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THE 2015 TOP B2B
INSIGHTS AND TRENDS REPORT
SOCIAL MARKETING TRENDS
1
INTRODUCTION
Social media has been a powerful B2C
marketing channel for nearly a decade, but
only in the past several year...
1. STRATEGY
With the evolution of social channels,
buyers’ expectations, and trends in online
purchasing habits, how are B...
EVOLUTION OF B2B SOCIAL STRATEGY
Social media marketing has been climbing
the priority list for B2B marketers for over 6
y...
SOCIAL + SALES
In 2015, we will begin to see the early majority
begin to invest time and resources in designing
a social m...
2. TARGETING
What types of content are buyers looking
for online? Targeted, relevant, engaging
content that is related to ...
HYPER TARGETED SOCIAL CONTENT
The convergence of several maturing
marketing trends will make targeted, relevant
content no...
RELEVANCE
Third, these same automation tools make it
possible for you to test messages, content, and
sequences, and when u...
3. PROCESS+TECH
How will new technology and its adoption
within the marketing and sales
departments change the way that br...
When it comes to the process of managing a
brand’s social media channels and aligning
their marketing strategy, no two are...
AGENT OF CHANGE
This is where process and technology come to
the rescue. The right processes must be
strategically put in ...
CLOSED LOOP MEASUREMENT
Then, the technology serves as the glue for
the system. The intranets and instant
messaging tools ...
4. MOBILE
Smartphone and tablet market penetration
numbers are flattening, and mobile devices
have reached ubiquity. How ar...
THE RISE OF MOBILE DECISION MAKERS
The ‘year of mobile’ that marketers had been
touting for nearly 5 years truly came in 2...
BUYING CYCLES
B2B purchasing decisions are long. They’re big
investments. They demand lots of research.
They require demos...
B2B marketers must understand that while
the buying journey is much longer, this also
means that there are many more
oppor...
MOBILE TACTICS
How do today’s B2B marketers put this into
practice? For one, start with your web site,
microsites, and oth...
YOUR SOCIAL STRATEGY IS MOBILE
Understand that social channels are mobile
channels. The lion’s share of time spent on
mobi...
5. SOCIAL ADS
The key social platforms are making it
mission critical to invest dollars to get
content in front of buyers ...
NATIVE SOCIAL ADS BECOME CRITICAL
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach
buyers and influencers in the social space.
T...
AD INNOVATION
And these platforms are rolling out new native
ad products, both through in-house
development and through ac...
Native social advertising works like any other
channel in your digital mix. You need to
budget for it, understand which pl...
ABOUT SOCIALIGHT MEDIA MARKETING
Socialight Media is a B2B social marketing
consultancy whose clients include mid-sized
or...
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2015 Top Trends in B2B Social Marketing

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2015 Top Trends in B2B Social Marketing and explore actionable insights regarding the biggest shifts in social marketing.

Contained within the report are answers to these questions:

-How is social marketing strategy changing in 2015?
-What are the new rules in content marketing?
-How are businesses adjusting their technology and process?
-Why is mobile so important for B2B marketers today?
-How are ad dollars shifting to social in 2015?

