B2B marketing is swiftly embracing techniques that were once only for B2C, and we’ve got five smart B2C tactics to add to your B2B plans for 2020 and well beyond.
Influencer marketing, engaging interactive content, awards events, chatbots, and podcasting are just some of the ways that today’s savvy B2B marketers can add a healthy dose of the B2C experience to your business marketing efforts.
#1 – Influencer Marketing
Even though influencer marketing is still largely associated with the B2C world, you’ve likely noticed that it’s being increasingly used by smart marketers as a highly successful go-to B2B tactic.
Influencer marketing has already accounted for over $2 billion in annual marketing spending in the U.S. alone, and annual growth rates are predicted to from 41 percent all the way to 95 percent. (AdAge)
B2C influencer marketing has relied heavily on celebrity influencers, a combination that has faced a growing backlash and played a part in diminishing trust in marketing.
B2B influencer marketing, on the other hand, incorporates industry experts who have a genuine two-way relationship with a brand, a partnership that respectfully serves both parties equally well, and boosts trust.
While influencer marketing may have had its ups and downs in the B2C landscape, influencers in the B2B world may just be a perfect match.“Invite people to be in your program first and then do some brainstorming with them and see what they like, how they like to interact or what they like to do for companies.” @AmishaGandhi Click To Tweet
Amisha Gandhi is vice president of influencer marketing and communications at SAP*, and she recently shared her B2B influencer marketing insights in one of our new Break Free B2B video interviews, including creative and fun ways that add sizzle and build brand credibility.
Watch and learn from Amisha in “Break Free B2B Series: Amisha Gandhi on Global B2B Influencer Marketing.”If you don’t tie your influencer marketing to business objectives, you can quickly lose track of what you’re trying to accomplish. @Konstanze Click To Tweet
Konstanze Alex of Dell* is another leader in B2B influencer marketing, and along with Amisha and Dell’s Janine Wegner at the most recent MarketingProfs B2B Forum conference, she explored some of the latest trends shaping influencer marketing, in “Tales from the B2B Influencer Marketing Trenches with Leaders from Dell & SAP #MPB2B.”“Influencer marketing presents an opportunity to tap into the established credibility and connections that people in your industry or niche already have with their own audiences.” @NickNelsonMN Click To Tweet
Our own senior content strategist Nick Nelson and senior director of digital strategy Ashley Zeckman have also explored the subtle nuances of B2B influencer marketing, taking “A Journey Through Always-On Influencer Marketing with Ashley Zeckman #MPB2B.”We pride ourselves on cultivating and nurturing long-term relationships with our influencers … which means we are always looking to establish a ‘give to get’ exchange where all parties come out ahead. @ranimani0707 @adobe Click To Tweet
Rani Mani, head of social influencer enablement at Adobe* is another leading B2B influencer marketing expert, and she has shared a number of her unique insights in “B2B Influencer Marketing Interview: Rani Mani, Adobe.”
Trust in marketing has been a growing concern among marketers — one that B2B influencer marketing is squarely seeking to improve — and here are five of our most recent articles that explore how marketers can build greater trust:
- Trust Begins Within: The Vital Importance of Building Internal Trust in Marketing
- Trust Factors: Why Your Brand Should Take a Stand with Its Marketing Strategy
- TopRank Marketing’s Ashley Zeckman Shares How to Build Consumer Trust with Influencers #DSMPLS
- The B2B Marketing Funnel is Dead: Say Hello to the Trust Funnel
- Trust Fractures: How to Avoid Accidentally Eroding Your Brand’s Credibility
#2 – Engaging Interactive Content
B2C brands have spent heavily on bringing consumers engaging interactive online content as a major part of many marketing campaigns.
As the B2B landscape continues to speedily depart from its dusty Boring-To-Boring roots, business customers are expecting content and experiences that are increasingly similar to what B2C efforts have long provided, and engaging interactive experiences exemplify the type of content B2B firms need to offer if they wish to successfully compete.
What could be less interactive or engaging than a hundred-plus page purely text industry white paper?
