There’s so much marketing content out there, it’s easy to get lost among the headlines. We’ve been doing our own new-year trend watching, and narrowed down the list to five that are most relevant for our clients. Today’s blog is a brief introduction. We’ll post more in-depth looks at each topic throughout 2020.
1. Sales enablement
Remember when marketing departments and sales departments didn’t get along? In past decades, it often seemed like it was marketing vs. sales, even though they shared the same goals. Not anymore. Today’s B2B manufacturers and service providers are especially aware of the need for marketing and sales to work as synergistic teams and partners. Research shows companies whose marketing and sales departments are closely aligned see two-digit improvements in win rates.
Sales enablement isn’t a new concept, but it’s moved to the forefront of marketing discussions in recent years as a way to focus on helping sales teams do their jobs. It’s a common-sense approach that’s serving as a new thought framework for some truly innovative work.
2. Transforming the customer experience
Like many businesspeople, you may have spent the past few years defining and designing your customer experience (CX). But customer experience work is never done. Shifting from a product-centric to customer-centric mindset is only the beginning, and requires ongoing effort. The sales funnel is being redefined, or completely replaced by new models. Personalization is becoming more sophisticated and more crucial than ever. Transactions are out; relationships are in. Regardless of your business, your customer’s experience is more than a passing trend—it’s a strategic priority.
3. Interactive storytelling
With 50% of consumers preferring video over other types of marketing content, creating video that stands out is more challenging and more important than ever. Authentic stories connect with your customers in exciting ways and bring brands to life. As digital media evolves, storytelling has the power to transform your marketing.
We’re talking about things like:
- 360° videos
- Digital sales tools that let your customers choose their own paths
- User-generated content
- Augmented and virtual reality
Regardless of what comes next, this is the year to truly engage your customers with stories that involve them on a personal level.
4. Next-level content marketing
Many brands are just beginning to scratch the surface of the vast landscape of content marketing. When you create content that’s valuable to your customers and prospects, you begin building relationships. B2B brands with solid content programs attest to their ability to create brand awareness, educate their audience and build trust. Strategically distributing and optimizing it for engagement are crucial next steps, but can be very labor intensive.
From financial services to health care, manufacturers to nonprofits, marketers across industries are benefitting from formalized content strategies. Are you planning to dive into content marketing in 2020? Or are you ready to up your distribution game? Can your business leverage marketing automation to generate leads? Are you staffed to create new content on a regular basis? It’s okay to start small when it comes to content marketing, but if you haven’t already, 2020 is the year to start.
As we approach a new decade, the gig economy and technology are only going to grow in influence. Tools like marketing automation make it easier to reach more targets with fewer resources. Workforces are leaner and more fluid than ever, and increasingly, it makes more sense for companies to outsource than hire full-timers for every function.
Even if you have a dedicated marketing team, they can’t be expected to be experts in everything. Sometimes it’s just a matter of supplementing skill gaps; often it’s more a matter of available time.
When you look at emerging trends, are you excited about new opportunities, or anxious about not being able to keep up? If trend-watching makes you more nervous than energized, outsourcing some of your marketing functions may be the solution.