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2015 Top Trends in B2B Social Marketing

  1. 1. THE 2015 TOP B2B INSIGHTS AND TRENDS REPORT SOCIAL MARKETING TRENDS 1
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION Social media has been a powerful B2C marketing channel for nearly a decade, but only in the past several years have B2B marketers started to truly adopt platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Slideshare, Quora, and others, and incorporate these social channels into their digital marketing mix. Businesses across all verticals, from Insurance to Telecom, Manufacturing to Oil & Gas, Chemicals to Information Technology, are seeing how these social channels can build trust between customers and brands in an increasingly self-guided buying journey and, more importantly, drive leads through to sales. In this Insights Report, we’ll explore the top five trends in social marketing for B2B brands. These trends are actionable and meant for immediate integration into a marketer’s digital strategy. Without delay, dive in and explore the rich insights contained within this Insights Report, then please feel comfortable reaching out to the team at Socialight Media Marketing with any questions. EXPLORE THE REPORT… 2
  3. 3. 1. STRATEGY With the evolution of social channels, buyers’ expectations, and trends in online purchasing habits, how are B2B brands redesigning their social marketing strategy? 3
  4. 4. EVOLUTION OF B2B SOCIAL STRATEGY Social media marketing has been climbing the priority list for B2B marketers for over 6 years now, since Facebook first launched business pages back in 2009. Before that, any effort put toward ‘traditional’ social platforms, such as corporate forums and blogs, was usually the pet project of an innovator in the marketing, IT, or communications department. Little in the way of marketing strategy was applied at this early stage. These past six years, however, have seen visionary B2B organizations adopt far- reaching social strategies that incorporate the business’s goals at the highest level, and which involve integration and communication between an array of different departments, from marketing, to communications, to human resources, and, most importantly, sales. Which of the following digital channels does your organization tap into for marketing its product? Website Email Webinars Social Media SEO Blogging SEM Display Mobile Apps 91% 89% 77% 76% 64% 62% 59% 57% 28% State of B2B Product Marketing 2015 - Regalia Research 4
  5. 5. SOCIAL + SALES In 2015, we will begin to see the early majority begin to invest time and resources in designing a social marketing strategy – one that isn’t built on superficial KPIs (like comments, retweets, and likes) but is, instead, driven by real business metrics, from inbound leads, to content downloads, and, ultimately, sales. 5
  6. 6. 2. TARGETING What types of content are buyers looking for online? Targeted, relevant, engaging content that is related to their current stage within the B2B buying journey. 6
  7. 7. HYPER TARGETED SOCIAL CONTENT The convergence of several maturing marketing trends will make targeted, relevant content now mission critical for B2B marketers. First, buyers are hit with nearly 3,000 marketing messages per day in our saturated, digitally connected and mobile- first world; from TV, to banners, to social media – message blindness starts to occur. This means that content must be hyper- relevant to your buyer’s mindset; not your generic top-of-mind content. That generic content is out the window; no one is seeing it, clicking it, or acting on it. Second, the evolution of marketing automation platforms means that you can know more about your audience, their patterns, and their buying stage than ever before. This means that you can segment your audiences more granularly than you could in the past. With these new micro- segments, your business should be able to create and distribute content that is inherently more relevant to those buyers because you understand them and their stage in the buyer journey at a deeper level. 7
  8. 8. RELEVANCE Third, these same automation tools make it possible for you to test messages, content, and sequences, and when used in tandem with your new micro-segments, you will be able to optimize your entire lead nurturing process. With these three trends converging, B2B marketers can deliver the most relevant content, at exactly the right time, on exactly the right platform. Now you’re cooking with gasoline. 8
  9. 9. 3. PROCESS+TECH How will new technology and its adoption within the marketing and sales departments change the way that brands interact, and measure that interaction, with their buyers and influencers? 9
  10. 10. When it comes to the process of managing a brand’s social media channels and aligning their marketing strategy, no two are alike because no two businesses are identical. The overarching construct for how marketing and sales interact is fairly generic; however, in practice, it is incredibly diverse. Add that to the fact that the sheer number of channels that both marketing and sales actively use across their disparate activities has exploded over the past ten years. B2B marketing isn’t just websites and email campaigns, and sales isn’t just a phone and an email list. How does content on the brand or target’s LinkedIn page influence the way that sales approaches a lead? How do the interactions on Twitter impact the way that marketing qualifies a lead for sales? What’s the process for routing engaged prospects from Quora into the CRM? The channels have grown exponentially, yet there is nothing connecting these activities so as to ensure measurability and ROI. PROCESS & TECH TAKE CENTER STAGE 10
