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2018 marks a culmination of change within the digital landscape. With the increased importance of social media and transforming trends in consumer engagement, business-to-business (B2B) marketers have had to adapt their outreach techniques as well. This year in B2B marketing shows an in increased focus on customer lifetime value (LTV) through greater attention to data analytics, consumer engagement, and social media.

Prioritizing Lifetime Value

So, what is LTV, and why is it so important for B2B marketers? In its most basic form, LTV is the total profit for a business over a customer’s lifetime. LTV can be synonymous with brand loyalty. If a retail business consistently sells its products to a particular customer over a decade, this indicates high brand loyalty and LTV.

To put LTV in perspective, this customer offers more total profit than a customer who makes one or two large purchases over a short time frame. B2B marketers are starting to catch on that promoting brand loyalty is far more beneficial and profitable than prioritizing short-term commercial success.

Nearly 75% of B2B digital marketers are focusing on lead quality over lead quantity in 2018. Marketers today are targeting customers with a higher potential LTV for their ads since this group shows the most promise. B2B marketers are measuring their successes through the broadened scope of LTV while moving away from measuring their accomplishments in terms of basic numerical profit.

When deciding how to prioritize customers with a higher LTV, it’s important to first determine who the loyal customers are so that you can then target these people with the appropriate ads. This identification is done through analyzing historical purchase data.

Data, Analytics and Reporting

By analyzing data, B2B marketers can identify not only who is a high LTV customer, but also how to help achieve higher LTV for all customers. Nearly 50% of B2B professionals believe that data analysis offers the greatest potential for increasing LTV. B2B marketers are also looking to data analysis and reporting to increase revenue and customer retention, improve the customer experience, and enhance products and/or services.

Through data analysis, brands can see which customers are loyal by looking at repeated purchases over time. Marketers can also see when sales peaked or dropped. This provides helpful insights into what types of additional factors, such as special sales or perks, led to these changes in profit.

Although almost half of B2B marketers recognize the necessity of data analysis, 55% of marketers also stated their difficulties in combining data from different sources within a succinct time frame. One-third of marketers also recognized a lack of data analysis skills and know-how from among their staff.

Employing data analysis professionals, such as those at Wpromote, can provide assistance to companies that do not have the necessary knowledge for analytics and reporting. These skilled professionals can compile data and turn it into usable information to help improve a brand’s profit, customer LTV, and overall consumer experience.

Consumer Engagement

One of the ways that brands are trying to attract a larger customer base and promote returning customers (in other words, encourage an increase in LTV), is through better consumer engagement online. The days of person-to-person sales as the sole form of engagement are gone, but 2018 offers an ever-evolving world of online shopping, email, and social media advertising.

Data shows that email marketing is most preferred by B2B marketers for engagement, leading with a majority of 39%. When it comes to reaching out to existing customers, 88% of B2B marketers utilize email marketing. From promotional messages for special sales to shopping cart reminders and special perks for loyal customers, email marketing can help increase customer engagement and retention in a simple, non-invasive manner.

Phone calls follow in second place at 22% for preferred engagement by B2B marketers. Social media places third in preferred consumer engagement at 17%.

Social Media

Even though social media is third when it comes to engagement preference, almost half of B2B marketers say they use social media to promote their brand. In addition, 35% of marketers are using social media to retain customers and build LTV.

While social media is becoming a heavily prevalent form of B2B marketing in 2018, many marketers are confused as to how social media advertising is truly impacting their brand. About 40% of B2B marketers are unsure how to measure the quantitative effects, or increased profit and LTV, due to social media.

With the nature of social media changing rapidly, B2B marketers should seek help from marketing agencies that have a greater understanding of that landscape. These social media experts can then measure exactly how, and by what quantitative value, social media is improving profit and LTV.

The marketing trends of 2018 are largely intertwined. An increased effort to raise LTV results in a greater need for consumer engagement and social media. These practices also call for better data analysis to grow LTV. Within each facet of these trends, there is also a visible confusion on how B2B marketers can implement these new practices. Seeking the help of digital marketing professionals can give a brand a better edge over its competitors in 2018 and beyond.