It’s a new year and time to look at the newest trends in digital marketing for 2015!
With every new year comes new projections and predictions about what the “hottest” and “niftiest” digital marketing trends are going to be, but with niche markets, such as industrial B2B (business to business), it’s not that easy to know which trends are going to be beneficial and which ones are, well, fluff.
Well, luckily for you, I just happen to keep my finger on the pulse of those issues so you don’t have to. Below you’ll find some of the most interesting technology and trends that you need to know about for 2015!
Ever since Dick Tracy called headquarters with his two-way wrist radio, we’ve been excited about having functional technology that we can wear. In recent years, this trend has escalated to include things such as Google Glass, exercise trackers, clothes, and more. If this year’s CES show is any indication, this is a trend that will only escalate in 2015.
While this may seem like nothing but useless news fodder to some, the implications for all industries are massive. Imagine a machine that is programmed to work only when its scheduled operator (wearing a smart wristband) is in the “Operating Zone,” cutting down on injuries and increasing efficiency. Or, wearing safety glasses equipped with Google Glass technology that runs a program to guide a new operator through training. We could even take it a step further and have clothes that feature built-in protection elements or that can turn into a chair to support a wearer when they are tired (technology that already exists, by the way).
Currently, you can run out and buy a Fitbit or an LG Smartwatch and that’s about it. But pay attention to things emerging from shows like CES and others throughout the year. We’re going to see a lot of things that could have a huge impact on how businesses are run and how efficiencies are managed. Keep your eyes open for opportunities to test new technology and be open to new devices that may enhance your operations.
Native advertising is another one of those trends that has been around for a while, but which has only started to take hold recently. According to The Guardian, native advertising is “a sub-set of . . . content marketing . . . [including] promoted tweet[s] on Twitter, suggested post[s] on Facebook or one of those full-page ads between Flipboard pages.”
Put simply, native advertising is any advertisement that is made to look like a piece of content so that it can “hides in plain site” within a media channel.
As The Guardian suggests, native advertising is a sub-set of larger marketing activities, but it will be become more prominent this year since more and more people are ignoring banner ads and search marketing efforts. Because of this trend, manufacturers and other industrials need to talk to their marketing teams about how native advertising can be incorporated into their strategies.
Industrials as Educators
Do you have a blog? If you don’t, you should. At this point, a lot of businesses have an area on their site for blogging and posting informational content of different types.
But while many people have caught on to the content marketing trend, not all content is equal. It’s no longer enough to create content; you have to be good at it. This year will see a necessity not only for content, but quality, educational content.
Which means it’s time to start thinking about hiring professional writers (or an agency with them) to put together content that answers the questions your audience is asking and delivers that information in a compelling way. This practice will help establish your brand and help you engage customers earlier in the buying process.
Every year, more and more buyers stop asking regional sales reps questions and take it upon themselves to research online. It has been reported that industrial buyers now, on average, get about 57% of the way through the buying process before ever contacting a rep to ask questions. That means you have to be available and helpful in other ways during that first 57% of the process.
Be careful though. It’s not enough to put out pieces of content for the sake of doing it. Your customers are savvy enough to know promotional fluff from real, helpful content. Even as far back as 2013, a survey done by Sticky Content found that marketers and product managers do most of the online writing for industrial companies, not experts.
So take the time to put together a quality writing team and have a strategy for answering prevalent customer questions throughout the year. Let’s take back that first 57% together! (Hashtag #First57, if you are so inclined.)
It’s common knowledge that most industrials are “behind the times” when it comes to marketing technology and strategies. Many are in the process of determining a content strategy and evaluating the pros and cons of search advertising. So it’s no surprise that deep, micro-segmenting of industrial customer bases hasn’t been the biggest priority for many industrial companies in recent years.
This is a status quo that needs to be questioned, and 2015 needs to be the year that manufacturers and other industrials take the time to dig deep into their customer segments and find ways to nurture their needs through content, next-generation website development, and marketing automation.
To get started, spend the first part of 2015 segmenting your audience into customer types and writing out detailed descriptions of those segments’ frequently asked questions. In the second half of the year, put together marketing campaigns that speak directly to those needs.
This is a process that will take some time, and you will likely need some help. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to ask an agency (we know of one that would be good) to help you. Trust me, it will be worth it in the long run.
There are new and exciting digital marketing technologies, tools, and trends emerging every day. We hope this quarterly column will help you stay on top of them and point you in the right directions. If you have any tech, tools, or trends you would like us to cover in future installments of the Industrial Digital Marketing Roundup, please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Industrial Digital Marketing Roundup,” or contact us directly