Ah, it’s the glorious week between Christmas and New Year’s. Next year’s plan is done, budget is set, reviews are written and the world is moving at slower pace. All this means that I finally have time to attack the virtual and physical stack of articles I have longed to read. I savor every minute because I know it will be a year before the luxury of focused reading and deep thinking/dreaming/plotting returns.
Somewhere in the quiet bliss I found an article from Ragan including a 10-item checklist for B2B marketers in 2012. What I like about this is that it’s not far-out stuff; most of it was already in our 2012 plan. I see this list as pretty do-able, cost effective and important for success in 2012.
I pulled the five trends that I think should be considered by marketers in our industry:
1. Pictures, not words. While it pains the English literature major in me, most marketers have begun to accept that video and illustrations are becoming a critical element for many marketing programs. Cisco predicts online video will account for 90 percent of all Internet traffic in the next three years.
2012 checklist: How much of the budget can you move from "word content" to "picture content?”
2. New insights into customer segments. Every second, your customers and prospects are scrolling the internet and your website, hoping to better understand your company. New tools like Personyze will allow you to understand what your visitors want, so you can give them a more customized experience on your website.
2012 checklist: You're probably already using Google Analytics or a paid tool, but have you investigated how to extend the power of that data to personalize marketing content?
3. Mobile matters now, so stop pretending it doesn't. When I started my career in PR, my job was to get our clients in The Wall Street Journal. Things have changed. Adults in the U.S. spend more time on mobile devices each day than they do with print media. What's more, understand that mobile users are young and wealthy. Start to build a relationship with them now.
2012 checklist: You need a website and marketing content that works well on mobile platforms. Use MobiReady to assess your weaknesses.
4. B2B thought leaders become "influencers." B2B marketing has a rich tradition in strategic thought leadership, since B2B companies often use people to communicate the value of their business offering. As businesses begin to harness the value of the Web, they are slowly becoming convinced of the need for digital footprints.
2012 checklist: While your thought leader may not need a Klout score, are you prepared to value their individual efficacy online? It's probably not enough to have a robust company presence—you still need people to embody your brand promise.
5. Content marketing forcing packaging diversity. While white papers will always find a place in most B2B marketer's hearts, new data suggests that e-books, webinars and blogs are a permanent part of the mix.
2012 checklist: Look at your editorial plans for the coming year. Have you devoted resources to develop new ways to excite your audience?
I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! Thank you for your continued support of our blog and industry.