Today’s B2B customers expect to have access to all of the relevant information that white paper contained, but brought to life through an online interface that’s not only easy to search and navigate, but also chock full of user experience features that make interacting an entertaining experience.“You may need to take baby steps with your audience to get them warmed up to the idea of interactivity.” — Caitlin Burgess @CaitlinMBurgess Click To Tweet
Engaging and interactive content marketing is a subject near and dear to our hearts at TopRank Marketing, and here are five of the most recent pieces we’ve published to help you learn more about building your own:
- How B2B Brands Can Break Into Interactive Content
- The Future of B2B Content: Data-Informed, Interactive, and Influential
- How B2B Marketers Can Make the Most of Interactive Content Tools
- 5 Top B2B Brands Mastering Facebook Engagement
- 5 Top B2B Brands Delivering Exemplary Twitter Engagement
#3 – Awards & Best-Of Pages
As B2B efforts become more like those in B2C, business marketers are increasingly looking for places to showcase their best work, and industry awards events can be a powerful way to share and celebrate cutting-edge work.
Whether it’s physical red carpet award programs where industry professionals gather to honor the top B2B marketing work, or purely digital events that show off lists of winning campaigns, the benefits of highlighting great B2B marketing efforts can be far-reaching.
LinkedIn* recently announced the winners of its “Best of LinkedIn Pages 2019,” taken from submissions to its annual contest — a list that shows how building great content can lead to widespread industry recognition.
We’ve examined the power of award-winning content in the following articles, including several examples from the Cannes Lions event:
- 6 Cannes Revelations About B2B Marketing in 2020
- 5 Content Promotion Tactics To Make You (Almost) Famous
- 4 Ways Brands Can Use Creativity & Comedy to Create Award-Winning Content Marketing
- Content Marketing Gold Rush: How to Unearth Content Gold at Marketing Industry Events
- Content Marketing Lessons from Music Icon Lizzo
#4 – Chatbots & AI-Infused Customer Interaction
B2C companies were some of the first to actively offer chatbots to consumers, however there’s been swift adoption in the B2B world, and with studies showing that people like interacting with powerful chatbots when they can quickly get the answers they seek, more B2B organizations are likely to begin using chatbot technology in 2020 and beyond.
For a deeper look at how chatbots, artificial intelligence, plus augmented and virtual reality can work to your B2B marketing advantage, here are five recent articles we’ve published:
- 5 B2B Brands Innovating with AR & AI Marketing
- Augmented Reality: How to Leverage AR in Marketing With Cathy Hackl
- How to Optimize Customer Experience with AI – Top Tips from Microsoft’s Purna Virji
#5 – Podcasting
Just a few years ago the idea of podcasting in a B2B context would likely have been seen as preposterous by most business consumers.
Now however, as podcasting’s popularity has skyrocketed in general — over 62 percent of podcast listeners say they listen to more now than a year ago — more B2B firms than ever are either starting their own or studying how to do so in the near future.
B2B podcasting is ripe for business marketers, with some 13 million households already including avid fans of business podcasts, and 52 million households including casual fans of business podcasts, according to Nielsen podcasting data.
Our senior content marketing manager Joshua Nite recently made the case for B2B marketers to take a serious look at podcasting, and presented “B2B Podcasting: 20 Stats that Make the Marketing Case.”“B2B marketers who are creating any kind of audio content should consider podcasting as a channel to earn attention, deeply engage an audience, and ultimately drive measurable business results.” — Joshua Nite @NiteWrites Click To Tweet
When it comes to B2B podcasting, making the leap from consideration to implementation can be a hurdle, however Josh has written an insightful guide to help marketers with the process, in “10 Crucial Steps for Launching Your B2B Podcast Into the Wild.”
More B2B podcasting help and examples of top marketing podcasts can be found here:
- How to Promote Your B2B Podcast
- 20 Podcasts To Elevate Your B2B Marketing
- 10 More Marketing Podcasts To Boost Your Business
- 5 Unexpected Content Marketing Benefits of B2B Podcasting
A Brighter B2B Future For 2020 and Beyond
As we’ve explored, by using influencer marketing, engaging interactive content, awards events, chatbots, and podcasting, B2B marketers can add new life to once-stale campaigns, and we hope that 2020 brings you an abundance of B2B marketing advancements to be thankful for.
* Dell, SAP, Adobe, and LinkedIn are TopRank Marketing client.