10 B2B Content Marketing Trends to Watch For in 2018, Part Three

In part two of this three-part series, we dug into some of the best practices when it comes to getting a return on the content you’ve created. In part three, we take a look at some cutting-edge evolutions in technology, how your organizational mindset can impact marketing, and how personalized marketing is reshaping the way people buy.

To stay up to date with the latest in this series, follow Biz 417 and Mostly Serious on Facebook.

8. Embrace the AI Revolution

While artificial intelligence takes hold across a variety of industries, leaders and B2B marketing professionals are taking advantage of the revolution to improve efficiency and advanced personalization.

While entry to AI does include budgetary and experience barriers, Salesforce’s Annual State of Marketing reports that high-performers are more than twice as likely to use AI in their marketing campaigns than under-performers. Fiftyseven percent of marketers using AI already say it’s absolutely or very essential in helping increase touch points with customers and prospects. So while the hurdle is difficult to leap, the outcomes are proving very successful.

While Google, Facebook, and Neiman Marcus use AI marketing to present better ads, detect writing on posts, and prevent data breaches, there are also more practical applications surfacing. The Grid offers AI driven website design, AgilOne is improve customer-engagement, and Saagie is using AI in sales forecasting.

Salesforce also points out that marketers anticipate AI use will grow by 53% over the next two years while half of respondents are already using AI in their marketing efforts. It’s time to jump on the AI train before it leaves the station, folks.

 

9. Enact Structural Change to Positively Impact Content Marketing

Fifty percent of organizations report that structural changes (or a lack of necessary structural changes) have negatively influenced their ability to focus on content marketing efforts. Specifically, companies identify two issues as major obstructions to successful campaigns. First, many organizations report that they lack the time required to create content. Second, marketing stakeholders have a difficult time justifying the cost of content marketing efforts given their delayed ROI. 

Fortunately, a subtle shift in organizational mindset can overcome both of these barriers. Reminding internal stakeholders that content marketing is one part of an overall customer engagement strategy, which necessarily takes time, can blunt the initial force of the upfront time it takes to create content. And, providing members of the organization opportunities, time, and resources to create can generate an authentic account of your value. 

Finally, if you just can’t sacrifice the internal bandwidth, you can find an external partner that will develop and track the success of your content on your behalf. 

 

10. Leverage B2C Personalized Marketing in B2B Content

There was a time not long ago when B2B marketers were hesitant to adapt for B2C styles of marketing, including establishing emotional connections, mapping the customer journey, and building real-time customer tracking. While B2B marketers still lag a bit behind, the tides have turned and they are increasingly adopting proven practices from their B2C counterparts.

Automation tools have made it easier to provide personalized content to individual prospects and existing customers while analytics add depth to your campaign evaluations and adjustments. Website lead finder tools, that add company and contact context to your website analytics, provide an easier way to catch otherwise missed prospects.

The most important takeaway from B2C strategies is to understand there is likely an even more emotional tie to buying for a business. Often times your consumer’s job depends on making the right purchasing decision. They want someone they can trust. They want to know you’re there for them now and into the future, that you understand their needs, and that your product fills the need. There is a lot more crossover there than B2B marketers have admitted in the past.

 

While these trends are important in separating your content marketing strategy from the competition in 2018, it is equally important to ensure your strategy is inline with top performers. Following trends is a powerful advantage when combined with an already well oiled content marketing approach.

This article originally appeared on the Mostly Serious website.

Jarad Johnson is the President at Mostly Serious, an agency that specializes in strategy, digital products, and online marketing. You can learn more about Mostly Serious on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or by visiting their website.

 

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