6 B2B Marketing Trends That Stand the Test of Time

Every few months, there are shiny new business-to-business (B2B) marketing techniques presented as the must-know strategies for the months and years ahead.

However, other trends have stood the test of time and are well worth implementing despite being around for a while. Here are six of them.

1. Referrals

In today’s saturated media landscape, people have numerous sources of information competing for their attention. But various studies show that they still pay attention to peer influence when making B2B decisions. The research concludes that B2B referrals stimulate initial sales, plus have higher lifetime values than non-referred customers.

Also, research about B2B lead generation in 2018 found that referrals/word of mouth accounted for the top source of leads that year. More than 80 percent of respondents mentioned that was the primary way they found leads.

A referral program is a relatively low-tech component of a marketing strategy, but it’s one that could pay off for you.

2. Advertising in trade magazines

Many people insist that print media is dead, but that’s not necessarily true. Research shows that despite the widespread availability of digital magazine apps, more American adults read print magazines than digital ones. Plus, if you decide to advertise in a print magazine, the same advertisements typically appear in the digital versions of the publications, too.

A different investigation examined the impact of B2B trade magazines in Canada. The survey polled more than 6,500 respondents and found that 86 percent read their magazines regularly or always. Moreover, three-quarters of respondents believe that trade magazines are the best place to learn about industry best practices. That indicates they view those publications as trusted sources of information.

The Canadian study also did not find a significant difference between the percentage of people who read only the print or digital versions of the magazines. Some decided to read both. Even though that study was specific to Canada, it illustrates why you should not automatically write off magazines as outdated vehicles for your marketing aims.

3. Email

In the early days of the internet, people were thrilled to receive emails and fascinated by the new way of communicating. Now, individuals are so inundated by emails that they feel overwhelmed and anxiously try to reach the “inbox zero” milestone. Regardless of the number of emails many B2B customers receive, they still pay attention to the content in those messages.

A study published this year by Ascend2 and GetResponse focused on how today’s B2B marketers use email and whether they still deemed it valuable enough to devote portions of their marketing budget to it. Firstly, 67 percent of those surveyed said they noticed a moderate increase in the effectiveness of their email campaigns. It makes sense, then, that 63 percent of them also planned moderate increases for their email marketing budgets.

4. Blogging

Blogs are accessible channels that can help people get to know your B2B company and how it could help them. The results of a 2018 HubSpot report about inbound marketing showed that 55 percent of respondents cited creating blog content as their organization’s top priority. Blogs introduce B2B buyers to your company’s voice and show them what sets you apart in the marketplace.

It can also feature content that equips B2B customers to take meaningful actions. For example, Joe’s Garage Coffee provides roasting and packaging services for clients in the private label specialty coffee sector. The company’s relevant blog features information to help people succeed in the industry. The topics covered range from how to know when it’s time to choose a new private label coffee supplier to how packaging choices relate to coffee.

People often read blogs to learn things. The team behind the Joe’s Garage Coffee blog knew that and remained mindful of that reality while choosing what to cover and how to best appeal to B2B buyers.

5. Case studies

Case studies help B2B companies interest their clients in new offerings by answering the “What’s in it for me?” question they often ask. B2B buyers don’t want mere promises that something a company offers will meet their organizational needs. Case studies give them real-world examples and hard data that reveal the kind of return on investment (ROI) a company could get by making a particular purchase from a B2B company.

A recent Demand Gen report profiled the content preferences of B2B buyers. It showed that despite newer forms of content like podcasts gaining momentum in the B2B market, case studies are still relevant for many reasons.

As a start, 79 percent of respondents said they used case studies within the past year to research purchasing decisions. Also, 64 percent of the people polled said they shared case studies with colleagues. By doing that, they help a B2B company extend its reach.

6. Social media

The first social media site launched in 1997. It was called Six Degrees and helped people make new friends who had similar interests. Now, there’s more of an emphasis on staying in touch with people you already know instead of creating new connections, but social media still reigns supreme.

Using social media in strategic ways can boost B2B brand awareness, plus influence the vendor selection process when B2B customers decide which company deserves their business. With those things in mind, it’s essential to depend on social media to further the impression that your business is a thought leader that understands today’s challenges. Better yet, it has solutions to solve them.

Marketing methods that endure

There’s no harm in using some newer marketing methods to diversify your strategy. But, this list shows that it’s not wise to rule out older marketing methods due to age alone.

The ones with staying power reach people through familiar methods that are well-known and trusted by everyone involved. 

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