Disruptive innovations in Mobility, Social, Analytics and Cloud along with rapid adoption of concepts such as Internet of Things, Virtual Reality and Artificial intelligence by customers has drastically altered the rules of engagement. The greatest impact these technologies have had is on the buying behavior of today’s B2B customers. Their decision making has become akin to B2C consumers, fickle, highly informed and demanding both immediacy as well as convenience.
Organisations on their part have responded with gusto by transforming their delivery models, but most importantly adopting and sometimes creating innovative technological solutions. With that said, organisations are likely to witness more evolution in the marketing technology space, with innovations in mainstay concepts and emergence of newer trends.
While some advancements are likely to unfold over a longer time frame, in 2017 businesses are likely to leverage and invest significantly in these 5 B2B marketing technologies. According to Sesha Rao, MD India Operations at InsideView, following are the Marketing Technology trends to watch out for in 2017.
Real time marketing
B2B customers find themselves more empowered to demand immediacy and convenience. Today they are better empowered to gain knowledge, compare and dismiss a product or service without allowing a single intervention from a sales representative thanks to rapidly evolving search and social media technologies. It is evident then that organisations will continue to invest in sharpening their ability to respond to events and engage customers in a time frame that it can drive a positive business impact.
The ability to speedily respond to customers across their life-cycle will prove to be a critical differentiator in years to come. While at present its use is prevalent in B2C segments for promotional, customer experience and customer service activities, B2B players are likely to invest more in using real time responsiveness in areas such as product enhancements, service deliverability and quicker resolutions to challenges customers are facing.
Supplementing investments in Real Time Marketing, organisations are likely to explore technologies that will help them develop responses to anticipated customer behavior or customer need. The ability to understand future outcomes will empower organisations make better decisions as well as anticipate demand for newer products and services.
Taking real time to the next level, investments in Predictive technology will enable organisations to be proactive rather than reactive towards customer requirements. It will help B2B organisations focus sales and marketing investments and initiatives on areas which are likely to draw better response. Organisations will supplement traditional demand generation programs with predictive analytics to bolster lead generation and nurturing efforts,
Digital Marketing Hubs
The proliferation of data centric marketing means that Digital Marketing Hubs will remain in vogue over the next year. Organisations will move beyond mere automation to drive better context in marketing initiatives and messaging. Digital marketing hubs with their ability to create templated audience profiles, follow and nurture active leads and curate relevant data points on prospects / customers and marketing activities will continue to drive marketing efficiency.
Gartner the world’s leading IT research and analysis firm remarks “Digital marketing hubs will have an impact on the business on par with ERP, substantially contributing to a transformation in the practice of marketing and creating an adoption imperative in almost every large enterprise globally.”
Leading B2C brands are creating immersive and experiential marketing using Virtual Reality to keep consumers hooked. Reigning in this fantastic technology to suit B2B marketing initiatives will be the next big thing. Virtual Reality gives marketing teams the power to demonstrate the prowess of their product, especially when customers are in the consideration phase. Marketers can put prospective customers through interactive demos that simulate lifelike scenarios allowing customers to experience how the organisation’s product can interact with the prospect’s workflow.
The technology comes in at a pivotal time when marketers struggle stand out in an online environment saturated by content. Virtual reality will enable B2B marketers to unleash their creativity and capture their customer’s imagination in novel ways.
Modern B2B buyers expect B2C like personalization. Relying increasingly on digital channels expectations of B2B customers around personalization are rising. It is expected of sellers that they engage different decision makers within the same organisation with relevant content that will alleviate decision making. Besides that, it is also expected that accessibility to solutions and services are made available on the terms and conditions of the customer.
Marketers are taking strides to adapt their strategies and tactics accordingly. B2B organisations too are working to leverage technologies that create better access to real time customer behavioral data to feed into predictive tools. This ensures contextual engagement with multiple buyer personas across different organisations.
Organisations are likely to leverage personalization to deepen customer engagement, drive revenue growth, improve loyalty and retention thereby bolstering customer lifetime value.