Insights and trends for B2B marketing in 2014

Prisma Director of Strategy and Communications Sandy Mattson introduces the BMA panel.
Prisma Director of Strategy and Communications Sandy Mattson introduces the BMA panel.

In January, the Business Marketing Association of Arizona gathered marketers together to ask the question: What will business-to-business marketing look like in 2014? A panel of experts at the Prisma-sponsored event discussed the topic. Presented below are some of their insights.

The panel discusses their insights into B2B marketing in 2014.
The panel discusses their insights into B2B marketing in 2014. From left to right, Carla Johnson, Howard Sherman, George Stenitzer and Steve Liguori.

Business Development

  • For a large enterprise corporation, if a project is important enough to do, then you have to treat it like a startup.
  • Buyers are doing 60-70% of researching before connecting with a company in order to minimize risk.
  • Instead of buying a product or service, clients are buying the idea that you’ll take care of them now and into the future.
  • Besides sales and marketing, focus on the business of the brand.

Client Relationships

  • Driving increased revenue should be your end game. If you don’t do that, you’ll have a short relationship with the client.
  • As marketers, give the sales team information that raises the client’s confidence level.
  • Look through the eyes of the buyer. It’s not a straight line from brand awareness to sales. First step is to break the focus away from the status quo.
  • When we do our best job in marketing, we give the sales team information to share with the customer that they’ve never thought of.
  • Client and agency teams collaboration is much different than it was 10 years ago, as is the relationship of an agency and a client. Now, it’s smart folks in a room thinking about solutions to problems.

Cross-Functional Teams

  • A cross-functional team should include:
    • Product
    • Finance
    • Engineering
    • IT/Technology
    • Marketing
  • Get the whole cross-functional team involved from the beginning, including IT team, data teams and digital marketing team.
  • Small teams will do things differently – hopefully better.

Social Media

  • When it comes to your sales team’s use of social media, two things are key: Don’t be dumb and check guidelines.
  • Designate all employees that have 500+ connections on LinkedIn as “LinkedIn Ambassadors.” Give them content six times a week that they can choose to post to their connections.

Tips

  • White papers with a title as a question, rather than an answer, tend to get more traffic.
  • Expect a higher emphasis on “freemiums,” or selling by way of a free trial.

Overall, for 2014, the foundation of B2B marketing will rest on collaboration and preparation. Teams can be small and nimble as long as they possess the necessary skills. And, as always, client relationships are key.

Prisma looks forward to the next BMA event and more informative insights from industry experts.

By Sandy Mattson

Prisma's Sandy Mattson with the BMA panel.
From left to right, Prisma’s Sandy Mattson with Carla Johnson, Howard Sherman, Steve Liguori, George Stenitzer and Scott Salkin.