B2B is expected to undergo some radical changes in the near future
It is largely expected that the figure of the B2B salesman is to be seen less and less as digital channels become the primary platforms for driving sales.
Clients are now looking to digital platforms and Ecommerce to fulfil their business needs, their expectations have been driven by personal experiences of the B2C market, and they now expect to see similar innovations in customer usability emerging in the B2B market. One of the areas seeing the most dramatic growth is Social and Content Marketing, which is fast becoming the dominant form of B2B marketing.
A recent Regalix report has examined the State of Social Marketing 2015 with particular focus paid to the B2B market. The report looked at both the aims and effectiveness of social marketing.
The key findings of the report clearly demonstrate the importance of Social Media as a marketing platform to B2B enterprises.
Linkedin was surprisingly beaten to the punch as most used business Social Media platform by Twitter, which 93% of marketers use to promote B2B services.
Social Media is already a heavily invested front-line for marketers, and many B2B enterprises anticipate spending on social media communications to rise in the following months and years.
Interestingly the audience for social marketing is quite broad, two-way communication on Twitter and Linkedin being used as a means of building relationships and providing support for existing customers as well as attracting new customers. To a lesser extent, it's used for business communications with partners and other collaborators.
94% of the B2B marketers who answered the survey chose 'increasing brand awareness' as the primary objective of Social Media marketing, Followed by lead generation (69%) and constant engagement (67%).
Beyond social media platforms themselves, Blogging and thought leadership pieces are seen as the most important components of a Social marketing strategy, particularly when combined with a strong SEO setup and an active community of sharers.
Likewise, 69 percent of respondents chose 'Case Study' as the optimum content type for their Social Media marketing in the pre-sale stage of the buying cycle. This was followed by Blogs at 62%. This order reverses for the post-sale cycle, as engaged clients prefer the constant updates blogs afford as a reassurance of good work.
Generally, the findings showed the effectiveness of Social Media marketing peaking during the pre-sale stage. Once engaged, a client's engagement with Social Media falls off. Nevertheless, Social Media's impact on the B2B marketing space is undeniable, and must take a position of importance in any marketing process, particularly in tandem with a content marketing strategy.