b2b marketing trends resized 600B2B firms who stay abreast of the latest marketing trends can better diversify into additional markets, evolve and grow.

In an annual survey of marketing executives, Unica (a marketing solutions division of IBM) identified key trends that illustrate the “industrial revolution” occurring in the marketing world.

Here’s a recap of the most important B2B marketing trends:

  1. Marketers are getting the explosion of data under control. The #1 issue for marketers, according to 62% of respondents was “turning data into action.”  Marketers identified “measurement, analysis & learning” as the biggest impediment to action.  However, soon the the gap between analysis and action will be bridged.
  2. Inbound marketing is becoming very important.  As customers now have much more power and information at hand (than even a year ago), marketers are inviting customers to initiate contact.
  3. Online behavioral data is driving more marketing decisions.  Web interactions are providing invaluable insights into customer behavior, more so than demographics and transaction data.
  4. Email marketing is becoming more integrated with other channels.  For email to remain a relevant marketing touchpoint, marketers are better integrating email with the rest of the marketing activities, and personalizing the content for each consumer based on the wealth of data available.
  5. The use of “free” web analytic tools is being reconsidered.  Free tools are limited by their applicability to the search engine that provides it, and those analytics can be difficult to sync up with other marketing analytics.
  6. The number and pace of social media channels is increasing.  As a result, marketers are becoming more savvy and disciplined at evaluating the new channels.
  7. Use of social media is becoming more strategic than tactical.  Now that social media is no longer new and better understood, marketers are taking a more strategic, less tactical approach to selecting new social media channels.
  8. Marketers are bullish on mobile.  Over 40% of marketers are now using mobile, and treating it as a multi-channel medium (SMS text, mobile sites, paid mobile search, etc).
  9. Interactive marketing will be the dominant marketing discipline.  In the next year, marketers will increase their use of interactive marketing across multiple channels.  Already, half of all marketers are using interactive.
  10. Attributing marketing effectiveness to specific activities.  Attributing the specific value of each marketing activity is the second most pressing issue for marketers, according to the study.  The demand for this type of accountability is growing.

To download a copy of the Unica report, click here.

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