices for their industry. To make your content initiative effective, aside from having a documented content strategy, it is vital to measure content marketing ROI as well.

SEE ALSO: Top 5 ERP Solutions for Businesses

4. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing itself began emerging as a hot trend at the end of 2008. Almost a decade ago? Time flies. Like content marketing, it’s a mature and widely adopted practice today. But the evolving capabilities of existing platforms and continuing emergence of new tools keep this space interesting and dynamic. A dozen citations honed in on five specific trends under the social media marketing umbrella.

5. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

If you work in marketing or sales, you’ve likely heard the term account-based marketing (ABM). It’s not a new strategy; this classic marketing method has been used for more than a decade to secure strategic accounts in both B2B and B2C markets. The proliferation of inbound marketing, however, has given account-based marketing a facelift as marketers begin to incorporate elements of the inbound methodology in their ABM approach.

So, overall, what do these 30+ trends in B2B marketing tell us? That quality content matters. The strategies it supports (ABM, content, automation) will play an increasing important role. And that new developments are creating new opportunities and challenges in areas we thought we knew well (SEO, event marketing, social media). That’s what keeps B2B marketing a fascinating profession.

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