B2B marketers around the world are searching for ways to leverage digital marketing, to reach decision makers more efficiently. We’ve researched the trends and innovations in the industry, to see where B2B marketing is headed.
Ww believe that B2B marketers should take into consideration upping their efforts in content marketing (building on relevance and personalization using re-targeting and similar tactics), mobile marketing (to support immediate decisions), video content (including live video) and social media (including reviews and personal, segmented channels), all in accordance with their pre-determined KPIs.
B2B Digital Marketing Trends
Gili Rosenbaum-Tumarkin, June 2016
Introduction: Digital Marketing for B2B
• Digital marketing is a top priority for B2B
• One of the greatest changes in B2B stems
from the fact that most current B2B
researchers are Millennials – and they are
used to using digital platforms for any
research needs. Therefore, marketers
need to adjust tactics, to reach this
• According to a survey of marketing
executives by Gartner (2015), from 2015:
“B2B companies are showing a growing
appetite to reach customers directly with
digital commerce initiatives and they are
looking to engage customers directly to
better understand their needs,
preferences and behavior.”
Gartner, “Gartner Survey Reveals That Digital Marketing Is Now
Mainstream”, Nov 2015; Regalix, "the State of B2B Marketing", 2016
Online vs. Traditional: Which is your
first priority? (Regalix, 2016)
Leading Digital B2B Marketing Tactics
• The Regalix study found
that digital marketing was
the most effective method
for 37% of B2B marketers,
while 11% chose traditional
(“offline”) marketing, in
• Website (86%) and email
(72%) led the pack of digital
channels that marketers
found effective in meeting
their goals in 2015, followed
by SEO (54%) and social
Which of the following digital/online distribution channels proved to
be effective in meeting your marketing goals in 2015?
Regalix, “State of B2B Marketing 2016”, Jan 2016
Digital B2B Marketing
• According to eMarketer, marketers expect content marketing and marketing automation to
have the most impact on business in 2016.
eMarketer, “B2B Marketing Automation—What's New in 2016”, Apr 2016
Demographic Shifts Affect B2B Marketing
• According to a Google/Millward Brown
report, 89% of B2B researchers use the
internet during the B2B research process.
• The report shows that in 2014, 18-43
years old accounted for almost half
(48%) of all B2B researchers, an increase
of 70% from 2012 (27%).
Google/Millward Brown, "The Changing Face of B2B Marketing”, Mar 2015
B2B Researcher Demographics:
• Realizing that its B2B audience is now
younger and digital-oriented,
Caterpillar utilized Youtube to launch
4 videos for its "Built For It" brand, in
an effort to make its Cat brand look
more human, approachable, and
relevant. Click to watch
The B2B Digital Path to Purchase
• Business decision makers usually don’t have a
specific supplier in mind when they start their
research. According to Google/ Millward Brown
about 71% of online B2B researchers start
on a generic query, so they're looking for
product first, not a specific company.
• Business buyers do not contact suppliers
directly until 57% of the purchase process is
• 42% of researchers use a mobile device during
the B2B purchasing process, with 91% growth
in use over the past two years throughout the
• Purchase rates on mobile are up 22% in the
past two years.
Google/Millward Brown, "The Changing Face of B2B Marketing”, March 2015
On average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to
engaging on a specific brand's site (up from six
searches in 2012)
The B2B Mobile Path to Purchase
Accessing content via desktop remains common, but 8 in 10
B2B buyers said they also use smartphones for that same
In 2016 in the U.S, 79% of B2B marketers said they had a
mobile-friendly site, an increase compared to the 57% of
respondents who had one in 2014.
• Atlas Copco launched its mobile
“Construction App” to showcase
information on the company’s products
• Users can use the app to request
quotes, contact the company, find the
nearest Atlas Copco location based on
their current location, engage with Atlas
Copco in its social media channels, view
a video gallery and get the latest news.
eMarketer, “B2B Marketing Automation—What's New in 2016”, Apr 2016; Schieber Research
B2B Content Marketing
• A September 2015 study by the Content Marketing Institute
(CMI) and MarketingProfs, found that 76% of B2B marketers in
North America said they expect to create more content in 2016
than they did in 2015, and more than half said that they plan to
spend more on content marketing over the next 12 months.
• Best in class B2B marketers allocated 46% of their marketing
budgets to content marketing in 2015, compared to 28% in
Expected Change in
B2B Content Creation
(2015 vs. 2016)
Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs, “2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America”, 2015
eMarketer, “More B2B Marketers View Content Marketing as an Effective Tactic”, Jan 2016
Content Marketing Goals: Lead
generation (85%) and sales (84%)
are the most important goals for B2B
content marketers over the next 12
• In line with the demographic shifts, 70% of B2B
buyers and researchers are watching videos
throughout their path to purchase. That's a 52% jump
in two years.
• Top content: product features + How To videos.
• When asked what they did after watching, B2B
researchers said they talked to colleagues, looked for
more information, visited a brand's website/store, or
shared the video.
Google/Millward Brown, "The Changing Face of B2B Marketing”, Mar 2015
Nearly half of the researchers watching
videos are viewing 30 minutes or more of
B2B-related videos during their research
process, and almost 1 in 5 watch over an
hour of content.
