Marketing developments sometimes take us by surprise: Few predicted how violently Google was going to upset the SEO apple cart in 2012. 2013, however, figures to be a different story. This time, we have a pretty good idea about what changes to expect and how to take advantage of them. Here’s what’s topping my list.
First and foremost is mobile marketing. Whatever doubts I had about mobile marketing in the B2B world were erased at the PACK EXPO convention in Chicago. Attendees swarmed the booths, most of them with their heads buried in smartphones. Exhibitors and attendees were using mobile devices to share information, submit inquires and view product/equipment videos and slide presentations. We already know that B2B buyers and influencers use the web extensively for research and transactions. In 2013, a B2B without a mobile-friendly site will lose out on leads and frustrate customers on a very large scale.
Next up: Content marketing. Let’s put it this way: if a B2B wants to generate leads, improve its search engine visibility, establish credibility, and improve brand awareness and brand affinity, it must create authoritative, relevant, useful and engaging content. SEO programs can no longer succeed without a solid content component. As more and more companies are realizing this, we are seeing a greater investment in content marketing leading to better content quality and more sophisticated syndication techniques. B2Bs that fail to market content will be two-dimensional in a three-dimensional marketplace; in other words, next to invisible — and thus next to irrelevant — on the web.
Third: ROI pressure. Business forecasts range from gloomy to catastrophic; there just aren’t many upbeat signals at the moment. That being the case, “soft” marketing activities will get a lot of scrutiny, and “hard” marketing activities that aren’t generating leads or fulfilling some payback expectation won’t get a free pass, either. For this reason, I expect 2013 will be particularly hard on social media and print advertising. Unless leadership sees a clear benefit, these areas make big targets for cuts. On the other hand, if firms are smart, they’ll put more effort into conversion optimization in order to get more bang for their buck out of their existing digital marketing assets and programs.
OVER TO YOU
What do you see as the big marketing developments for 2013? What changes are you making to your 2012 game plan?