I was recently informed that every marketing blogger must publish their predictions for the year ahead. So to claim my status as a blogger and not put my right to use WordPress at risk, here are my 12 serious predictions for B2B marketing in 2012.
1. Name recognition will rule. Flooded with content, audiences will turn to recognized sources. High quality editorial, analysts and recognized thought leaders will rise above the clutter based on their names and reputations.
2. Video will come into its own for B2B marketers in 2012. B2B marketers will use video as a way for subject matter experts to more easily create content. In addition, video will move beyond the website and social outlets and will be used to add depth to advertising messages.
3. Content will be designed to be easy to consume and share. Even today’s longer-form content will be broken into smaller pieces that facilitate quick consumption, feedback and sharing, which will be adopted as part of the quality evaluation of content.
4. Inbound marketing will continue to accelerate and will be a competitive advantage for companies providing high quality content. As inbound attracts more attention, 2012 will see more inbound marketing failures from companies that are not committed to content creation.
5. Where is the ROI? The ROI debate will wage all year. While adoption will increase, without clear success measures of incremental business results, many businesses will continue to question ROI.
6. Social advertising. As companies enter social media late, they will turn to social advertising to develop an “audience” and as ways to extend digital media buys while satisfying internal requirements to test social media.
7. Brand advertising will shift towards demand. With complex messages and positions, advertising will be seen as the starting point for communication that supports a brand’s message and position. Creative and measurement will need to shift quickly to meet the new requirements.
8. Real time bidding platforms, ad exchanges and data exchanges will get a real foothold in B2B media buying. Fueled by availability of better data for display ad buying and increased accessibility of these platform, B2B marketers will use these platforms as a cost effective compliment to current online advertising.
9. Marketers goals will shift from capturing leads to nurturing contacts in order to create demand. This shift will extend nurturing from email and phone into advertising and social media in order to nurture earlier stage contacts.
10. It will not be the year of mobile (again). Mobile adoption will increase and marketers will progress. However, many B2B marketers will not have mobile websites or apps that are core to their business and few will make mobile a key consideration in the design of their corporate sites. In September, pundits will point to 2013 as the year of mobile in B2B.
11. Low cost providers and simplified solutions will make marketing automation accessible to even the smallest B2B marketers. This conversion will happen in part as email providers purchase smaller marketing automation providers and as lower cost solutions become a viable alternative to a traditional email service provider.
12. Data isn’t enough, marketers will need to be smarter about how they use data. More B2B companies will adopt media mix modeling to judge the effectiveness of their channel mix and determine marketing’s incremental contributions. In addition, analytics will be used to refine existing segmentation and develop adaptive black box segmentation models.
What are your predictions for 2012 and where do I have it all wrong? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter (@wittlake).