Have you heard? Leonard Nimoy died, Princess Charlotte was born, Beck won Album of the Year, Apple Watch launched, CVS bought Target’s pharmacy business, Gap said it will close 175 stores, Fitbit rocked its IPO, Greece defaulted, Apple Watch falters — and that was just the first two quarters. Of course, that’s not all — far from it. In fact, 2015 has been a roller-coaster year for the world and for business. Markets are up. They’re down. As a B2B marketer, how do you keep up in an environment where quantum leaps have become a routine part of our 24/7 business cycle?
gyro is here to help. In our recent webinar, B2B Marketing: 6 Emerging Trends in 2015, we identified key areas of change and discussed how to leverage these trends to finish out the year strong. Here’s a rundown:
- Higher UXpectations: The new design dynamic.
Have you talked to your car lately? Or, perhaps, yelled at your thermostat? As the digitizing of our lives continues, B2B marketers can learn valuable lessons in user experience — whether it occurs at work, at home or on the road. From Adobe Slate, a free app that can turn a formerly drab annual report into a rich, interactive visual story, to interactive thermostats and car dashboard interfaces, design is further intertwining the digital and physical worlds. The result? Users have higher expectations and lower frustration levels. Use digital to dazzle your prospects, but don’t keep them waiting, or confused.What caught our eye:
- Adobe Voice and Slate
- Car dashboard interfaces
- VUI — voice user interface
- New forms of mobile navigation
- Crowd power by the people, for the people.
Crowdsourcing is now a 10-year-old term, but crowd power is ever evolving. Now, a new moment is taking place in the civic arena. To meet higher expectations for information access, governments are opening up their data and becoming more transparent. Meanwhile, citizens are organizing themselves in increasing numbers, using digital tools to improve their communities.This civic form of crowd power not only creates new opportunities for programmers and entrepreneurs to help governments become more transparent; but businesses can also tap into this trend to further their own cause-marketing programs, from zoning changes to giving back.Crowd power moves:
- Increased information sharing by government
- Crowdsourcing and co-ops democratizing space
- Micro-improvements making a big impact
- Streamlining commerce for companies and customers.
In a complex and connected world, simplifying the sale has become a business imperative, and several new tools are answering this need quite nicely. Point-of-sale (POS) systems now enable merchants to accept payments via tablet interface. Digital signature technologies reduce transaction time and costs, and mobile “buy” buttons that appear in social media feeds bring the point-of-sale directly to customers, wherever they are.On the flipside of the sale, new customer-engagement tools, such as Intercom™, Gainsight and on-demand customer-care company, Directly, are making it easier for businesses to reach, track and help their customers.What’s simplifying the purchase path:
- Tablet-style POS and business management systems
- Digital signature technologies
- Mobile “buy” buttons on Twitter, Facebook and Google
- New customer engagement platforms: Intercom, Gainsight, Directly
- Content is the new currency, and speed sells.
Real-time marketing is no longer a nice-to-have for B2B. It’s an expectation, and brands are realizing those who break the story first stand to reap the biggest rewards. To stay ahead of customer demand and the competition, many are opening real-time newsrooms, leveraging them to mine trends and insights and creating content in response. These newsrooms can be scaled up or down as budgets and staffing allow, while content delivery systems, such as Meerkat’s streaming video service or Facebook’s Instant Articles, help feed the insatiable appetite for information in real time.Just in:
- Brands are deploying real-time newsrooms
- Real-time content delivery via Periscope, Meerkat and Instant Articles on Facebook
- Tweets appearing in Google search results
- Rapid evolution of the tried and true.
Think it’s enough to optimize your website for mobile? Think again. Traditional media platforms and advertising models are changing before our very eyes, meaning many go-to marketing strategies can no longer run on autopilot.Take mobile, for example. Ad formats are further adapting to user behavior, with scrolling image progression on Instagram, motion posters and five-second video shorts offered through Vessel, and cinematic pins now available on Pinterest.From interactive infographics to episodic video series, familiar mediums are finding new ways to attract and engage customers.
Traditional marketing tools, unconventional uses:
- Mobile-first ad formats
- Pay-to-play social media economy
- Branded landscapes
- Next-gen infographics
- The tech transformation of B2B marketing.
Leave it to high tech to make marketing more personal. People-based marketing is on the rise, and Facebook is leading the charge. With its recent acquisition of Atlas, a back-end data provider, Facebook can now attribute behavior to individual users. For marketers, that means cohesive cross-screen messaging is now easier to achieve. And just as consumers are seeking a seamless ad experience, marketing automation vendors are responding to marketers’ demands for a simpler approach. Customized suites give marketers one-touch access to all the tools they need.Once the leads come in, many marketers are turning to predictive analytics to determine the most promising prospects.Trending high-tech marketing techniques:
- People-based marketing
- Expansion of marketing automation
- Predictive analytics in B2B
It’s been long said that change is the only constant in business. However, there’s probably never been another time when the stuff of science fiction is becoming the new reality, on an almost daily basis. Rather than be awestruck, determine and execute those manageable ways you can turn the wonder of it all to your business advantage. In the era of 24/7 quantum leaps, that’s where success lies.
To watch the full webinar, click here.
Pamela McWhorter, Senior Copywriter, gyro Cincinnati
As a copywriter at gyro, Pamela has had the pleasure of bringing ideas to life for a wide range of clients, including First Data, Tate & Lyle and SAP. She’s addicted to chocolate and aha moments, when words and pictures come together to create a great creative concept. Pamela’s a suburbanite who avoids driving a minivan at all costs. Her hobbies include raising seven-year-old twins with her husband.