Una FitzGibbon, Director Marketing, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board
For the next decade, some key principles of B2B marketing will remain true as new trends come into play. Certainly, every business buying team will continue to be made up of people seeking to reach their career and business aims assisted through genuine and useful communication from suppliers.
The seamless and real customer experience (CX) will continue to be central to strategic B2B marketing communications success. As buyers go through different stages from discovery to decision, they consult a wide range of sources navigating through their purchasing journey in consensus mode. They’ll search online, ask peers for recommendations, attend conferences, trade shows, read publications and listen to podcasts.
Search will remain the most critical tool in the b2b marketer’s digital repertoire as up to 70% of web traffic lands through search with 82% now coming from a mobile phone. But with smart help from the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant search is quickly moving from mobile-first to artificial intelligence or AI-first, and with 48% of searches now conducted by voice, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) will need to adapt for voice as the sophistication of voice search and the richness of results delivered across multiple platforms and devices grows.
Geographic or physical proximity to where buyers are – think trade fairs, conference attendance, and office meetings – will continue to be influential on purchasing decisions ahead of domain expertise, search, email marketing and seamless eCommerce through online catalogues. But we can expect by 2025 that the virtual space’s importance will have grown. The need for business to have a differentiated and sharply crafted purpose and point-of-view will be critical for discovery in that new virtual era. Published online thought leadership to back up that purpose and point of view will be necessary and the old craft of storytelling will be the new spine of cut-through for the online publishing agenda. We can expect the response to formats like blogs, PowerPoint presentations and text to fall off as storytelling through film, video and voice (audio) takes off.
B2B communications in the decade ahead will need to be agile to adapt to new trends in technology. At the same time, it will need to unleash the power of clear and distinctive brand purpose backed up with publishing that leans into the credibility of and for the business’ brand story for optimum cut through, engagement and ultimately persuading audiences to take action for business growth.