  11. 11. AGENT OF CHANGE This is where process and technology come to the rescue. The right processes must be strategically put in place that enable the marketing team to pull key insights from their social channels and disseminate to the rest of the organization, from sales to human resources to public relations to research & development and even executive leadership. Swim lanes, checklists, insights templates, and, yes, intranets and instant messaging tools are critical for an organization to stay agile and connected. And these tools enable marketing to become the agent of change. MARKETING PROCESSES Listening & Monitoring Tool Presence Management Tool Reporting & Analytics Tool 11
  12. 12. CLOSED LOOP MEASUREMENT Then, the technology serves as the glue for the system. The intranets and instant messaging tools are connected to social management platforms, which are connected to social CRMs or marketing automation systems. This ensures not only consistent and perpetual tracking of activities, but also measurability across activities and departments. Once in place, the number of disputes between marketing and sales about the quality of leads plummets because the teams have collaborated on the criteria and the systems are in place to automate the handoff. The marketing team can get real-time feedback on messaging, product, features, and more to send to R&D. B2B community managers can assess, triage, and route product/service issues to the right customer service people to fix the problem or address the challenge, and KPIs are consistent and measurable because the teams are using tools that integrate with one another and track activities across the organization. It’s no surprise that the marketing automation industry is at $2B this year. Look for all mid- market and enterprise B2B organizations to take a long look at process and technology this year as it relates to marketing and sales. 12
  13. 13. 4. MOBILE Smartphone and tablet market penetration numbers are flattening, and mobile devices have reached ubiquity. How are you interacting with your B2B customers across all touchpoints during the buying journey? 13
  14. 14. THE RISE OF MOBILE DECISION MAKERS The ‘year of mobile’ that marketers had been touting for nearly 5 years truly came in 2014. Web and search traffic from mobile devices outpaced desktop for the first time in history; marketers knew this was bound to happen, it was just a matter of when. In the past 24-36 months, most B2C marketers have been steadily preparing by optimizing their web presence, shifting media budgets to mobile, building apps, and generally taking a more mobile-first approach to their content strategy. That being said, we have not seen the same urgency from B2B marketers during this span, and this is not totally unreasonable. As a B2C marketer, say Coca-Cola, I need to be top-of-mind more often, and I need to be present earlier, and more frequently, in the buyer journey. I could, of course, purchase a can of Coke at any point of the day, on any day of the week, throughout the year. So a B2C marketer who understands that most of their customers’ time is being spent on the web will naturally begin to shift their digital presence to be more mobile centric. 14
  15. 15. BUYING CYCLES B2B purchasing decisions are long. They’re big investments. They demand lots of research. They require demos, and trials, and case studies, and negotiations, and bulk order processes, and custom manufacturing. That kind of intensive buying decision doesn’t happen while your customer is commuting (i.e. also on their phone), kicking back in front of the TV after a long day (i.e. also on their tablet), or in any other not-at-their-desk situation, of which there are an infinite number where they decide to interact with their mobile device. Or does it… 15
  16. 16. B2B marketers must understand that while the buying journey is much longer, this also means that there are many more opportunities that you can provide relevant, contextual, targeted content to those buyers when they may be receptive to it. Today, that time is always. The place is everywhere. Even if your buyer isn’t placing a multi-million dollar order from their phone while stuck in traffic, they may see that whitepaper you just published while they scroll through their LinkedIn app. They may see that ad for you while they catch up on their trade pubs. They just may click through to learn a little more about your business while they’re on- the-go. At the very least, if your content is compelling, they’ll bookmark it or save it for later. When they’re at their desk. Trying to make that purchase decision. THE IN-BETWEEN OPPORTUNITIES 16
  17. 17. MOBILE TACTICS How do today’s B2B marketers put this into practice? For one, start with your web site, microsites, and other digital properties. Ensure they’re mobile-optimized or responsive. Google actually favors search results where pages and content is mobile-optimized because it creates a better experience. If your content is relevant, and the experience is optimized for a smartphone and tablet, then your visitor is going to stay longer, engage more, and google will reward for that in the SERPs. Is your website mobile friendly? If ‘No,’ do you plan to invest this year? 64% 36% YES NO 78% 22% YES NO 2015 State of Digital Marketing - Webmarketing123 17