• Xerox sponsored content on “The Week”, creating 60 pieces of
short-form videos for a series called “Business Made Simple”,
which was owned by Xerox. They added a navigational link on
their header, a rotational unit of content on their homepage, and
it was promoted on their social channels as the social channels
of the experts. Xerox ended up with 70K views on the hub, with
a 180% engaged visitor rate to Xerox (which is 3x the average
engagement) (Source: Business2community)
• Live video may become a significant vehicle in driving B2B
sales, as it enables companies to feature products /
services (on the marketing side), and offer ongoing support
(on the business side) effectively.
• Facebook’s News Feed algorithm seams to prioritize live video while the
broadcast is ongoing, meaning it appears higher in people’s feeds.
Facebook is also sending push notifications when videos are live, and alerts
people when they’ve missed a live video.
• Personalized experiences are now a requirement of
businesses, not only private consumers.
• According to Forrester Research, Customers will
reward companies that can anticipate their personal
needs and wants, and expect the marketers to know
the business’s unique needs; and according to
Accenture, 54% of B2B buyers said they would like
suppliers to offer personalized recommendations
• Yet according to Accenture, most B2B enterprises
are not set up to deliver a seamless omni-channel
experience, citing “difficulty sharing customer data
between channels or locations” as the top barrier.
Accenture and SAP Hybris, “Mastering Omni-Channel B2B Customer Engagement, 2015
Forrester, “The 2016 Top 10 Critical Success Factors To Determine Who Wins And Who Fails In The Age Of The Customer”, Oct. 2015
• CSC (the Computer Sciences Corporation), for
example, used reverse-IP lookup, targeting 245
companies with custom content and ads across
multiple channels at optimal times, seeing a dramatic
lift in account engagement from 108 of those
• Reverse IP is a process that identifies the visitor by
company and then provides demographic information,
including industry, company revenue size and
location, enabling marketers to provide personalized
content to the visitors.
PropertyCasualty 360, a financial services company, has
segmented its Twitter activity by having multiple Twitter
accounts, each with a specific and industry focus – and a face
behind each account.
Social Media Platforms
• Facebook dominates in the B2C space (top choice for 65%
of marketers). However, for B2B marketers LinkedIn is more
important than Facebook and Twitter.
• Worldwide, 41% of B2B marketers choose Linkedin as the
must important social media platform for their business (with
only 9% B2C marketers), followed by Facebook and Twitter.
Social Media Examiner, “2015 Social Media Marketing Industry Report”, May 2015
• Facebook is offering a retargeting
program that allows companies to show
ads to their target market after they
express interest in the company and the
services or products it provides.
Empowerment through Mobile Apps
• many businesses are now offering mobile apps as a leading
tactic to offer added value to their customers, using the app
as the marketing instrument.
• In January 2016 Facebook announced its
new Instant Articles feature, allowing
publishers to optimize their content so
readers can access it instantly on Facebook.
• In April Facebook also announced scannable
profile codes for its Messenger app. Users
can scan other users or businesses code
with their camera to start a conversation.
• In 2016, WhatsApp Messaging app has announced it will start testing
tools that allow its users to communicate with businesses and
organizations that they want to hear from, like banks, or airlines.
B2B Community Marketing
• Businesses are using group / community platforms to
engage their customers, and build loyalty.
American Express OPEN manages groups on various social
media platforms, to help business and offer a sense of
community and support.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
• Virtual and augmented reality technology can
be used as a B2B marketing tool to showcase
products and services at events and trade
shows, to create 360-degree conferences and
meetings, or as an engagement tool for
• In April 2016, The New Zealand Government has
partnered with Samsung and started using virtual reality
technology at trade shows to give an insight to food
buyers about the produce from New Zealand.
• The visuals of the VR experience presents people with
landscapes of agricultural New Zealand and introduces
them to the places the products are made.
The Drum, Samsung and the New Zealand government test virtual reality as a B2B marketing
tool, Apr 2016
Reviews, Referral & Advocacy
• Reviews and referral programs provide a way to
turn clients into advocates willing to refer people
and generate new users.
• Referral programs are moving online, with
dedicated micro-sites and sharing options.
• Platforms such as Influitive
/ Customer Advocacy use
customized portals where
companies can invite their
top customers to engage
and provide feedback in
order to earn different
• Google Apps for work offers a referral program for users to
recommend Apps to people they know and receive a $15 reward
for everyone who signs up (up to $1,500 per domain) with
additional coupon codes for additional referrals.
• In 2016, SAP launched its SAP Anywhere Referral
Program for small and medium-sized enterprises,
offering a £750 finder's fee for every referral that
convert to a paid deal.
• SAP is offering participants access to SAP-branded
marketing materials and a personalized dashboard to
monitor the status of their referrals and track payments
• Alibaba offers a Gold Supplier service, a
premium membership for approved suppliers
on the platform. Members are provided with
comprehensive ways to promote their
products, maximizing product exposure and
• Gold Supplier members are authorized to
display the Gold Supplier icon to
demonstrate that their business has been
verified by a third agency as a legally
Gamification is a tactic that enables top users to benefit from their loyalty, displaying a
badge that demonstrates their status.
• Generally, B2B marketers should utilize the same tactics used by B2C
marketers. Yet specifically for B2Bs, there is an added value in content
and mobile apps, as these seem to drive loyalty and empower
• B2B marketers should use metrics to choose the best tactic: sales lead
quantity and quality; sales; higher conversion rates; brand lift; customer
renewal rates; etc.