1-866-357-7422

20 Morgan Street St. Louis, MO 63102

Top

Author: Joe Ruskey

These 7 Online Marketing Trends for B2B Companies and Business Owners Are Game Changers

In the Internet age, there is no such thing as stagnation; the digital landscape is constantly evolving. Rather than be intimidated by new marketing practices or dismiss them as trends which aren’t built to last (don’t be the guy who thought Facebook was just a fad!), prepare for the future and determine which specific approaches can help your business explode in 2017, leaving your competition in the dust.

  1. Data Visualization Tools – marketers are obsessed with all things data, but if they can’t explain what the data means, then what’s the point? In order to explain with quantitative information who your business’s customers are, why they want your product and when, and what needs to be said to them to build a relationship, data visualization tools are starting to be used to interpret large amounts of numerical information. This is a huge opportunity for you as a business owner and marketer to tap into possible new customer segments as well as build upon your current foundation. Just remember, in the words of Orbitz Media’s Andy Crestodina, “You don’t have to be big to use big data to make better decisions.” (not sure if you want to link out to other pages or not, but I like the quote)
  2. Dense Content – in a world where every business has a Facebook page, constantly sharing updates and posts, it has become enormously difficult to get your message to stand out in crowded newsfeeds. Savvy marketers have realized this, and now make every word of every line in their content count, providing instant value for their customer. In other words, don’t post for the sake of posting; post something worthwhile, something that will help!
  3. More Live Video – people have been screaming for more live video for years. And with the diversity of platforms which make videos available, such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram, among others, there is no doubt a specific medium exists for your business to share your message with your audience. This is where using search and social data to determine where your possible customers are is crucial for executing a video strategy which will actually provide ROI.
  4. E-mail Marketing Isn’t Dead – e-mail is about to make a massive comeback, and if used wisely, will enable tremendous growth. Now that many marketing automation platforms integrate with most others, as a marketer you can use behavioral insights from your social and content campaigns to develop customer-centric messages which will resonate with your audience and lead to a substantially higher conversion rate.
  5. The Referral Model – don’t be scared of online customer reviews! Rather, monitor reviews and actually respond to them. In fact, if you invite your customers to review your business, you’ll not only get a chance to improve your customer service but also see increased traffic to your website and/or physical location, leading to more sales!
  6. A “Post-Fact” World – marketers have known for a long time that emotions matter when making purchasing decisions, but now the rest of the world has caught up. Instead of relying on statistics and data alone to make the sale, you’ll need to frame these insights in a way which will make your customer feel a specific way.
  7. Content Becomes More Than “Content” – as noted earlier, lots of businesses haven’t tapped into the full potential of content, and simply use it as something just to say they have it. Smart business owners and marketers will now use their content to solve customer support problems, develop engagement with employees to enhance retention, organize the sales process, among a wide variety of other uses.

In short, there are a lot of different ways a business can use new tools and trends to effectively market themselves. In order to understand what the correct route to take is and which platforms are worth spending time on to spur growth for you, follow our blog for more updates as we tackle pressing issues in the digital space. Or just leave us a note! We’re always happy to lend a helping hand.

In my many years as a digital citizen, few things have brought more joy to my heart than the schadenfreude of seeing companies firmly plant their feet in their mouths on social media as part of their digital marketing.

It happens so often, with such alarming regularity, I often wondered how many job openings there would be for someone to work in digital marketing without making their company or client look like, well, an uninformed doofus.

Thankfully, I found such a position at Acumen Studio, so I feel this platform is a great opportunity for me to share a few tips on how we help our clients with their social positioning. We’ll begin with an anecdote of my own (almost) failure:

October 11 is “National Coming Out Day,” and we felt it was important as an agency to support the struggle of LGBTQ individuals all over the world by sharing something on social media. Many brands and companies participate in social issue discussions throughout the year, and frankly, some are hit or miss.

Here’s what I came up with:

Pretty solid, right? Edgy, without seeming too self-serving or overly corporate. We don’t lend our voice to the discussion to simply increase our name recognition, we do so because we care.

Others, well…not so much.

You see, the Seahawks won an important football game after overcoming a significant point deficit and…well, the specifics don’t matter so much as the idea that professional football does not equal the struggle of Martin Luther King. At all.

Moving along, I wanted a quote for our National Coming Out Day post that spoke to the issue with Acumen’s unique voice, plus something that would fit in an Instagram photo. A bit of quick Google-fu landed me the following: “I hate the word homophobia. It’s not a phobia. You’re not scared. You’re an asshole.”

This quote was attributed on the site I found it (along with several other quotes I recognized) to one Morgan Freeman. Yes, that Morgan Freeman.

Seeing the issue yet?

Having finished the design portion of the post, I was prepping the text and getting ready to publish when that nagging public relations and journalist part of my brain piped up. “Hey, do you remember how it’s the rush to be the first to post about something, or not really having professional input, that usually causes the biggest problems?”

Thankfully, I heeded that voice; a quick check of Snopes.com told me no, Morgan Freeman had never said that. The “quote” was from a tweet from a parody Twitter account using an image of Freeman as its avatar. It had been falsely attributed around the internet ever since.

Picture me, then, wiping my brow in relief. This potential bullet flew harmlessly over Acumen’s digital shoulder and we avoided a potential public relations nightmare.

The point of this anecdote (and this entire post, really) boils down to this: one of the most underappreciated aspects of your company’s digital marketing strategy is public perception. Online communities are almost rabidly tenacious to catch corporate entities with their social pants down. If you want to arrest a ring of thieves, you hire an ex-thief because they understand the mindset of the target. If you want to avoid the harsh brand damage that can come with an ill-advised social media post, you come to me, because I understand social.

Bane meme social media Tumblr

What other digital marketing firm is going to offer that?

To finish up, here’s a nice list, because the internet abhors a vacuum:

  • Don’t be in a rush to post about a trending topic for digital marketing without doing your research first.
  • Don’t let a single person brainstorm, create and post to social, no matter how trustworthy they are.
  • Do allow your brand or company to participate in social discussions, as it builds trust with current and future customers.
  • Do incorporate social discussions into your company culture, as it builds trust with current and future employees.
  • Finally, don’t use a meme you don’t understand. If you don’t quite get it, ask an intern. Or me.

Zach is a content and digital marketing sorcerer who spent time on the high seas as a Mass Communication Specialist for the U.S. Navy before graduating from Southern Illinois University. Apart from his love of KPIs and the invention of the “Like”, good St. Louis ribs, and Cardinals baseball, he’s also got the greatest job in the world: being a dad.