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What Leading B2B Experts Expect in 2016

By Nick Price

January is here and it’s time to look forward to what lies ahead for B2B marketing trends in the New Year. Leaders across the B2B marketing industry have weighed in on what to watch for in 2016 and the leading trends that successful companies will embrace. We’ve collected a few of these compelling insights and ideas that will help give your business a boost this year.
Russell Glass, head of products at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, expects relevance marketing to be the driving force of 2016. The B2B industry demands customer-centric marketing for success. Just as Netflix uses its viewer data to produce original content and Amazon uses buyer insights to suggest products, B2B marketers will begin to embrace data to create customer-centric content that reaches their target audience.
Paul Briggs, general manager EMEA & APAC at Madison Logic, predicts that the content marketing revolution will continue this year as brands transform themselves into media companies, enhancing and sometimes even supplanting the trade publications. He points out that savvy brands are snapping up the talent that once worked for the trades, and encouraging these skilled writers to follow their reporter’s instincts by creating useful, informative content, that isn’t about selling. As trades continue to see advertising dollars decrease, leading smartest brands will work with those remaining trades to build content marketing and native marketing strategies. Making intelligent use of banner ads, native ads and other formats will help stir business in the year to come.
Maria Pergolino, Vice President of Global Marketing at Apttus, anticipates growth in account-based marketing as the complexities of B2B processes continue to grow. In the future, marketing teams can help sales teams by establishing industry knowledge alongside customer needs. Just as marketing data analysis grew in 2015, Pergolino predicts that predictive analytics will keep up its momentum this year. The next wave of analytics will allow companies to create automated campaigns based on historical data, combining prospect profile and product bundles.
Andrea Ward, VP of marketing at Oracle Marketing Cloud, expects B2B marketers to embrace cross-channel strategies this year. She points out that marketers have access to more tactics and technologies than ever before, but the technology is only as good as the strategy and the guidance that marketers apply. As long as B2B marketers embrace a cross channel approach, they stand to benefit significantly and see increases in ROI.
For Scott Brinker, editor of ChiefMarTech, the future of B2B marketing lies in interactive content. Once harder to build for B2B marketers, interactive content is now becoming a mainstay among B2B marketers who are moving beyond static pages. Interactive content gives marketers the ability to engage a prospect with relevant content and build relationships. By giving customers the tools to engage with your product demos and to share their needs through interactive questionnaires, interactive content delivers the sales engineering experience directly to prospects. In 2016, expect interactive content to become a must-have for B2B marketers.
Beyond technology and interactive content, B2B marketers will continue to rely on skilled talent this year. Baxter Denney, VP of online marketing and operations at New Relic, thinks that a people-first approach will win ROI for those B2B marketers using marketing technology. In 2016, expect companies to focus on finding the right people to manage their marketing tools in order to get the most value from them. With a demand for talent across every industry, the challenge for B2B marketers is to hire employees with the right talent framework, rather than the right experience.
While no one can completely predict the future, companies that embrace these cutting edge trends and strategies are much more likely to succeed in 2016.
Image via Mike Licht

Nick Price

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