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Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

by | Dec 20, 2017 | Public Relations

A new 2018 trendspotting survey from marketing services firm Informa Engage reveals marketers at enterprise companies prioritize events (83 percent), social media (72 percent) and content marketing (68 percent) as their top tactics to engage decision makers.

The firm recently released its new B2B Marketing Trends Report, which examines the key trends, challenges and priorities facing B2B marketers in 11 high-growth markets.

Results show that marketers’ priorities differ by industry. For example, the percentage of vertical marketers who rely on content marketing ranges from a low of 23 percent to a high of 80 percent.

The top three verticals that rely on content marketing and are planning to increase their spending in 2018 are Technology (80 percent), Industry & Infrastructure (65 percent) and Financial Services (61 percent).

Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

The report also finds that measuring success/ROI is the top content marketing challenge for 55 percent of marketers. In addition, nearly half of enterprise marketers (45 percent) plan to increase their content marketing investment in the coming year and 42 percent plan to increase social media spend.

Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

3 top areas to watch in 2018:

#1 Content marketing will become more sophisticated

B2B marketers will put their knowledge of the buyer’s journey into action and shift from generalized content creation to developing journey-based strategies where content is mapped to each stage. Seventy percent of B2B enterprise marketers use content marketing as their top solution today and 45 percent expect to see an increased investment in 2018.

This refined approach requires deep understanding of audience needs and industry motivators. To succeed, marketers will need to work with knowledgeable partners, such as publishers, to leverage their deep data resources.

Additionally, topic-focused digital environments will emerge with a range of trusted editorial content, capitalizing on the “binging” behavior people have already demonstrated with entertainment content.

Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

#2 Marketing will become more data-driven and personalized

Sixty-three percent of respondents said that audience quality is a critical consideration when selecting a media partner and 46 percent consider campaign performance and/or a proven ROI.

Almost half of B2B marketers struggle with finding decision makers in the right place on the buyer’s journey. Marketers cite that better data—as well as personalized messaging—will play a key role to ensure the right content reaches the right people and creates more authentic engagement.

Also, choosing the right partners, and looking at new ways to use data and algorithms for activities like programmatic media buying is expected in 2018.

Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

#3 Measurement gets closer to single view of user

Over half of B2B marketers experience challenges in measuring the success of their content marketing programs. Demand for data that integrates into large enterprise systems will be expected as will more technologies to provide a single view of a customer.

What marketers measure, however, will continue to evolve. Easier-to-measure tactics are proving their returns on investment and receiving increased funding. And vendors that supply marketing services will need to improve their ability to prove ROI on marketing campaigns to become valued partners.

Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

Download the full report here.

The inaugural launch of the survey was conducted among the Informa Engage brand audiences. The annual survey was fielded online with the objective of identifying key trends, insights and analysis of the B2B marketing landscape to better understand the challenges and priorities in the year ahead. The online survey data was collected August 1 through September 7, 2017. The methodology, data collection and analysis were performed by Informa Engage and conforms to accepted marketing research methods, practices and procedures.

Key B2B comms trends in 2018—three areas to watch

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Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 12 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richardc@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter

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