According to recent reports for 2010, the focus of B2B marketing isn't very surprising. However, what it says for 2011 and beyond is even more enlightening. Understanding what sort of B2B marketing strategies were successful for 2010, will help you design an effective plan for your business and what you need to be watching out for. Perhaps the most surprising tidbit from these reports is that the expectation of total domination of social media and mobile marketing didn't actually happen. And, according to 2011 predictions, social media and mobile marketing will not break through the proverbial glass ceiling but remains a critical facet of overall strategy.
Direct B2B connections remain with email marketing, by taking out the less interactive aspect of website.
2010 B2B Trends
So, for 2010, the B2B marketing trends include what was successful and how companies are allocating their marketing budgets.
Still the number one way B2B connections occur is through websites and landing pages. Further, what this means is that more companies are spending more time, money and effort on improving their websites.
Happily, email marketing still reigns as one of the critical components of a successful B2B marketing strategy. Companies are also spending more time, money and effort on email marketing campaigns, though just a little less than website development and management.
Perhaps the cornerstone of any B2B marketing strategy is affiliate marketing. Developing, engaging and sustaining affiliate partners remains on the forefront of strategy. Increasing budgets translate into cultivating new partners.
Between SMS, MMS and QR Codes, companies are spending a little bit more time on developing solid mobile strategies. What this means is that most marketers are looking towards the future, developing plans that will carry on for the next several years. Looking at the way businesses connect is very clearly through mobile devices. It's pretty simple to extrapolate this trend: most decision makers have smartphones or Tablets, and are always on the go.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is certainly on a learning curve for B2B connectivity. Sure, it works beautifully for B2C communications, but understanding the importance and incredible effectiveness that social media has in the business world is crucial for sustaining these relationships. If you consider this list as the top 5 ways that businesses are focusing on B2B connectivity, social media is still in its fledgling state. As you'll see, more time, money and focus on B2B social media will take precedent in 2011 and beyond.
2011 B2B Predictions
At this point, the true number one focus of B2B marketing remains website management. However, since this is obvious and won't change over the next several years, we're just making an assumption and moving on to the more interesting and intriguing information.
Companies are looking to invest more into higher quality, more comprehensive email marketing software. This is especially important because what companies are really looking for are more thorough analytical tools for better data collection. Marketers are looking for better data for better B2B targeting, and are willing to pay for it.
Social Media Marketing
Clearly, everyone learned the power of social media marketing from 2010's explosion. No longer are companies shying away from being involved in an on-going conversation with their clients and vendors. Social media is evolving, and where businesses are allocating their online marketing money is extremely telling.
Since the Internet is the greatest communication tool in recent history, developing and cultivating relationships between your clients and vendors is key, but with other businesses. Boil down affiliate marketing into "If you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours." The more affiliate channels you have under your belt, then the faster your message, product and service spreads throughout the web. Spend more time developing these reciprocal relationships; that is what the major players are now doing.
Surprising or not, social media marketing is triumphs over mobile marketing. Why? Well, really, it comes down to the fact that social media marketing is a bit more of an established marketing tactic than mobile marketing. However, many large companies are spending time and money developing for the inevitable: mobile marketing is going to be king in the next couple of years.
2012 and Beyond!
Though it is still up to debate, the consensus is that social media and mobile marketing will take their rightful place at the top of any marketing strategy. However, there isn't any worry or concern that more "traditional" B2B marketing strategies, like email and affiliate marketing, will disappear. Instead, the total focus will shift. As more people purchase smartphones and Tablets instead of computers, it is a natural and somewhat organic evolution of marketing. Establishing standards and goals for social media and mobile marketing now will keep you ahead of the curve. Watch for more tips on email marketing, Twitter, autoresponders and other online strategies in future blogs.