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The digital landscape evolves rapidly — new trends seem to surface weekly. And as digital natives become decision-makers at their companies, they’ll expect B2B marketing to merge with broader digital innovations.

Here a four B2B digital trends that will keep companies competitive in this changing marketing landscape. 

1. Personalization

As account-based marketing (ABM) becomes a “must have” in B2B digital marketing, the focus on personalized content is taking center stage.

B2C consumers expect companies to understand their needs and deliver exactly what they want — and this expectation is bleeding into B2B decisions. B2B clients expect the same personalized approach as they make their way through the sales cycle.

Developing a personalized experience starts with truly understanding the target audience. When you know the motivations, questions, and concerns each audience segment experiences at each stage of their customer journey, you can develop content that speaks directly to them. Building relevant and helpful content that aligns with that journey continuously adds value and keeps a company top of mind.

How to take advantage of this trend:

  • Develop detailed personas for each target audience.
  • For each personas, map out the customer journey.
  • Determine what motivations, questions, and concerns the audience is experiencing at each stage.
  • Generate content tailored to each audience at each stage of the customer journey.

Incorporate the appropriate content into marketing efforts to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time across the right touchpoints.

2. Thought leadership and search engine optimization (SEO)

Long-form content has long been used to elevate the thought leadership of companies. However, with changes in search behavior, it takes a slightly different approach to be effective.

Google continually updates the search algorithm to ensure users receive the most relevant answers to their search queries, and for the last few years, long-form, quality content has become key. As long-form pieces make their way to the top of search results (i.e. featured snippets), users realize their value as well. The focus has transitioned from quantity of pieces to quality of content, allowing for B2B companies to leverage this trend by developing professional, research-rich content that strategically incorporates appropriate keywords.

Since informative and educational content is only impactful if the right audience is able to find it, an SEO content strategy is vital to being discovered. Find the most beneficial keywords for your company and allow those keywords to inform the content. By focusing on long-tail keywords that answer common questions, you will gain all the SEO advantages while producing content that is relevant to the right audience.

How to take advantage of this trend:

  • Audit current keyword rankings of both yourself and your main competitors to set a baseline and uncover gaps.
  • Conduct keyword research to determine keyword opportunities
  • Develop content ideas based on those keywords.
  • Generate long-form, quality content optimized utilizing SEO best practices.

3. Attribution modeling

One trend that is influencing B2B digital marketing is attribution modeling. Attribution modeling allows companies to determine the way a conversion or sale is credited to associated touchpoints throughout the conversion path. Since the marketing funnel is rarely a linear path, potential customers are likely to have many touchpoints throughout their journeys. Marketers can dive into analytics from every digital platform and gain new insights into performance across all media.

The default attribution model in Google Ads is called “last interaction.” When using this model, the final touchpoint a user interacts with before completing a conversion would receive 100% credit for the conversion. When you simply look at the last interaction without understanding the additional touchpoints that lead to the conversion, you potentially miss out on valuable knowledge that can help you better understand your audience and how they interact with your content/brand.

Let’s walk through a scenario: A potential customer finds your website by clicking on one of your ads. They browse your website, then leave without completing your desired conversation. That prospect is then served a remarketing ad for a white paper. They click on the ad but decide not to complete the form to download the white paper. The next day they are on LinkedIn and see your post for the same white paper. They click on the post, are directed to your website and complete the form to download the white paper.

Depending on what metrics a company uses to track success, incorporating different attribution models can provide additional insights into the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Types of attribution modeling:

  • Last interaction: The last touchpoint a user interacts with prior to a conversion or sale receives 100% of the credit for that conversion.
  • First interaction: The first touchpoint a user interacts with would receive 100% of the credit for that conversion.
  • Linear: Each touchpoint the user interacts with through the conversion path shares equal credit for that conversion.
  • Time decay: The amount of credit assigned to each touchpoint is determined by the amount of time passed between the interaction and the conversion. The touchpoints completed closest in time to the conversion receive more credit than previous touchpoints.
  • Position based: The first and last touchpoint are both assigned 40% of the credit and the remaining 20% of the credit is equally split between all other touchpoints.
  • Data-driven: Each touchpoint is assigned fractional credit based on the role it played in the conversion path. Data-driven modeling is only available in Analytics 360 and for campaigns that receive 15,000 monthly clicks and 600 monthly conversions.

Using different types of attribution modeling, companies can understand the role each touchpoint plays in the conversion path. By understanding the effectiveness across all mediums, companies are able to streamline their conversion paths and develop more effective touchpoints. The best way to determine which attribution model makes the most since is to test each different model and observe which insights can be gathered for each model. The attribution model that provides the most insight into which touchpoints have been effective throughout the conversion path is the most beneficial attribution model.

Google Ads offers a Model Comparison Tool that enables users to compare the results of up to three attribution models at the same time. This tool can be used to understand how different attribution models can offer a variety of insights into a conversion strategy.

How to take advantage of this trend:

  • Determine which attribution model would provide the most benefit to the company.
  • Set up the Attribution Modeling Tool in Google campaign manager.
  • Use the Model Comparison Tool to compare different attribution models.
  • Analyze the results and adjust campaigns as necessary.

4. Voice search

Voice search is an emerging technology transforming the digital landscape. Between the surging popularity of smart speaker devices and the increased accuracy of Google’s voice recognition technology, voice search will likely continue to have a high adoption rate.

Since people are able to speak faster than they can type, voice search provides a more efficient user experience, especially when using a mobile device. As B2B decision-makers spend more time on their mobile device and seven out of ten executives report using a smartphone or tablet when first initiating the purchasing process, it is also likely that voice search will begin to play a role in B2B digital marketing.

To get ahead of the voice search trend, it is important to understand how voice search is changing the digital landscape.

The influx of voice search has changed the format of search queries, leading to a stronger emphasis on long-tail keywords that incorporate questions and searches that are more conversational in nature. These specific search terms usually have a lower search volume, but they also tend to produce a higher level of conversions.

Digital assistants search for the most relevant content when providing answers to questions and a majority of that information comes from featured snippets. Since voice search queries and text search queries are different, optimizing for voice search provides a greater chance of claiming a featured snippet spot.

Companies can leverage this B2B digital trend by developing content that aligns with voice search queries and taps into these conversion-focused long-tail keywords.

How to take advantage of this trend:

  • Research long-tail keywords that include a question (e.g., who, what, where, when, why, and how).
  • Develop content that aligns with these keywords and includes/answers those query questions.
  • Create an efficient mobile experience by focusing on page load times and mobile responsiveness.
  • Dedicate time to gaining traction in featured snippets.

Digitally focused initiatives are now integrated into nearly every marketing plan. Cutting-edge concepts such as personalization, thought leadership and SEO, attribution modeling, and optimizing for voice search can elevate B2B digital marketing and bolster competitiveness in an increasingly digital world.

To learn more about incorporating B2B digital trends into your marketing efforts, contact us.

About the author
Michelle Myers is a Content Strategist at DeSantis Breindel. Focused on a content first approach and leveraging her background in digital marketing, she builds strategic content plans that align client’s business goals with the needs of their audiences.

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