  18. 18. YOUR SOCIAL STRATEGY IS MOBILE Understand that social channels are mobile channels. The lion’s share of time spent on mobile devices is spent within apps. Which apps? You guessed it; Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and every other social app you can think of. Having a social marketing strategy is a mobile marketing strategy. Start taking your most compelling B2B content and chipping it into smaller nuggets, easily absorbed and shared through social channels. Create thumbnails for content being shared out to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. Build slide decks that can be published to Slideshare or Scribd. Rethink your content strategy to incorporate a longer, more mobile buying journey. And while the B2B space is just now seeing how powerful the mobile decision maker will become, it doesn’t end with the smartphone or tablet. Going forward, both B2B and B2C businesses will have to wrestle with wearables as a channel. As Gartner has forecasted, by 2020, consumer data collected from wearable devices will drive 5% of sales from the Global 1000. 18
  19. 19. 5. SOCIAL ADS The key social platforms are making it mission critical to invest dollars to get content in front of buyers and influencers. How are brands using social ads to get in front of more buyers at the right time? 19
  20. 20. NATIVE SOCIAL ADS BECOME CRITICAL It’s becoming increasingly difficult to reach buyers and influencers in the social space. This is due not only to the deluge of content that’s available to them, but also due to algorithm changes that the big platforms (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) are making to their news feed and stream products. This is, of course, the main way that people who subscribe to a brand’s social channel can organically receive the company’s updates and content, and the platforms are cutting down on organic reach to encourage brands to spend more on their native ad products. This is the nature of the beast in social marketing; the platforms themselves are free, but using these platforms to maximize the distribution of your content is pay-to-play. The silver lining here is that these social platforms have a staggering amount of data, allowing B2B marketers to hyper target buyers and influencers throughout the buying journey. 4.25% 8.5% 12.75% 17% 2013 2014 2015 2016 9.4% 12.2% 14.3% 16.1% Social Ads’ % of Digital Ad Spend http://www.invesp.com/blog/social-media-ad-spending/ 20
  21. 21. AD INNOVATION And these platforms are rolling out new native ad products, both through in-house development and through acquisition, regularly. LinkedIn, for example, acquired B2B marketing platform Bizo in 2014 and has just launched their Lead Accelerator product, allowing advertisers on the LinkedIn platform to reach buyers and influencers on properties outside of the LinkedIn ecosystem. Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter all offer sponsored versions of their standard updates, and each has its own specific targeting strengths and weaknesses. 21
  22. 22. Native social advertising works like any other channel in your digital mix. You need to budget for it, understand which platforms are most effective for your business, customers, and goals, and then you need to allocate across those most relevant, highest priority platforms. Once you’ve been able to get your feet wet with native social advertising, you’ll then be able to begin optimizing. There are many tools on the market, such as Adspresso, which allow for A/B and multivariate testing, and you should constantly test hypotheses with regard to creative, calls-to-action, targeting, and bidding. While many marketers will decry the fact that the days of free reach on the social web are over, B2B marketers have distinct advantages, with smaller relative audiences, savvy buyers, deliberate buying habits, etc. However, with content being the #1 area of focus and improvement on every B2B marketer’s mind this year, driving qualified traffic to that content through native social advertising is critical to success in 2015. HOLISTIC AD INCORPORATION 22
  23. 23. ABOUT SOCIALIGHT MEDIA MARKETING Socialight Media is a B2B social marketing consultancy whose clients include mid-sized organizations in an array of verticals, including industrial manufacturing, healthcare, environmental services, and construction, among others. We connect social and sales through technology and processes. Our mission is to help businesses connect with their buyers using the new digital toolkit available to today's marketers. Our service set starts with strategy, and focuses on social presence development, community management, listening & monitoring, measurement & analysis, and content services. Socialight Media was founded in 2008, and is powered by a team of consultants who bring unparalleled experience, having collectively worked with nearly 10% of the Fortune 500. Find out how we can build you a social strategy that builds trust and drives leads to your sales team. For more detailed service offerings, please contact us today. Tweet to @AskSocialight 23

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